The Case For Kyle Orton

This is a promotion from the Diaries to the main board.  itsugly is presenting his case for staying on our current roster for the Bears future QB and going with Kyle Orton.

Well, clearly this ain't working.

Everybody's got their eye on a quarterback - either a first-rounder, or a vet who may be a bit past his prime, but with the hope that there's some life left in 'em. It's obvious at this point that Grossman's finished in Chicago, and it should be just as clear that Brian Griese isn't the solution to that problem.

A rookie draftee can't carry Chicago, and we're a ruthless bunch - a couple bad games and he'll be as rattled as poor Rex was, unable to force a decent play and folding under the pressure until he's traded away or lost to free agency, where he'll blossom (see also: Rex Grossman's Pro Bowl caliber performance for the Dolphins in 2010) and we'll curse our shitty luck.

An old vet is unnecessary, too. Brian Griese's an old vet. Donovan McNabb is two years younger and can't scramble anymore. What do we gain from bringing him in?

And so right now, Griese's our guy. But you can't build a franchise around a quarterback like Brian Griese. He's old; he's proven throughout his career that he's unspectacular; he's got a few years left, but he's certainly already peaked physically and he was never really starter material to begin with. He's a sturdy, reliable backup, and he's good to have in the event of an injury or the extremely bad play that Grossman exhibited at the beginning of the season.

And when Griese was looking great on the field, we were all willing to forget all of that, because what the hell? Why complain about a guy who can actually make big throws and engineer a world-class, game-winning drive? Even when he started in Game Four and looked, well, like a rusty backup QB who hadn't started a game in a couple years, you could tell it wasn't his fault and he'd get his chance to get it together.

The second Lions game was the point at which it should have become clear that there was no good reason to start Griese. If he's not the future of the franchise, and he's not reliable enough to, you know, not throw off his back foot into triple-coverage, then why play him? If we wanted a quarterback who played like Rex Grossman, we'd have kept Rex Grossman on the field. Lovie would have kept giving those increasingly terse statements about "Rex is our quarterback" and all the love the mere image of Lovie Smith's face on a television screen generates would have vanished.

So Grossman's an unreliable quarterback who makes bad decisions on the field with a contract that ends this year. Griese's an unreliable quarterback who makes bad decisions on the field and who's well into his thirties and has no surprises left to offer. We need another quarterback.

And then there's Kyle Orton.

Right now, Kyle Orton makes a hell of a lot of sense. Any young quarterback we bring in will take time to develop, require patience before they can achieve consistently. The failure to develop young talent is the reason we feel so damned unlucky when a player we let go and they turn out to be a superstar elsewhere. If they don't stroll into the league fully-formed like Devin Hester (and I'm willing to bet that there were a good number of Bears fans who were shouting at him for being an idiot for the first fifteen or twenty seconds that he ran that field goal back against the Giants last year), then we hate them with fiery passion.

But Kyle Orton's young talent who we don't have to burn a draft pick on. He's got potential - he saw the Bears through a tough season and didn't fail to do what was asked of him. Is that low criteria for promoting a guy to an NFL starting quarterback? Well, hell, it's better than throwing three interceptions in the end zone. Say what you will about his beard, but if Kyle Orton had been the quarterback in the home game against the Lions, we'd have had three field goals instead of three interceptions and could well have won that game. He entered the league in an unenviable position and did exactly what he needed to do to give the Bears a winning season. He's certainly never proven himself as a top-tier player, but he's never blown a chance he's been given, either.

The main reason Orton makes sense is because, even if he's not any more reliable than Grossman or Griese on the field, he has the potential to develop into something, and to do it wearing a Bears jersey. He's the only quarterback on the roster you can say that about.

To be certain, I'm not suggesting dumping Griese tomorrow and starting Orton against Oakland (though if Lovie had announced it a week and a half ago, I'd have been cheering) - but if Griese has another game this season like he did at home against Detroit, there's no reason at all to keep him as the starter.

I think Rex got a bad shake, but clearly he's finished in Chicago. I think Griese could be an adequate quarterback to steward the team through the season, if he limits his bad decisions - he's certainly capable of good play, after all. But even if we give him time to develop, he'll be in his mid-thirties by the time we see a return on our patience.

Orton has got potential. He may never deliver on it, but even having it is a step ahead of Griese and Grossman.

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