Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Kordell still rehabbing thigh?
By Len Pasquarelli
For the second week in a row, quarterback Chris Chandler will start for the Chicago Bears.
The team hosts the similarly slumping Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Kordell Stewart, who opened the season as the Bears' starter, continues to receive daily treatment for a deep bruise to his left thigh, but repeatedly has hinted that he could play, if needed. The suspicion remains that the injury was a convenient and timely excuse to make a quarterback change, with Stewart and the Bears struggling.
While the Bears made no official announcement Tuesday regarding Chandler's status, he acknowledged he had been told he would start, and he took the first-unit snaps in Wednesday's practice. The Bears' staff continues to bring first-round draft choice Rex Grossman along slowly, and it isn't likely he will play until toward the end of the season.
Before his injury/benching, Stewart completed only 75 of 144 passes in five starts, for 745 yards, with four touchdown passes, seven interceptions and a passer rating of 56.0.
In his first start since last December, a loss at Seattle last weekend, Chandler completed 19 of 34 passes for 149 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions. One of those interceptions came on a deflected pass. The Bears were at least competitive in the loss, and it is no surprise that Chandler, a 16th-year veteran, has earned another start.
Neither coach Dick Jauron nor general manager Jerry Angelo has said if Chandler will remain the starter once Stewart is fully rehabilitated from the thigh injury.
The Bears do expect to have a pair of starters, tailback Anthony Thomas and wideout Marty Booker, back in the lineup this weekend. The two missed the game at Seattle with injuries and their absences hampered an already subpar Bears offense.
Also, ESPN.com has learned that cornerback Jerry Azumah, benched two weeks ago, has regained his spot as a starter, as coaches continue to seek a viable combination in the secondary. Azumah, who lost his job to rookie Charles Tillman, will replace R.W. McQuarters on Sunday afternoon.
Tillman remains as a starter and McQuarters will play as the "nickel" cornerback.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.