Look at the picture above, and then close your eyes...
Close your eyes and imagine... Jeff Joniak's on the play-by-play breaking down the Bears in 2009. It's the first game of the season, and Joniak begins:
"McNabb in shotgun, takes the snap... fakes the draw to Forte and drops back... McNabb with time, unloads the deep ball DOWNFIELD... FOR HESTER... OVER THE SHOULDER, TOUCHDOWN! TOUCHDOWN, BEARS!"
Okay, you can open your eyes. You can come back to reality now. Did you feel it? The adrenaline? The excitement? Now, with that feeling on your mind, sit there and tell me that you still think Kyle Orton is the answer.
Do you? No...I didn't think so.
Kyle Orton deserves all the credit in the world for giving it everything he had in the tank this season, but as we go into yet another off-season of failure, it's clear to even the most avid neckbeard supporters that Orton isn't the answer.
The same way it became clear to me this past season that despite how good I think Grossman may be, and how good he will most likely end up being on another team, he isn't the answer here in Chicago.
Kyle Orton's biggest problems? His predictability for one, and his incredible inability to throw an accurate deep ball.
If an NFL regulation game only lasted for, say...five minutes, Orton would be the No. 1 rated passer in the league. On his first 10 attempts, Orton averages a 115 QB rating, 0 INTs and 7+ yards per attempt.
He strikes quick and hard, and is effective for the most part. The biggest problem in this equation is that after the first drive, Orton drops from the best, to the absolute worst, averaging a 61 QB rating.
He's also a Bottom Five QB in the league in terms of fourth-quarter passer efficiency, and he's even worse when the Bears are behind by 9-16 points, averaging a 58 QB rating and having nine INTs to only two TDs when the chips are down and it really counts.
Conclusion: When the Bears need him, Orton just can't get it done.
Consider that Rex Grossman has more than triple the amount of fourth quarter comebacks when compared to Orton, and yet Orton has started more games.
Consider Grossman outranks Orton in terms of second half passer efficiency, and has a better rating when the Bears are down...AND AHEAD by 9-16 points.
I bring up Rex, because some less than intelligent Chicago fans have deluded their limited minds into thinking that Rex was one of the worst QBs we've had of all time in Chicago, when in fact, statistically, he is one of the best.
So if you think Rex is bad, how can you sit there and say Orton is good? Think about that one...
Anyway, this is beyond Rex and Kyle seeing as how Grossman is a guaranteed free agent departure this season, likely signing with division rival Detroit or Minnesota (as stated in the Detroit press) or finding his way to Kansas City or Cleveland.
My point is, I jumped for joy when Jerry Angelo stated he wasn't sold on Kyle Orton and that the Bears would pursue another QB this offseason, and you should too. Orton has proven this season that he would be an excellent backup, but just doesn't have the skills to be a franchise QB when it matters and when the team needs him, particularly evident in the second Minnesota game this season when Orton threw a franchise record 3 INTs in only 7 pass attempts and gave away first place to the Minnesota Vikings who are currently the reigning NFC North Champs.
If the Bears are serious, and I believe Angelo is seeing as how a 2009 campaign without an offense and without a playoff berth at the least would likely send him packing, it's time they take out the checkbook and do what it takes to get a QB that will give Orton some serious competition in training camp, or one that would come in and instantly get the starting spot like Donovan McNabb.
The two QBs that the Bears need to AT THE VERY LEAST contact this offseason are Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb who may be on his way out after a roller coaster season with the Eagles, and New England's Matt Cassel, a free agent to be who ended the season as the 5th ranked passer in the AFC - higher than Brett Favre, Jay Cutler, David Garrard and Kerry Collins.
Needless to say, both QBs absolutely spank Orton in terms of stats and big plays. But I'll break it down in depth why I think either of these QBs would be a perfect fit with the Bears.
No wide receiver? No problem? Despite what most fans think, a WR does not make a QB, it is the QB who makes the WR. Bringing in superstars at the WR position wouldn't make Orton's deep ball any better. It wouldn't make his decision making any better. Even an all-pro wideout can't catch a deep ball that's thrown 10 yards too short. The best place to start is bringing in an all-pro QB like McNabb, and let him take control. McNabb has gone almost his entire career in Phillly without an all-pro wideout, aside from T.O. and we all know how well they got along, right?
Yet time after time, McNabb has been able to post eye-popping numbers. Imagine what Devin Hester could do with McNabb throwing the ball. No more having to rely on flags because Orton can't get the pass deep enough, no more worrying about inaccurate throws. McNabb would make viable weapons out of just about any receiver, including the Bears corps.
And of course, McNabb is from Chicago. He could go from a city that can't wait to lop his head off at the first sign of a mistake in Philly, to a city that would more than likely worship the ground he walks upon and make him the undisupted king of the sports world in Chicago.
If McNabb does leave Philly, it's a good bet he could win up in Chicago if Jerry Angelo is wise enough to take some of the cap space from the defense and invest it in an all-pro like McNabb.
And I don't want to hear McNabb is too old. Go tell Kerry Collins, 36, Kurt Warner, 37, Brett Favre, 38, and Jeff Garcia (nearly all playoff QBs) that McNabb's age of 32 is too old to play. You're kidding yourself if you think McNabb wouldn't instantly make Chicago a Superbowl contender yet again.
Imagine a Kyle Orton that's more accurate, efficient, mobile, and has a better deep ball, and you've got... well just about every QB in the league (ha, joking...), but seriously, that's what you have in Matt Cassel. Cassel can do the dink and dunk passing game that Orton obssesses over with ease, but also makes better decisions, has a better feel for the pocket, is definitely more mobile and has a far more accurate and powerful deep ball.
For those of you who think Cassel is a "system" QB, I don't want to hear it. If you believe that just ANY QB can walk under center for ANY team and do good, whether they're good or not, just because of the system then you're an idiot. It still takes precision to make throws, good judgement on where to throw the ball, and all the basic skills it takes to win a game: leadership, confidence and ability. Cassel posseses all these.
And I don't want to hear that it was only because he was throwing to Moss and Welker all year. I got news for you guys: Cassel only threw to Moss and Welker for a combined 40% of the time. The other 60% of the time, he was completing passes to guys I'd never even heard of! Running in and out of the pocket, making great throws, showing brilliance! His 89 passer rating (greatly superior to Orton's 70), 21 TDs and over 3500 yards passing in a tough division, in a tough conference, and doing so in his first season as a starter since high school is a testament to the kind of player that Cassel is. It takes more than a "system" for a QB to perform like that.
I don't want Orton out the door, but I want him on the bench, waiting to backup an NFL caliber starter instead of playing "safe" football, which to be honest, he wasn't all to good at half the time! 5 consecutive games with multiple turnovers doesn't exactly scream "game management" to me the way Orton's named used to. In all honesty, his numbers match right up with Grossman's '06 campaign, and that was largely in part thanks to some sub par ratings that Grossman had. Had Grossman had an entire season the way he started out in 2006, there may have been a pro bowl Grossman jersey hanging in my closet right now. His highs were incredible, as were his lows. Orton never reached those highs, but certainly came close to the lows, and even surpassed a few.
Jerry Angelo, if you want to save the offense and your job while you're at it, do what it takes to get one of these QBs. WHATEVER it takes.