Chicago Sun-Times

Meet the press: Angelo names his top offseason priority

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No. 1 wide receiver? Safety? Defensive tackle? Pass rusher? Offensive tackle?

What's your top offseason priority?

Jerry Angelo made his known in his press gathering this morning at Halas Hall. It's the same as last year, and the year before, and the year before that, and the year before the year before that, and so on.

You guessed it, Angelo wants to make sure the Bears get the quarterback situation squared away. While he was clear that he has confidence in Kyle Orton after his second full seasons as a starter, it's not supreme confidence. Angelo made it certain Orton will have to play in the final year of his contract to earn a new deal. He'd also like to see some competition added with undrafted rookie free agent Caleb Hanie on board as the only challenge right now with Rex Grossman departing in free agency.

Here is Angelo speaking directly on the quarterback:

ARE YOU CONVINCED ORTON IS THE LONG-TERM ANSWER AT QUARTERBACK?

JA: Well, I'm not convinced 100 percent obviously. I believe in Kyle but until Kyle puts a good year together we can't say for sure. I saw some really good things out of Kyle, particularly early on in the season, he didn't have the second half of the season that he did the first half of the season. Is that part of the growing pains that come along with the position? I can't answer that right now. We do believe that Kyle has some good things, really buy into Kyle the person. He's shown an exemplary work ethic, leadership to be named captain by your peers I think speaks volumes, particularly at that position, but really do feel good about Kyle. He's still a work in progress. We have time. We're going to take our time and we're just going to have to wait and see.

WOULD YOU FIND A GUY TO COMPETE WITH KYLE?

JA: I think we have to have competition at that position, yes. I know Lovie said that we have to have competition at all positions but we still have to keep an eye at that position more than any. We have to get that position right. I know that there is going to be a lot of talk about a No. 1 receiver. Guys, it starts with the quarterback. It's all about the quarterback. You don't win because of wide receivers. You don't win because of running backs. You win because of the quarterback. We've got to get the quarterback position stabilized. We're fixated on that and I don't want us to lose sight of that. The rest of that is peripherous stuff. That's something that if you don't have anything to write about, you'll write about that. It starts with the quarterback and that's the bottom line.

SO IS QUARTERBACK YOUR TOP OFFSEASON PRIORITY? WOULD THE FREE-AGENT MARKET BE SOMETHING YOU WILL BE PURSUING AGGRESSIVELY?

JA: I don't know that yet until I know who is out there but if we feel that is our best option then we have to look at it very seriously because that's what I just said. I can't say one thing and come back and do another. That position has to get righted. The offense starts with the quarterback and we know it's the most valuable position on a football team and we have always been mindful of it. We've gone through so many different scenarios at that position we can write a book, more so of what not to do than what to do. But I do have confidence in Kyle. I don't want anybody coming out of this thinking that you know we don't believe in Kyle. We do believe in Kyle. But Kyle has got to take another step and that's the bottom line. It's a very difficult position to play, it consumes an inordinate amount of money on your cap, it's a very big decision and we're going to measure twice to cut once on this one.

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12 Comments

I like Kyle a lot, but I would also like to have that competition with Matt Cassel.

I like JA for the most part, but he is blowing smoke. They will sit down, look at film and decide that Orton played well before the ankle injury and then stick with him. The only obvious upgrade would be McNabb. Cassel and D.Anderson would not be upgrades over Orton if you don't also add a legitmate WR. But you can't trade the farm for McNabb, who I would love to have. Instead, they need to sign T.J. WhoseYourMama and then give Orton another year. With a legit WR opposite Hester and with Olsen, Orton could thrown 25 TD with about 14 INT and the Bears would be set on offense.

Tim Tebow, will be a Bear.

I'll be looking for Hanie come '09. I think he's got natural leadership abilities and the confidence to succeed at the QB position, as does Orton to some degree, but with greater talent i.e. escapability and throwing power.

Do you guys remember Hanie in the preseason? No one could catch him! When the line broke down, he almost MAGICALLY avoided being sacked time and time again.

You can argue all you want about it only being preseason, playing against third stringers, being undrafted etc. But seeing is believing and I would bet the farm that this young man has "it" and will lead the Bears to greatness if given the chance. In my opinion, Hanie's preseason play was the most exciting thing to come out of '08.

