When news broke Tuesday afternoon that the Denver Broncos were releasing quarterback Kyle Orton, Chicago Bears fans leaped for joy thinking this was manna falling from the sky to save the season after Jay Cutler’s broken right thumb could land him on the sidelines for 6-8 weeks.
Well, those people are wrong.
Orton, 29, was once successful in a Bears uniform from 2005-2008. He even had huge statistical seasons with the Broncos in 2009 and 2010, despite the team losing often.
Just because he was good then, does not mean he is a fit for the Bears now.
Chicago’s offense has undergone a total transformation from the days of Kyle Orton. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz has implemented his own system, which involves no audibling and throwing balls to spots on the field rather than directly to receivers.
Should the Bears pick up Orton from the waiver wire, they would be bringing in a guy who would need weeks of adjustment to a brand new and radical way of doing things. That’s not necessarily what you would call an instant fix.
Additionally, the waiver wire process works by giving teams with the worst records the first chance to bid on players. In order to even have a chance at Orton, the Bears would need him to fall past teams like the Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
It’s important to remember what’s left on the regular season schedule when considering signing a new quarterback. Chicago has games remaining at Oakland, versus Kansas City, at Denver, versus Seattle, and then two road games at Green Bay and Minnesota. That’s not a difficult schedule whatsoever.
What should the Chicago Bears do regarding Kyle Orton?
Bears fans should have faith in Caleb Hanie, who has shined before in emergency situations such as the 2011 NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. The Bears just need Hanie to come in for the final six games and “manage” the offense. That means no insane throws, no leaving the pocket unless it’s necessary and make sure to hand the ball off safely.
With the knowledge Hanie possesses and the low difficulty left on the docket, there’s no reason the Bears can’t rely on using Hanie as the starter, hoping for a 3-3 record.
The only way bringing in Orton makes sense is if he’s going to be used as a backup to Hanie—not a replacement. Quarterbacks in Martz's systems can’t be easily interchanged like pieces on a Mr. Potato Head doll. The offense is so unique and detailed, it would be brutal on Orton to rush to learn it.
A quarterback controversy does not need to be started up regarding a lifetime backup and a blast from the past, especially since Cutler has yet to get the surgery performed. Because his timetable to return is up in the air, there’s no logic in signing a long-term replacement for a short-term problem.
Chicago fans need to chill, count their blessings the team is 7-3 and rely on the wisest replacement for Cutler while he is sidelined. Thy name is Hanie.
Brett Lyons is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials.
Follow Brett Lyons on Twitter @BrettLyons670.