Will Turner be the Difference?

The Bears have lost their starting quarterback before the season even started. Can Ron Turner make the offense into a respectable unit with Chad Hutchinson under center?

"The good news is we have plenty of time, almost a month before our opener," said general manager Jerry Angelo. "We have Ron Turner here, so we have a lot of confidence in what he's doing as well."

Reading between the lines of Angelo's statement was a shot at Terry Shea. When Rex Grossman went down last year, Shea failed to adjust and as a result the offense plummeted to 32nd in several categories.

Hutchinson has more experience than Grossman with 14 career starts to 6. He has the ability to keep the offense moving forward. He stared the last five games of the 2004 season and finished with a quarterback rating of 73.6.

Considering a patchwork offensive line allowed 23 sacks when Hutchinson was at the helm, his numbers should improve with the current veteran group.

Hutchinson has looked decent in the preseason. He's 12-of-20 for 138 yards, but playing with the first string talent around him could bring his game up a notch.

The problem in practice has been his indecision, which has led to him scrambling even in seven-on-seven drills.

Turner worked with five different starting quarterbacks in going 32-32 as offensive coordinator from 1993-96. He was calling the shots when Erik Kramer – a journeyman quarterback for the bulk of his career – had one of the best seasons by any Bear quarterback. Kramer put up 29 touchdowns and 3,838 yards. The unit had two 1,000-yard receivers in Jeff Graham and Curtis Conway as well as Rashaan Salaam rushing for 1,074 yards.

With Kyle Orton showing glimpses in two preseason games, there may be a call from fans to develop him for the future. Next year is the farthest thing from Angelo's mind, his job is on the line if the Bears fall apart.

"We have a whole season to go through and we feel good about our football team," Angelo said. "If we're contingent on just one player then obviously we didn't build this team to win."

Bear Report Top Stories