Chicago Bears: Will they hunt for next Kyle Orton in 2019?

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Kyle Orton #18 of the Chicago Bears handles the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their game on November 27, 2005 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Kyle Orton #18 of the Chicago Bears handles the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their game on November 27, 2005 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears aren’t exactly experts at the quarterback position, but they at least deserve points for continuing to try. They move forward.

Mitch Trubisky is struggling at the moment. Their prized former #2 overall pick is trying to adjust to the new offense installed by head coach Matt Nagy. So far the results are mixed. He’s made some really nice plays and at other times he’s looked lost and completely unaware of his surroundings. It has Bears fans frustrated. With the defense on the rise once again, this team looks like it could go deep into the playoffs if the offense gets better.

That’s why Trubisky is under an extra hot spotlight. Other young QBs are beginning to ascend and he’s lagging behind. Some are already calling him a bust, which isn’t really fair but that’s reality. Can he turn things around as the season progresses? Of course he can. Quarterbacks always tend to play better once they gain comfort in a system. That usually won’t happen for at least half a season. There are still five games to go before Trubisky reaches that point.

These sort of things take time. Trubisky was already operating with a handicap when he got to the NFL. He’d only started 13 games in college, throwing a total of 572 passes. That’s not a lot. Add in the fact he was thrust into a bad offense that didn’t do nearly enough to accentuate his strengths and it’s little wonder he’s falling behind.

However, one must always keep an eye on the future. Say Trubisky doesn’t finish out the season too well. Could the Bears go hunting for some young competition in 2019?

Trubisky struggling may compel a search for the next Kyle Orton

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It would not be the first time that this franchise has sought out some insurance behind a high draft choice that was underachieving. Back in 2003, the Bears made Rex Grossman the 22nd overall pick. Over the next two years, he disappointed to an extent both due to his erratic play and his inability to stay healthy. So in 2005, the Bears decided to find him a little competition, selecting Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton in the 4th round.

Orton in many ways was the polar opposite of Grossman. He was big, came from a pro-style offense and was known for not being reckless with the football. Fate intervened right away. Grossman was injured in preseason and Orton became the unexpected starting QB for the Bears. While anything but great, he managed the game well and helped the team to 10 wins as a rookie. He eventually overtook Grossman as the starter in 2007.

Eventually, he went on to throw 23 TDs to 14 interceptions and posted an 11-7 record before the team traded him in 2009 for Jay Cutler. To this day he might be one of the most underappreciated QBs in Bears history. Some wonder how things could’ve played out had they simply kept him and used the draft picks they gave up for Cutler to reload roster around him. Either way, it’s clear there was value in drafting him.

Not only did Orton help the Bears win games, but he also pushed Grossman to have the best season of his career in 2006. Maybe if the hand-holding isn’t enough to wake Trubisky up, a little pressure from the back side is. The big question is who would they go for?

As with Grossman, they may seek out an opposite option

Trubisky was lauded for many things when he came to Chicago including his mobility and his accuracy. However, time has shown that he also may have come in with way too little experience and a lack of polished passing mechanics. Both have hampered him through the first 15 games. If that persists, then expect the Bears to find somebody in the 2019 class without those problems.

Some names who fit that description?

  • Ryan Finley (N.C. State)
  • Nate Stanley (Iowa)
  • Shea Patterson (Michigan)

The most notable of that group is Finley. He’s been a sharp and efficient QB for N.C. State the past two years, showcasing polished mechanics and a game manager mentality. So far in 2018, he’s off to his best start yet with 1,056 yards, five TDs and just one interception in three games. The hidden gem though might be Stanley.

Here’s a young man who’s learning under one of the best coaches in college football in Kirk Ferentz. His teams run a pro-style offense, one that Stanley ran quite well in 2017. Despite only throwing 351 total passes, he collected 26 touchdowns to just six interceptions. At 6’4 he has the size for the NFL, a good arm and shows solid field vision. He’s definitely one the Bears could watch in the later rounds next year.