Chicago Sun-Times

Arms race: List of available passers shrinks

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Go ahead and take one veteran quarterback off the list of players Jerry Angelo can pick through.

David Carr, the No. 1 pick of the 2002 draft, has re-signed with the New York Giants, according to the New York Daily News. This reduces the short list of experienced veterans as free agency quickly approaches on Feb. 27. Another possibility also disappeared as Luke McCown re-upped with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons.

Kurt Warner has come and said if he plays next season it will be for the Arizona Cardinals. The Tennessee Titans are working to bring back Kerry Collins. Matt Cassel was already tagged by the New England Patriots.

That leaves a few options, if Angelo wants to add a veteran. The club signed unproven Northwestern product Brett Basanez last week. A look at the list:

Kyle Boller: Drafted ahead of Rex Grossman in 2003, he didn't get on the field last season.

Jeff Garcia: The Bears turned down Garcia previously when his agent tried to land him with the Bears. He'd be a good fit in Minnesota, right?

Byron Leftwich: There could be considerable interest in him. He's already suggested the Bears look him up come Feb. 27.

J.P. Losman: Do the Bears want to go with a quarterback that is a Dick Jauron castoff? Jauron's seen his share of quarterbacks who cannot play.

J.T. O'Sullivan:
Third time is the charm?

Chris Simms: He has not started since 2006.

Any question now whether or not Kyle Orton is the 2009 Bears starter without controversy, competition or further debate?

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Common we are the BEARS we don't need no freekin quarterback, Bobby Douglas where are you when we really need you? Maybe they could start Booker I know he could throw the ball a little way back when or maybe they could bring McNown back for another shot at the big time.

So what is new, take any of these retreads and they are not as good as Rex Grossman, so are the Bears adding by subtraction or subtracting by adding? Either way it never adds up when we talk Bear football and good Quarterbacking!!

Skeptical, no way I am a believer. If the Ravens can win the Superbowl with a great Defense and Trent Dilfer at QB then why can't the Bears get back the great D, they have great special teams and bring in Dilfer for a tryout?

Super Bowl here we come.

I think Booker might actually be better than Dilfer and maybe half of the QB's on this list.

Well, this is the Bears after all. Any normal team with a 54 percent career QB (that would be Orton) might conclude that won't get it done. They might wonder why invest in some big name receiver when the incumbent might or might not connect roughly half the time. they might therefore conclude it's never too early to turn up the heat on a QB competition with anyone who can do better. That "anyone" certainly includes Cassell, a 63 percent passer with a much better ypa than incumbent Orton.

We have a right to expect Angelo to pursue a genuine alternative and not a has been like Losman or Sims. After all, he himself said he wasn't sold on Orton. So go ahead, see what the Pats want. Why not?

And, if you go into next season with Orton, all you Orton lovers know that this IS IT. Unless he gets that completion percentage up over 60, and stops missing wide open receivers, he is a goner in 2010. That will be the year Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford will be in the draft and the Bears must do all they can to get one of them.

Bob K: I hear what you're saying about Orton, but, I'm not following you on drafting an unproven NFL commodity. Far more BCS quarterbacks have failed in the NFL than succeeded.

Biggsey, do we really need to revisit the JT OSullivan discussion?

The Bears need a PROVEN COMMODITY at the position if they want to win soon. So the Patriots tagged Cassel? Wasn't that the plan all along? He's still available. At a steep price for sure. What proven NFL quarterback isn't expensive?

If Kyle doesn't get into form, Chris Simms and Rex Grossman are the only hope for the Bears at this point...I mean, really, why not Chris Simms?

Quite frankly, with better coaching and some fan support, I still think Grossman can be successful.

I hate Jay Mariotti.

The Bears have a plan and I think we're seeing the QB's that will be on the team when 2009 season start. So we have to trust Lovie and JA. It's hard to say that as a Bear's fan, but Lovie will do what he think is the way to win. Please Lovie get more help on the O-line, Safety, LB and WR. Next year if we don't win with Orton as our QB, the draft class of 2010 will be the strongest draft since Manning, Rivers and Big Ben. So fellow Bears fan don't worry, if we lose badly this year, then we will have a new GM, Head Coach and the best think is a new D-coordinator and O-coordinator. A head coach is only as good as the coordinator he hire and Lovie failed badly. The Cubs, finally see that when you bring in a coach that knows how to win, you create an organization that lives and breath's winning.
Go Bears 2010!!!


