Orton is Shutout

Lake Forest – After the season finale at Minnesota, Coach Lovie Smith proclaimed that Kyle Orton deserved to be the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. The voters didn't agree with Smith's assessment, as Orton failed to receive a single vote.

Tampa Bay RB Cadillac Williams ran away with the award, taking 47 of 50 first place votes. Pittsburgh TE Heath Miller, Miami RB Ronnie Brown and New England guard Logan Mankins also received first place votes.

"I don't really have a reaction," Orton said. "It's not a big deal. I wasn't expecting to win or anything like that, so it's not really a big deal."

While Orton tried to downplay the snub, coaches and teammates had a different reaction about the results.

"Nothing ever surprises me when it comes to voting and people's opinion," said LG Ruben Brown. "But we hold him in very high esteem around here. I think he did an outstanding job as a rookie. I don't think many people could have done as well as he did. He did pretty much the same thing Ben Roethlisberger did last year, so my hat goes off to him."

Orton started 15 games for the Bears and went 10-5 as the starter. However, he had 9 touchdowns and 13 interceptions to go with the lowest passer rating of any starting quarterback. The lack of stats led the voters to believe that his lofty win total had more to do with the defense rather than what he did behind center.

"No doubt, and that's what those awards are usually based on, they look at the individual numbers," said offensive coordinator Ron Turner. "But I don't think the numbers say what Kyle did for this team. He did what we asked him to do and played very unselfish. I've said it many times, we won the number games we did playing great defense, running the football and not turning it over, not making a lot of mistakes. Kyle didn't make many mistakes."

The Bears will still have a chance take home some hardware in the coming days. Brian Urlacher is considered a favorite for Defensive Player of the Year, while Lovie Smith is one of a handful of candidates with a shot at Coach of the Year.

Bring it on
WR Muhsin Muhammad went to Super Bowl XXXVIII with the Carolina Panthers, who lost 32-29 to the New England Patriots in dramatic fashion. The 10-year veteran desperately wants to return to the big game. However, simply getting to Detroit wouldn't be good enough this time around.

"There's no such thing as just getting to the Super Bowl any more," Muhammad said. "You've got to win the thing. You've got to go all the way.

"The bottom line is if you're not winning you're losing. If you ain't getting better you're getting worse and I want to get better and I want to win and I want to win all of it."

There's a chance Muhammad will get another shot at his former team. The Bears would play the winner of the Panthers-Giants matchup if the Redskins upset the Buccaneers.

"I really do want to play the best team and the reason I say that is cause in order to be the best you got to beat the best," Muhammad said. "So lets get the best team out here, let us suit up and go for it."

Health Beat
The Bears are not required to release an injury report this week and Lovie Smith did little to try to clear up the status of any player's status.

"Mike's (Brown) getting better each day," Smith said. "How's that?"

The team should be relatively healthy for their divisional playoff game, but it appears S Brandon McGowan's knee injury the season finale could keep him out of the postseason.

There are reports that an MRI revealed a torn knee ligament that could land him on injured reserve.

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