Posts tagged with: Kyle Orton

Favre pulls a Palin; He quits

You have to feel bad for the Minnesota Vikings. The team has been waiting all offseason to see if Brett Favre will be its quarterback. Then, just two days before starting training camp, Favre breaks the Vikings’ hearts and says that, yes, he is still officially retired.

Favre has had almost as much difficulty retiring as has Michael Jordan. But this time, he says, the retirement will stick.

For the Vikings this is bad news. They’re now left with a roster full of quarterbacks who make Kyle Orton look like Joe Montana. It’s a shame for the team, too, because with better quarterback play, the Vikings would be a legitimate SuperBowl contender. They have the game’s most dynamic halfback in the real Adrian Peterson. They have a tough defense. They have a good coach. They just don’t have a good quarterback.

Bears fans, of course, don’t feel too sorry for the Vikings. Favre’s announcement makes it easier on the Bears in their quest to win their division title. It also gives the Vikings a taste of what Bears fans have suffered through for many years: good defenses, good running games and horrible quarterbacking.

It’s hard to win much without a good quarterback, some flukes aside. The Vikings will get one more reminder of that this season.

USA Today takes a whack at the Bears

Few teams have had as eventful an offseason as have the Chicago Bears. The Jay Cutler signing alone guaranteed that.

Now the USA Today has devoted a signficant amount of space to previewing the Bears’ upcoming season, largely because of the Cutler trade. The big surprise is that the paper actually does a good job of analyzing the Bears.

For instance, the USA Today story rightly skewers the Bears’ once proud defense. The story even points to the defense as the main reason why the Bears missed the playoffs for a second straight season last year.

However, the paper is a bit too kind to Kyle Orton and his play. Let’s not forget that in two of the Bears’ late-season wins — against the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints — Orton played like garbage. The Bears, in fact, should have lost both of those games, which would have left the team with a 7-9 record. That record would have been more appropriate for how the Bears played throughout the season.

Maybe the Broncos and Bears will just switch rosters

Former Bears wide receiver — for one year, at least — Brandon Lloyd signed with the Denver Broncos yesterday. He joins Kyle Orton, the former Bears quarterback who was the guy responsible for throwing him passes yesterday.

Lloyd was one strange guy last year. In September, he was Orton’s go-to guy. Lloyd snagged 15 passes in September for 249 yards. Those aren’t Hall-of-Fame numbers, but they were certainly better than the stats the rest of the Bears’ awful receivers put up.

Then something happened. Lloyd got hurt. I’m then assuming that head coach Lovie Smith wasn’t happy with the way Lloyd rehabbed. Because ever since the injury , Lloyd barely played a role in the Bears’ offense. After his strong September, Lloyd finished the season with just 26 catches for 364 yards and two touchdowns.

For those not quick with the numbers, that’s just 11 catches after September.

I don’t imagine Lloyd will put up much better numbers with the Broncos. Remember, he’s got Kyle Orton throwing to him. Orton’s not exactly a model of passing efficiency.

Why does Tony Dungy care what the Bears do?

Former Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy stirred up a bit of controversey last week when he publicly questioned the Bears for trading for new quarterback Jay Cutler. It’s the kind of story that becomes news when there’s not much else going on.

Dungy, of course, is free to have his opinion. I personally think he’s wrong: The Bears, and their fans, have had to suffer with bad quarterbacking for so long, it’s nice to finally have a guy who can throw an accurate deep ball. What I don’t get, though, is why Dungy even made such a public statement.

Why does he care what the Bears do? He’s never had any connection with the Bears. He’s had to suffer with his own poor quarterbacks in his Buccanneers days. (Shaun King. Remember him?) He, of all people, should understand how important a top quarterback is to a team. I don’t remember Dungy winning any SuperBowls until after his quarterback became Petyon Manning.

So don’t worry about it, Tony. Maybe Cutler will fail. Maybe he’ll succeed. But the Bears would have been foolish to stick with Kyle Orton at quarterback.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Denver fans after next season ends.

Saw a guy wearing Muhsin Muhammed jersey yesterday

I was in downtown Chicago yesterday when I saw someone wearing a Muhsin Muhammed Bears jersey.