This QB thing is really confusing. The Bears say they are happy with Orton.....but they want to bring in competition. What does THAT mean? The Bears come across the national media as possible players in the Cassel deal, but not serious players. What does THAT mean? It's really frustrating. To me there are three options:

1. Orton's the man. The Bears need a competent backup and maybe a developmental kid.

2 Orton's servicable, but the Bears would love to up-grade. The Bears need at least one young, but veteran competitor who could wind up starting. Or they will take a shot in the first or second round of the draft. Or they have a developmental kid that they think will be ready in a year or two. Or all of the above.

3. Orton's not the dude, the Bears are planning on somebody coming in that they expect to compete for and win the starting job. In this case they might really be interested in getting fleeced by the Pats. Or maybe trading up in the draft.

Why is this question so difficult? Why do we still not know? Help!!!

Marvin from the Vigin Islands- there's no way Angelo will go into this year with Hanie and that guy from NW. I see him signing Leftwich, Garcia, Simms, or drafting a guy like Freeman or Davis. It's not that trading a 1st for Cassel is a bad idea, but I believe they saw enough good out of Orton (when he was healthy) to keep him as the starter. I think Orton can be above-average with an upgrade at the WR position.

I agree with Angelo on letting Kyle Orton play the season out, and see what he can do. I like Orton, I think if healthy, he can get the job done, thats one thing Angelo might also want to see out of Orton, durability.

As far as competition, I think Brett Basanez was brought in as competition, but not really competition. Playbook wise, there's no way Basanez can catch up with Orton, who has 5 seasons of experience in Ron Turners offense. Chicago did sign Basanez to a 2 year contract, so they must see something in him. If Angelo does sign anyone else, I still say Patrick Ramsey, we shall see GO BEARS!!

After taking a look at this list, bring back Rex. 3rd string, behind Hanie. Forget Cassel. Draft somebody in rd. 6 to compete with Rex.

At this point the Bears don't want to re-sign Rex Grossman for another year but there thinking of these lugnuts that are available in the free agency? C'mon, There better off at this point to keep what they have, none of these other guys are going to make a dramatic change to this ball club. All it takes is for one of these guys they would sign to get hurt, and then we're back to square one again.

blah, blah, blah, who cares about these losers signing with other teams, it doesnt matter. there are only two guys that would improve our QB situation and thats Cassel and Mcnabb. Both of them have question marks and risk that comes with them, so count angelo out. So when angelo says QB is his #1 priority and needs to settle that position, he is lying. What is his history with the bears or the bucs says he knows anything about Offensive Talent. he will do what he always does, sign a nobody that cant even start for any other NFL team and call that compition for orton and then pray to god orton sees the light and turns into a top 10 QB. Then angelo will somehow find a way to get another Florida quarterback on our roster. how many times does he need to make that mistake before he learns? when angelo and lovie are finally fired is when i'll again have hope for this team.

All 6 of those QB's listed are better than Orton. All except Garcia have a better arm. Orton is a pathetic excuse for a QB.

This is Year Three for Orton. He either steps up or he doesn't. Better wide receivers could help, but when you're a career 54 percent passes, you can't lay it all on the receivers. Sooner or later the Bears have to get serious about the position, which is what Angelo said.

That said, you can give the kid another year of basically no competition, meaning you go with Hanie and some retread. If it doesn't work out you go hard for McCoy or Bradford in 10.

OR, you step it up right now and the best way to do that is to get in position to draft Mark Sanchez or you go hard for Cassell. Then it's may the best QB win NOW.

I can see both sides of the argument because the Bears have so many needs.

But if Angelo said it's the most important position, then I go the second route. Now, not later.

A great defense will make an average offense look really good! Look back to Orton's rookie season. The Bears won 10 games with a rookie QB. He's never gonna be great and we all know it. He doesn't have to be. Trent Dilfer wasn't a great QB when he played for the Ravens. It's been proven. Fix the defense and most of your problems go away, it's that simple.

