Angelo Weighs in on QB Debate

Lake Forest - At least publicly, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo says he's convinced his team can win in the playoffs with rookie Kyle Orton at quarterback.

"We can win in the playoffs just the way we've been winning," said Angelo, who has held a roster spot all season for Rex Grossman, the original starter, who is back on the practice field and is No. 2 on the depth chart after rehabbing the ankle he fracture on Aug. 12. "We've played good teams, like Carolina, and we went down and played a good Tampa team, so we've had some tough games on the road, and we've come out with wins."

Angelo said that with the exception of the Colts, there are no great teams in the NFL this season, which gives the 9-3 Bears a fighting chance in almost any game, even in the postseason.

"What you see are a lot of good teams," Angelo said. "Not great teams, but good teams. I saw Baltimore win (Super Bowl XXXV) with Trent Dilfer at quarterback with a good running game. It's been done. You've seen teams get to the Super Bowl, you've seen teams win the Super Bowl without a juggernaut offense, but they played well within the framework of who they were, and that's what we're doing.

"We feel very good about our team going forward, but we have to get into the playoffs. We're not there yet. We have to finish it, and once we get in, I feel as good about our chances as I do anyone's."

Angelo said he's seen first-hand how a team can succeed without exceptional play at quarterback.

"When I was with Tampa, we got to the NFC championship game with (quarterback) Shaun King, who was a rookie," Angelo said. "It's not like I haven't seen this before personally, so I have confidence in what we're doing."

Still the Bears actions may speak louder than Angelo's words. Grossman has received a quarter of the first team reps in practice and the quarterback debate has been the top story despite the team's longest winning streak in 20 years.

In many ways the Bears success has also limited what they can do at quarterback. If the team were 7-5 and tied with the Vikings for first place in the NFC North, a change at quarterback would be more universally accepted.

An eight-game winning streak has made many believe Orton is a major part of the success. The biggest thing the rookie has done this year is line up behind center every week.

"I keep going back to the 9 wins with the same guy in that role there's something to be said about that just like every other position," said head coach Lovie Smith. "We're improving as a football team based on the same guys playing, playing together, getting to know each other better each day."

The problem is Orton hasn't progressed and it will not get easier for him this week at Pittsburgh. A poor first half could lead to the Bears making a move and even if it doesn't happen this week a switch to Grossman doesn't seem far off.


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