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Bears Turn to Orton to Start at QB Monday Night

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The Bears will have their third starting QB of the season Monday when they travel to the Metrodome to take on the Vikings, as the team announced Monday that Kyle Orton will get the nod under center for the 5-8 defending NFC Champs. Orton moves ahead of Brian Griese on the depth chart, and will start for Rex Grossman, who was injured in the teams loss to the Redskins Thursday night.

Orton has not played since the season finale two seasons ago. He has not thrown a regular season pass since then, and has been mostly the team’s third string QB before taking the starting job this past week for a Bears team that is basically already out of the NFC playoff picture. “I think I’ve changed as a player and as a person. I’ve matured. I’ve been in the system now for three years. I feel very comfortable with it. … I think I’m a better player now than I was when I was a rookie.”

It was as a rookie that Orton started 15 games, and that season he had a QB rating of 59.7, throwing 9 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He gave way by the end of that season to Grossman, who started and lost the NFC Divisional playoff game that year to the Seahawks. Lovie Smith said Monday that he wants to see what Orton can bring to the table. “Brian (Griese) has done a lot of good things, but I just think it’s just time to see exactly what Kyle can do,” Smith said.

Grossman is expected to miss the rest of the season with a sprained knee ligament. Griese has completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 1,803 yards with 10 TD passes and 12 interceptions this season. Orton said Griese had been a mentor to him this season.


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