I hear everyone saying the Bears need an upgrade at WR and OL, and that will make Kyle better. True, but, wasn't that the problem with Rex too? I mean, I watched the games, I know the guy made mistakes. He also made plays.

Berrian and Moose giving up on routes to avoid the big hit while the ball is picked? That one goes on Rex! Right Jay? What about Ced Benson taking bong rippers and whiskey shots on his pontoon boat before the game then falling down at the line of scrimmage. That was all Rex's fault--right?

Kyle Orton showed good command last season. I like him enough. But he can't throw the deep ball. And guess what? That's where the Bear's strength is at WR.

We sometimes forget that Angelo did draft a great offensive weapon in Devin Hester. Unfortunately, he's been pulled from special teams and used as a decoy.

Nice little china doll you got there Lovie. You ever gonna take her off the shelf and play with her?

It's the chicken or the egg debate. I hear all this call for Matt Cassel, but Cassel plays for a top notch organization committed to winning and under an offensive coordinator who parlayed Cassels performance into a head coaching gig in Denver. He also has Randy Moss and Wes Welker to throw to. Don't think for a minute you're going to get the same results from a Matt Cassel or anyone else in a Bears uniform with this coaching staff, Oline and receiving corps. My suggestion is fix the defense and get another tailback to spell forte. If I'm not mistaken Orton had similar numbers to Joe Flacco and the Ravens were playing in the AFC title game so once again proving you can minimize the impact of the qb with a top notch defense. Easier said than done obviously. the Ravens d was led by Rex Ryan who also is now the Jets head coach and if I remember correctly was upset he wasn't even considered for the bears d coordinator job when Chico Rivera was hired back in 2004. Of course our most recent d coordinator is Bob Babich who is closer to being my secretary than head coaching in the NFL. I find it just as easy to laugh at the history and ongoing mismanagement coming from Halas Hall as I do to actually pull for this team like during the 2006 superbowl run. In this economy I wish I had such little accountability for my job performance as the Bears upper management and most of the players on the roster enjoy.

I still cannot see Orton as a premier quarterback. He might be fine as a number two or three for starting a game or two if the number one gets injured, or for playing in the fourth quarter if the game is already won or beyond hope.I'd like to see another competition between Orton, Hanie and Grossman.

Matt you must be a Grossman fan he gone live with it.I still don't understand the Mark Sanchez thing, what is wrong with you guys this guy had a NFL roster in college and did not win it all. He is so over-hyped it would take years to develop him. There is no Flacco's or Ryan's this year and I don't blame Angelo on this one look at that selection. Develop Hanie and move on there are more pressing needs like OL, WR, DE to name the top three so all this crap about Sanchez and McCoy is ludicris and Cassell let the Patriots eat that contract and make them spend that 28 million on one position.

A couple of you made reference to Kyle Orton having a 54% career completion percentage. According to his career number is 55.3% and Rex Grossman’s is 54.2% but that’s not the point. In your efforts to downgrade a player (Orton) please use the correct numbers or you appear to be exaggerating to make your point. Also why do you use the career numbers instead of the more recent yearly percentage (58.5% in 2008 regular season) that would indicate Kyle is on the rise even with the inconsistency he showed after the ankle injury? I’m not saying these are elite quarterback numbers but they are far from poor and could get better with more offensive tools around him. I’m a fan of whoever is trying to win games for the Bears, period. I once was a Rex Grossman fan because I thought he had a little stronger arm and more accurate long ball. But the trouble was when he was bad he was really bad. I just got tired of all the different breakdowns in the passing game. This includes sacks, lack of pocket presence (feel the pocket collapsing and slide away from the pressure keeping your head up looking for your open receiver), batted passes, and the most infuriating mistake of all, the fumbled snaps. He isn’t real tall for a quarterback and he didn’t seem to play very tall for his height. It’s hard to believe he’s listed at 6’ 1”. Heck, maybe one of his problems was holding on to the ball too long, trying to throw the long ball. I think his attitude was always positive about fixing things after a bad performance but eventually you have to get it fixed. He was trying to win games for us so why do so many fans hate on him personally? He just couldn’t get out of his own way sometimes. It doesn’t look like Rex is going to be resigned so I wish him luck with his new situation. I just don’t see many, if any teams looking to him to be their starter but you never say never until it’s over.

