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Grossman Ready To Go; McGowan Out

Grossman believes his off season program will help him win the job in the end.

With the help of Jason Riley, the facility's director of performance, Grossman spent five days a week improving his footwork, strengthening his core, concentrating on his conditioning and dissecting his diet—trading in Papa John's thin-crust pizzas for fish and vegetables.

"It was more about flexibility, training my muscles to fire in a different way," Grossman said. "I did lose some fat. I definitely felt like I was in the best shape I've been in after going there."

Grossman also received an education on a simple aspect he might have ignored in the past: running.

With Brandon McGowan's ankle not ready to go, Kevin Payne will step in.

No big deal there. The Bears are used to changing safeties. They do it as often as some teams change cleats.

But the addition of Kevin Payne to the starting lineup next to Mike Brown raises one of the curious questions surrounding the defense: Why is Danieal Manning playing nickel back instead of safety?

Bears still have a lot left to decide in these last three games.

Still on the to-do list are choosing a quarterback, identifying the starting wide receivers and ensuring that an offensive line in transition has the right parts in the right places. That's quite a burden for the next three weeks, but the feeling is things are headed in the right direction.

''[Camp] is just a step,'' coach Lovie Smith said. ''We need to play some more games and finish up the rest of the preseason and know exactly where we are, but up until this point, we like where we are. You just have to evaluate where you started.

''I know I am being pretty broad with my statements. There is nothing magical right now. We just want to see improvement leading up to that first game.''