The Chicago Bears have a few choices at quarterback—Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton. The problem for the Bears at QB has nothing to do with winning percentages. Both quarterbacks are solid when it comes to that stat.
It has a lot to do with consistency and big play chops. It’s what defines a true NFL quarterback—the ability to run the two-minute offense, the stamina and strength to holdup and perform throughout the very long NFL season and the talent to make that one huge play rather than that one big mistake.
As a starter, Grossman is 19-11, while Orton is 12-6. That’s a 64.6 winning percentage and a solid stat. But some of the other statistics for these two guys just don’t add up and that’s where Chicago has a problem.
Rex Grossman’s Stats
Grossman, who has spent his entire career with the Bears, has appeared in 32 games. In that time, he’s completed 489 of 900 passing (54.3%) for 5,907 yards. He’s got a career QB rating of 70.9, having thrown 31 touchdown passes and 33 picks. He’s fumbled seven times, losing three.
Kyle Orton’s Stats
Kyle Orton has a completion rate of 52.0%, going 233 of 448 for a total of 2,347 yards. He’s thrown 15 picks and 12 scores, earning a rating of 62.2. In 18 games, Orton’s fumbled seven times, losing two.
The Game Plan
Head coach Lovie Smith focuses on ensuring that he’s got a defense that can keep opponents in check, a special teams unit determined to cause turnovers and an offense geared towards the run. During the past few years, the Bears have used their signal callers to manage the game, pass when needed and ably hand-off. The problem comes when the quarterback is asked to step up and make that big play that will keep the team in the game, send the contest into overtime or break the contest open.
The Bottom Line
If a QB’s learning curve is slow in the NFL, it can end their professional career. Grossman, with six seasons in the league, is expected to have finally learned from his mistakes. That means holding onto the ball and throwing it away when he’s supposed to, making solid decisions when on the run and staying within himself.
Orton has to prove that he can be a leader rather than just a signal caller. In his fourth season, he’s seen very little action. This season, he may get his chance to run the Bears’ offense. Although he’s a good athlete possessing talent, he lacks speed and the ability to run out of trouble.
Along with questions regarding who will lead the Bears’ defense, there are concerns about the defense, which last season was ranked 28th in the NFL after being rated fifth the year before. Chicago has a lot of talent and skill on their defense, but in 2007, it was hampered by injuries and an inability to execute.
Top players include defensive tackle Tommie Harris, linebacker Lance Briggs, linebacker Brian Urlacher and cornerback Charles Tillman. They are part of a D-unit that should be able to shutdown opponents in the air and on the ground.
The Near Future
As the Bears head into the second week of pre-season games, they’ll be looking to finally determine who will start behind center. They want to have that spot solidified in time for the first-string quarterback to take the majority of the snaps prior to going into the season opener on September 7 at 8:15 versus the Indianapolis Colts. Whoever starts for Chicago, he will be no Peyton Manning.