Orton a 54% passer. Get real. All the WR's we have are 50% receivers at best. Don't we lead (?) the league in dropped passes? These don't count against the WR's but the QB.

OK Bearmaniac, let's look back on Orton's rookie season. Here are the "highlights:" 51 percent completion rate; 1869 yards in 15 games; average yards per attempt, 5.1; 9 TDs, 13 INTS for a 59 rating.

There's no way to sugarcoat it: that SUCKS. That's not "managing" a season, that's getting in the way. And that was with a great Defense. Why do you think they force fed Grossman to come back?

"He's never gonna be great and he doesn't have to be." Oh yeah, says who? Unlike you, I want a great QB and I am glad Angelo said he wants one too because now we can hold his feet to the fire.

Look at the Steelers. Their D this year was BETTER than the 05 Bears. Guess what, they lose the SB without a QB who can make plays.

And please stop with the pathetic whining about how great Orton was BEFORE he got hurt. QBs ALWAYS get hurt. Big Ben played with injuries too.


As far as Cassel goes, I get what your saying about Moss and Welker. You're right. But the Bears targets aren't exactly "chopped liver". Orton missed sure touchdowns in winnable games. That's the difference between 9-7 and 11-5.

How dangerous would Matt Forte be if defenses knew the quarterback could throw play-action to Hester, or even Olson?

As for Cassel,

He played in a tougher division.
He played a tougher schedule.
He had injuries on the offensive line.
He made all of the throws--inlcuding the deep ball.
He is mobile--not super mobile, but not a statue.

I think he's better than Orton bud.

bob k: "OK Bearmaniac, let's look back on Orton's rookie season. Here are the "highlights:" 51 percent completion rate; 1869 yards in 15 games; average yards per attempt, 5.1; 9 TDs, 13 INTS for a 59 rating.
There's no way to sugarcoat it: that SUCKS. That's not "managing" a season, that's getting in the way. And that was with a great Defense. Why do you think they force fed Grossman to come back?"

And exactly how did that help Chicago? Have you ever checked the numbers of other rookie QB's? The bottom line is if Orton had been a higher pick, he would have been given those next 3 years to develop but Angelo had invested a 1st-round pick in Grossman and Orton wasn't given even a CHANCE until this season. BTW, in all those numbers you have ... what's Orton's winning percentage?

"Look at the Steelers. Their D this year was BETTER than the 05 Bears. Guess what, they lose the SB without a QB who can make plays ... And please stop with the pathetic whining about how great Orton was BEFORE he got hurt. QBs ALWAYS get hurt. Big Ben played with injuries too."

Good advice ...
Ben "Rongrastname" (5th season, 5th CONSECUTIVE as starter) 16gs 59.9% 3301 yds 17 td 15 int 46 sacks

Kyle Orton (4th season, 2nd as starter - not consecutive) 15gs 58.5% 2972 yds 18 td 12 int 27 sacks

RB corp - Advantage Steelers (only because Chicago has no #2)
WR corp - GINORMOUS Advantage Steelers
TE corp - Slight Advantage Chicago
OT corp - Advantage Steelers
OG corp - Even
OC - Slight Advantage Chicago
Anywhere on Defense - Are you stoned- STEELERS

With more weapons and a much better team, Big Ben - who you are fawning over - pretty much put up identical (if not slightly lesser) numbers than Kyle Orton. I like Ben Rongrastname, but he's been a starter for 5 years and has been given the time to develop.

Orton was thrown to the wolves as a rookie and succeeded. He was then sat on the bench and succeeded when he was called upon. He then gets the QB job - after sitting for two seasons - and inherits an offense whose only weapon was a rookie RB (buy Bernard and Moose) and a defense that was a shell of itself; I look at the 9-7 and missing the playoffs and put the onus squarely on the DEFENSE. Orton gets his share but metldowns against the NFC South were ridiculous and that game against Houston??? Orton made the big plays ... the defense crapped itself ... AGAIN.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 9, 2009 4:03 PM.

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