At first I was amazed. Muhammed didn’t exactly have a stellar career while in a Bears uniform. In fact, near the end of his tenure here, it really was “boo” — and not “Mooooose!” — that you heard when he was on the field.

Then I thought a bit about this. Muhammed wasn’t great with the Bears. But he at least got into position to make catches. He ran good routes. He caught the ball when a Bears quarterback actually managed to throw it somewhere near him.

Was a he a touchdown machine? No. Did he catch 100 balls in a year? No. Was he a deep threat at all? No.

But he sure was better than Rashied Davis or Marty Booker or Brandon Lloyd. He was probably a more consistent receiver than is “number-one” receiver Devin Hester, too.

So maybe seeing that Muhammed jersey wasn’t so weird. Or maybe the guy wearing it didn’t have any other clean clothes.

The Bears a top-five team? I don’t think so

I’m a sports pessimist. I always expect the worst. Of course, I’m a fan of Chicago sports teams. More often than not, that pessimism is warranted.

I was surprised, then, to read this report by Andrew Maisonneuve at the excellent sports site bleacher report. In his post, Maisonneuve says that the Bears, thanks to the signing, mostly, of Jay Cutler, are now a top-five team in the NFL.

As much as I’d like to, I just can’t agree. Yes, the Bears finished with a winning record — 9-7 — last season with the inept Kyle Orton as quarterback. But anyone who watched that team knows that the Bears were extremely lucky to get those nine wins. They just as easily could have finished 6-10. Two games stand out, the late-season comeback wins against the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. The Bears were severely outplayed in each game, and didn’t deseve to win either of them.

Yes, Cutler gives the Bears a new dimension. Yes, he’s an amazing upgrade from Orton. But don’t forget, Cutler’s throwing to the worst group of wide receivers in the league.

Then there’s the defense. This defense is getting older. And for two straight years, it’s been a pretty bad defense, despite the presence of Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher and Adewale Ogunleye. I don’t see these guys stopping anyone in crucial situations.

That being said, I do think the Bears, thanks to playing in a fairly weak division, will make the playoffs as a 10-6 team. But I woudn’t rank them as either a top-five team or a Super Bowl contender.

Now, if they get some wide receivers between now and opening day? That’d change everything.

I’ll never understand the love for these players

After the Bears acquired Jay Cutler, I was amazed to hear people on talk radio still singing the praises of Kyle Orton. For those who don’t know them, here are Orton’s stats for last season: He completed 58.5 percent of his passes, for 2,972 yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His quarterback rating came in at 79.6.

Does that sound like Pro Bowl passing to you? It doesn’t to me.

Simply put, Orton was a mediocre quarterback. There was nothing remotely special about him. I’ll never figure out why so many people seemed to love the guy. The only difference between Orton and Rex Grossman is that Grossman could every once in a while connect on a deep ball.

Orton joins a long line of Bears personnel who have all the love but none of the statistics to back it up.

Let’s start with the biggest of them all: Mike Ditka.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved Ditka back in 1984 and 1985 — I’m old enough to have watched those seasons, by the way. He was the perfect coach for those teams. But Ditka underachieved immensely following those two season. Sure, he compiled a stellar regular season win-loss record. Remember, though, the old NFC Central was one weak division during most of Ditka’s stay. When Ditka’s teams reached the playoffs after 1985, they disappointed. Following a 14-2 record in 1986, the Bears laid an egg at home and were pounded by Washington 27-13. In 1987, they lost their first game again to Washington, this time by a 21-17 score.

Then in 1988, the Bears finally won another playoff game, beating the Eagles in the famous Fog Bowl. They were humiliated 28-3, though, the following week at home by their old nemesis, the San Francisco 49ers. In 1990, the Bears won another playoff win, though it came against a mediocre 8-8 New Orleans Saints team. There were crushed 31-3 the following week by the Super Bowl bound New York Giants.

In Ditka’s last playoff appearance, in 1991, the Bears were outclassed by Troy Aikman and the on-the-rise Dallas Cowboys.

Take out the 1985 season, and Ditka’s Bears were only 3-6 in the playoffs. Not too impressive.

So why all the love for Ditka? He was a good coach. But not a great one.