Reed Schreck: Time for Bears to call Wolfe ... and Orton, Beekman
The last time we saw Kyle Orton was his 2005 rookie season. The next time we should see him should be Dec. 17 at Minnesota.
It doesn’t matter whether there’s a one in a gazillion shot that Chicago could make the playoffs. Even better. That would mean Orton would play in a game with meaning, as infinitesimal as the odds would be.
It’s time for the Bears to look to the future while finishing up the present. That means a steady dose of Orton instead of Brian Griese, and equal parts of Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe at running back.
Also, let’s see what offensive lineman Josh Beekman can do. It’s possible 40 percent to 60 percent of the aging offensive line might need retooling in 2008. Funny how it used to be called experienced when it was performing well.
Reuben Brown might retire, and tackles John Tait and Fred Miller have been bothered by injuries. Guard Roberto Garza and center Olin Kreutz remain solid.
Critics might say that Chicago should play its best people because the next two teams it faces, Minnesota and Green Bay, have something at stake. To that, we say, how do we know the Ortons, Wolfes and Beekman’s aren’t better than some of the more established players?
The media sought out Orton in the locker room Thursday after Chicago’s 24-16 loss at Washington in which Chicago failed to capitalize on red-zone scoring opportunities. Maybe Orton, Wolfe and Beekman would help them come away with touchdowns instead of Robbie Gould field goals.
Or maybe not. But how are we supposed to find out if they don’t play?
At least Orton has 10 wins to his credit. At least Wolfe showed some spark when his No. 25 finally was called with some regularity in the final 19 minutes Thursday.
Orton played the I-only-do-what-I’m-told card when discussing his suddenly altered future. That became apparent when starter Rex Grossman’s left leg was bent in a direction it wasn’t supposed to face.
“I’ll try to prepare and be ready,” Orton said. “If they call my number, great. If not, I’ll continue to get ready.
“Obviously, I want to be on the field and try and help the team as much as possible. I just know when I get my chance I have to make the most of it.”
Getting chances have been virtually nonexistent for Orton, who hasn’t played in the past 32 games, counting postseason. That extends to practice, too, where his reps have been extremely limited.
But the past two seasons haven’t been a waste. It has been valuable time to learn by watching and osmosis.
“I’ve had some good quarterbacks to play around. Rex and Brian are good pros,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot and tried to absorb as much as I could.”
Now it’s time to see how much and how well he did while standing on the sidelines or running scout team drills at Halas Hall.
Reed Schreck is the NFL writer for the Rockford Register Star. Contact him at 815-987-1381 or email@example.com.