Orton would make for a superb backup QB, and maybe we could get Houshmanzadeh from the Bungles if they don't franchise him. But first things first, we need to get the defense back on top!

Why all of the focus on Kyle Orton? Did Kyle Orton play poor pass defense against Houston? Did Jerry Angelo watch Brian Griese and Kerry Collins through with ease all over the Bear defense? What about Matt Schwab finding wide open recievers all day? What about the secondary mess up at the end of the Atlanta game or letting Gus Ferotte find Berrian wide open. Why all the focus on Orton when the Bear defense doesn't stop anyone. Last time I checked, defense wins championships, not quarterbacks.

Travis you are right on the money. It was the defense that cost the Bears wins this season, not the quarterback. Whether it's a new coach, new scheme, or new players, the defense needs big time help.

People seem to think it's either the fault of the offense or the defense.

Well if not for special teams this team wins 4-5 games at most.

Was the offense good? No, the Bears ranked 26th in total offense only the Rams, Seahawks, Raiders, Lions, Browns and Bungles were worse. That people is some elite level of offense.

As for the defense they ranked 21st in the league and even though they were healthy for the most part this year they stil gave up more points than they did last year 350. Thats right people tree fiddy. Thats 150 more points than they gave up in 05.

So guess what both sides of the ball sucked bad with special teams being the only bright spot. So how are you going to blame one over the other when both are at fault.

I think we all see that QB was not really the main problem, why does JA dwell on Orton? The D sucked! The Oline sucked! and he says QB is a priority? lol
hey what about the Oline you ignored for years? Now the QB is at fault?? lolol

Travis has it right. The Bears are again focusing on the wrong piece. Kyle threw 205 passes w/o and interception and averaged 20 points a game enough to win when your defense dosnt give up 30 pts and 400 yards. I'd be more intrested in looking at a good reciever to help him out and replacing that poor secondary. I'm not going to mention the times I've watched and saw the defensive line over pursue place and generate little to no pass rush. No sacks of Brian Griese or Jake Delhomme what an embarassment. Now managemnt focuses on who they chose to pay less as being the crutch of the problem. How many interceptions did Nathan Vasher put up for that money, what direction did Devin Hester run on kick-off from what I saw this season mostly backwards. How many drop passes in critical situation did we see from receivers. At the start of this season the fans were told that the biggest challenge with be the offensive line but as far as I'm concerned with the exception of getting that last yard in MN they pretty much held thier own. Tell Angelo to look where he chose to spend the organizations money because quarterback is the least of his concerns in my mind.

It is a typical Angelo move. He does not want to show his hand. He wants everyone to believe that the bears could go after a Qb this off season even though Orton play well this season. They still have evaluations to do I have no doubt about that. I believe the need that will most present itself will be at the Wide reciever and Defensive line. With some good scouting and some luck one or both could easily adressed in the draft. Such good Wideouts who could make thier way to the bears draft position in first or second round are Hakim Nicks North Carolina, Mohamed Massaquoi Georgia, Demitrius Byrd LSU, Aaron Kelly Clemson, and Greg Carr Florida State. All Wr mentioned are big with reliable hands. This is a very deep year for Wr so the bears with a need at the positions should go that route and look to address the Defensive line in free agency. With Julius Peppers and Albert Haynsworth slated to become free agents. Peppers will most likely to be franchised, I would like to see the bears make a deal with Carolina Panthers similar to what the Vikings did last year with Jared Allen.

We could have had Flacco.

I agree with Mike. Caleb was awesome in preseason. If the Bears coaching staff had possessed any risk genes, they would have put Caleb in at least once and I bet he would have had the fans going wild and put a new spark in the offense. Also knowing that he could be put on the bench at any time could have helped Orton play better, but he knew that as long as he was not injured, he would never be pulled from the game. Competition is what makes champions and no player should ever feel too secure in his position that he does not play each down like his career is on the line.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on December 30, 2008 12:20 PM.

Meet the press part II: Angelo wants Marinelli on board & more was the previous entry in this blog.

Meet the press: Jerry wants Marinelli on board is the next entry in this blog.

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