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Orton now getting attention from media.  Mums the word.

Orton was asked if he'd thought, at halftime, he might enter the game in the third quarter.

"No," he said. "Brian (Griese) is No. 2, and I thought he played very well."

Yeah, never mind those two interceptions in the final minute of the half, the most egregious of which was debated with Orton.

"Until you know the offense, I wouldn't be commenting on his play," Orton said.

Um, Griese himself said it was a lousy throw.

"That's his opinion, and that's fine," Orton said. "Unless I'm playing, I'm not going to comment on somebody else's play."

If Orton's not orating a week from Monday in Minneapolis, something's deeply wrong with the Bears.

More on putting a price on Hester.

The question I recently posed about whether Berrian wants to come back, same question different player.

Grossman's expiring contract and unrestricted-free-agent status signify a shift in leverage from team to player.

''It's up to him if he wants to come back,'' Brown said. ''It's going to be his decision; that's all I know.''

It's a fascinating distinction and one that Lance Briggs, another soon-to-be free agent, declared last week: ''This year, as opposed to years in the past, I'm a free man. I'm free to make my own decisions.''

Looking ahead to 2008

Offensive line
Looking to 2008: In a perfect Bears world, they would draft an offensive right tackle out of a rich crop in the first round to replace Fred Miller and his $5.8 million salary-cap hit in '08. Then they could sign the Steelers' free-agent Pro Bowler Alan Faneca to play left guard. That would help the team's most disappointing position group in 2007 turn things around quickly.

But rarely do teams get everything they want in the off-season, especially a team that wants and needs as many things as the Bears will. But the plan should include drafting an offensive lineman on the first day and signing a veteran free agent.

The keepers of the starting five are left tackle John Tait, right guard Roberto Garza and center Olin Kreutz. At left guard, re-signing Ruben Brown to start would be a risk at 36 and Terrence Metcalf hasn't distinguished himself replacing Brown.

Immediate action: Fourth-round draft pick Josh Beekman has seen action in just one game and the Bears have an opportunity to evaluate him so they know what they have planning ahead. How much worse could he be?