Week 3: Engel's Mailbag

Todd, Tampa, Fla.: What will it take for Rex Grossman to get the respect he deserves? You said he played against "two bad defenses" but maybe you should do a little homework. First the Packers had the best pass defense in the NFL last year and the Lions held the Seahawks to nine points in the opener. So just admit Grossman is and will be an excellent quarterback!

Engel: This was a fun week to dip into my mailbag, as I received many angry letters from Grossman backers. It reminded me of the angry letters I received when I refused to back Joey Harrington as a breakout candidate last year. Grossman is no Harrington, for sure. But it will take more than just one big game at home against a shaky opponent to convince me he will be a regular standout. This past week, I was accused of having an "East Coast bias", when I'm not even a supporter of an East Coast NFL team. I was told that Grossman is the "next Brett Favre." That's a stretch. I was also told that Grossman has an easy schedule the rest of the way. I don't get too caught up in schedule analysis with the Bears, especially after only two weeks. Regardless of the opposition, I think they won't be a pass-first team too often, and much can change both offensively and defensively in the weeks ahead. I do appreciate all the feedback, good or bad, and if Grossman turns out to be a fantasy standout, I'll gladly admit I am wrong. Last year's Green Bay pass defense numbers don't matter much. They allowed a lot of rushing yards last year (125.6 per game) and this is a new season in which they clearly have trouble defending the pass consistently. They are already second-worst in the NFC against the pass (292 yards per game allowed) and the Seahawks have clearly sputtered in the passing game early this year save for a hot early start against Arizona. They clearly had trouble moving the ball after gaining an early 14-0 lead. Grossman has had one big game and all of a sudden people are overrating him. I could be underrating him, but I'm not about to endorse him as a top fantasy starter yet. I expect him to operate a more controlled and less explosive passing game when he's healthy, and he should be a solid fantasy reserve. But one game does not make him an elite fantasy passer. I heard the same things about Billy Volek and Kyle Boller in past years when they put together short hot streaks. Grossman is a better QB than those two, especially Boller, but those two players are proof that a good fantasy QB maintains a consistent modicum of above-average statistical production. Grossman might help the Bears to a winning season, but he won't necessarily always be explosive along the way. But keep those Grossman e-mails coming, and I do wish all of you Grossman owners much success this season.