Rex Grossman is no Rob Johnson

ROB LONGLEY

, Last Updated: 11:31 AM ET

Ruben Brown knows a thing or 12 about having to suffer playing with deer-in-the-headlights quarterbacks.

The Chicago Bears guard endured a couple of seasons in Buffalo where Rob Johnson was a big-money bust for the Bills after winning the job from Doug Flutie.

And the past couple of seasons, he has gone through the trials of Rex Grossman, the favourite whipping boy of fans in the Windy City.

As for the ability to deal with the pressure and the heat from fans, Brown says there is no comparison between the two. Grossman, for all of his beatings, takes it and moves on.

"(Johnson) folded like a tent," Brown said this week. "When the pressure was on, he was out. There are guys who can't handle the pressure or the scrutiny and he just couldn't handle it.

"Rex handles it like a duck in water."

Brown may have a different opinion after this afternoon's opening day challenge against the Chargers in San Diego. Grossman was awful in the Bears' Super Bowl loss and now must open the season on the road against one of the AFC's top attacking defences in the marquee matchup of opening Sunday.

But Brown said Grossman never gets flustered by the abuse -- be it from the opposition, fans or media.

"That takes a lot," Brown said. "He's a strong guy."

OH, HENRY

Big things are expected out of first-year Denver running back Travis Henry who, in theory, should be the latest to benefit from the Broncos' brilliant run schemes.

But Henry won't have it easy today as he returns to Buffalo, the team that drafted him seven years ago.

Henry, who asked for a trade two seasons ago when it became clear Willis McGahee was going to replace him, vows he isn't making the game personal.

"Everybody's new (in Buffalo) so who would I have a grudge against?" said Henry, who spent the past two years in Tennessee.

NO SECRETS HERE

The well-documented personal rivalry between Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his former assistant and now Jets head coach Eric Mangini took another twist this week.

The issue was the Jets' talk of picking up New England castoff Reche Caldwell, leading to speculation that the receiver would spill the beans and unlock the secrets of the Patriots playbook in time for their AFC East tussle today.

That notion brought some chuckles from inside the Patriots locker room.

"Reche barely knew our offence so I know he doesn't know our defences," Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel said. "That's the end of that question."

FIFTH TEAM THE CHARM?

Which Jeff Garcia will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get as the former CFLer pulls on his fifth different NFL jersey this afternoon when the Bucs face the Seahawks?

Will it be the one who struggled during stops in Detroit and Cleveland or will it be the strong leader in San Francisco and most recently in Philadelphia where he filled in admirably for injured starter Donovan McNabb?

For Garcia, it all comes down to those around him.

"When I have been with a good organization, there have been positive results," said Garcia who will appear in his 100th NFL game and 93rd start.

As for the doubters that have followed him throughout his career, Garcia says he feeds on the challenge.

"I think part of me as a person would fade away if the doubts weren't there," Garcia said. "They are my drive, my motivation."

GRIN AND BEAR IT

Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher was his surly self this week.

He took a run at Chargers defender Shawne Merriman for his lights-out dance and another at running back LaDainian Tomlinson for his starring role in a new commercial.

With L.T., the beef is over a Nike spot in which the Chargers star runs over an opponent decked out in a Bears jerseys.

"How did he do the last time we played them?" Urlacher said. "How did he do that game? Look at the stats."

The stats do tell a story. Sort of. The Bears did indeed hold L.T. to 61 yards on 16 carries. Just one thing: That game was four years ago.


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