Well, it’s official, the Chicago Bears website has named Kyle Orton the Bears starting QB for their opening game against the Colts on September 7th.
Although it was obvious that Orton was leading the competition, it was by a fairly slim margin. As ChicagoBears.com reported:
…Orton slightly outperformed Grossman in two preseason games, compiling a better completion percentage (63.2-56.5), yards per attempt average (5.21-5.13) and passer rating (76.4-66.9) while connecting on 12 of 19 passes for 99 yards. Grossman has completed 13 of 23 passes for 118 yards.
Not only are those stats not that great for a starting QB in preseason, but Orton’s not really that far ahead of Grossman — especially considering Grossman has more total yards and less turnovers than Orton. Grossman’s only turnover of the preseason came from being blindsided on a Seattle blitz on Saturday. That said, there’s been WEEKS of practice that must have informed the Bears Coaching Staff decicion.
It was obvious that the two-minute drill that Orton pulled off at the end of the first half against Seattle was impressive, but there’s a few things that bother me.
Firstly, getting a field goal out of a two-minute drill is not always the most difficult thing to pull off. If you’re at the end of a (Preseason) half — it’s possible the defense was playing more prevent-style as the clock ticked away, allowing for Orton to move the ball up the field, but not allow for a touchdown (which you’ll note, is exactly what happened, as a bomb from Orton to Hester was knocked down).
Secondly, the Seahawks blitzed WAY TOO MUCH for a preseason game. Although there’s no rules against it, it is NOT customary to send that many guys at the quarterback in a game that doesn’t even count. How are you supposed to judge Grossman’s sub-par performance if he was fighting off rushes that the Chicago o-line may not have even been prepared for?
I’m definitely not the only one that felt this way. Reporting for ESPN NFC West page, Mike Sando said the same thing…
The Seahawks blitzed far more than usual for an exhibition game … Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton have not looked good tonight, but it’s tough to function in the preseason when the opposing defense is sending three blitzers at a time. It’s not like the Bears were game-planning for it.
The unrelenting blitzes makes me wonder, was Seattle deliberately trying to mess up our QB controversy? Is this some weird pay-back for a 2-year old playoff loss that I’ve forgotten about until now? Those questions tend to blame Seattle for playing good football, so my other question would have to be directed towards Bears Offensive Coordinator Ron Turner, who commented that Seattle blitzing was…
…something we have to deal with. We expected it. We anticipated it. They didn’t come with that much pressure last week, but when they played us last year they did. We anticipated that we would see that much pressure. It’s something you have to handle. When a team brings pressure like that you have to look at it as an opportunity to make a play. We have handled it well and we will handle it well.
Handled it well? Um, no. So, question one: Because there is a QB contest going on, were you unwilling to change the offensive gameplan despite the unrelenting blitzes? It would make sense to start running draws, screens, quick slants etc, to nullify the blitz, but those sort of plays don’t exactly showcase what Rex would need to do to impress anyone.
Ah well. Preseason Week 3 means Orton will get nearly two-thirds of the game to showcase what he can do, and is there a better confidence-building team than the lowly Niners? Probably not.