Orton getting last laugh in Denver

Since the Bears acquired Jay Cutler in a trade, Chicago has been in a sort of Jay Cutler craze. Try walking in Chicago without seeing a number six jersey, the third most popular jersey in the entire NFL. But why? Cutler has led the Bears to a 3-2 start, sure, but he is expected to do a lot more. This is the year that the Bears would finally have an “elite” quarterback, one who could take the team to Super Bowl XLIV.

The most recent quarterback to be thrown in Chicago’s doghouse is ex-Bear Kyle Orton. Orton was the only other player in the Jay Cutler trade, sent to the Denver Broncos along with three draft picks. Cutler is supposed to be a tremendous upgrade over Orton, but this is simply not the case. This year Orton has thrown nine touchdowns against only one interception, and the interception was a hail mary at the end of a half that was intercepted by Randy Moss. All of this has been done for the 6-0 Denver Broncos.

Jay Cutler has looked like every other Bears quarterback in recent memory, not the great Sid Luckman of the 1940’s. Cutler has thrown for one more touchdown than Orton, but has thrown seven interceptions. These interceptions have not been like a hail mary at the end of a half. These interceptions have been, well, awful. Like inside the red zone picks, interceptions thrown to avoid a sack, and passes where he and the receiver just were not on the same page. The Bears are 3-2, but have strayed away from their successful run the ball and play hard defense stereotypical game plan.

There is no doubt this year that Orton has the stats, but he is also a proven winner. In Orton’s career as an NFL quarterback, his teams have a combined 27-12 record. This is a .690 winning percentage. On the other hand, the “elite” Jay Cutler has a sub-.500 record. His career mark of 20-22 is anything but respectable. To put things in perspective, Rex Grossman, another ex-Bear that is banished in Chicago, had a 19-11 record as a starter for the Bears. Surely, Bears fans would be shocked to find out that Grossman has a better winning percentage that Cutler, and Orton has a better winning percentage to soon to be a top-10 quarterback of all time, Peyton Manning (.664).

The main argument of why the Broncos have jumped out to a 6-0 start versus the Bears 3-2 start by Chicagoans is that Orton has a better surrounding cast. Well, Orton has a rookie head coach in Josh McDaniels. With countless new starters on defense and a secondary that’s youngest starter is 30, the defense is a big surprise. Nobody could have predicted that the Broncos defense would play better under a former offensive coordinator for the Patriots than a Bears defense led by proven star in Lance Briggs.

On offense, the Bears have the advantage at running back. Forte had a huge rookie season, while Knowshon Moreno yet to prove himself in the NFL. At the wide receiver position, the Broncos to have an edge, but that edge can go away as soon as Brandon Marshall decides to quit on his team like he has twice in the past two years.

Another argument made in a recent pro-Cutler article in the Clarion is that the Bears would be “2-2 at best, if not 1-3” with Orton after four games. How this point can be made, I am not sure. In a loss to the Packers where Cutler threw four picks, the Bears would most likely win this game with Orton. Orton is not going to turn over the ball several times in one game, and he will not force passes, as shown by his terrific touchdown to turnover ratio. Orton’s consistent play always puts his team in position to win games, like his winning percentage shows.

Up to this point in the season Orton has proved that Denver has gotten the better deal of the trade. Orton has bettered Cutler in nearly every major statistical category, while leading his team to a 6-0 start. Chicago fans should realize that they actually got the worse end of the trade.