You got a better sense of where Jerry Angelo was coming from when he discussed the Bears' quarterback position just after the season when you heard him talk this morning to Mully & Hanley on the Score. The general manager was as frank as he can be on the matter.
"That has been our Achilles' heel under my watch,'' he said. ``And that's something that I'm obviously sensitive to and want to make sure that we're staying focused on it.''
What's interesting here is that is about as candid as Angelo has ever been in regards to the shortcomings and utter failures the Bears have experienced at the position since he took over in 2001. Other than a first-round pick used on Rex Grossman in 2003, the Bears have tried to do it with late-round draft picks, castoffs and never-could-bes. It's been a maddening process, one he's escaped only for a first-half run by Orton this past year and a first-half stretch by Grossman in 2006. It hasn't been so much a hunt for a quarterback as it's been a wild goose chase or mission impossible.
Kyle Orton remains the starter for 2009 but Angelo didn't rule out anything after the club holds internal meetings that will commence following the Senior Bowl. Angelo is behind Orton and there's a belief that with an entire offseason of work as the No. 1, instead of splitting work with Grossman, he will be improved. It's worth noting that Angelo also said he likes Caleb Hanie, reason enough to believe he could be in the mix for the No. 2 job in the right scenario. But it's unrealistic to consider something big could be coming at quarterback when you review the names available in free agency and the Bears' position at No. 18 in the first round of the draft. Yes, this team is committed to winning with Orton but Angelo isn't going to act like the position is solved. Not now anyway.
"What's been stated by our coaches, Lovie [Smith], Ron [Turner], in particular, I echoed the same feelings for Kyle in terms of believing in him, looking at him with the arrow going up,'' he said. "My vantage point in terms of where I was coming from when I spoke at the end of the season was, we still need to get that position solidified in terms of overall performance on a consistent basis. We were unable to do that last year.
"Kyle started out very well, got a bit of an injury, and that played a part in a not-so-good second half of the season. Until we get that position solidified in terms of winning football, week in and week out, it's going to be tough for us as a football team, particularly as an offense.''
It's his belief the building process begins with the quarterback and not the parts around the passer.
"I was hearing talk again about the wide receiver position, a few years ago it was the tight end, it's the running backs, it's the offensive line," he said. "That's all true. We need to look at every position on offense, try to upgrade whatever we need to do. But we have to stay focused on the quarterback position. You win because of the quarterback. It's not other positions that manufacture the quarterback. And I hear this term `manageable quarterback,' he manages the game. Yes, I understand that but in the end, and we all know this, at some point in the game the quarterback has to make plays to win the game. That's the bottom line.
"We're going to see what options are out there, if there are any, and we will discuss everything. If we want to potentially create competition and, or bring in a veteran to give us somebody in the building that we feel can help Kyle, or whatever. I can't sit here and say definitively what we're going to do. I know right now what we have and I feel good about that. I do feel good about Kyle, I feel good about Caleb Hanie and I want to make sure everyone understands that. But I want to make sure we look at every option that we potentially have to make sure that we're the best going forward at that position in the offseason."