Even though Kyle Orton played very well for half a season and has the confidence of both his teammates and coaching staff, general manager Jerry Angelo promised the Bears would have competition for the starting quarterback job again in 2009.
Orton won the training-camp battle with former first-round draft pick Rex Grossman in Bourbonnais and was making a case for the Pro Bowl by midseason, but he sprained an ankle in Week 9 against Detroit and battled the injury the rest of the way. Even though he only missed six quarters of action, suddenly he was forcing passes and making poor decisions – he wasn't doing either before going down in the Lions game. Chicago figured to be in the market for a No. 2 QB since Grossman's contract is up, but Angelo still isn't convinced Orton is the No. 1 going forward.
It remains to be seen if Orton's competition will come in the form of a veteran through free agency or a rookie via the draft, but the organization may have tipped its hand at the Senior Bowl in Mobile.
Scout.com is reporting that officials from the Bears spent a great deal of time at Monday's practice with Alabama passer John Parker Wilson.
Wilson (6-1.5, 209) was a three-year starter at QB in football-rich Tuscaloosa, leading the resurgent Crimson Tide to a 12-0 record and the No. 1 ranking in the country before falling to eventual BCS champion Florida in the SEC title game and then to Utah in the Sugar Bowl. He shows good technique with his delivery and keeps the ball high when standing in the pocket, and he has proven to be particularly effective with quick throws on three- and five-step drops. But he lacks the kind of arm strength necessary to deliver the ball consistently on deeper routes, and his accuracy is well below average in part because of some sloppy footwork.
Listed as the No. 7 signal caller available for the 2009 NFL Draft by the experts at Scout.com, Wilson should be selected somewhere in the latter stages of Day 2.
While the Bears liked what they saw out of undrafted rookie Caleb Hanie during the preseason last year, it's reasonable to expect both a free agent and a draft pick to join the mix before the offseason program begins.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
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