Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

04 Dec 2005

Defensive Bears are Much Like '99 Bucs

Why all the comparisons to the 2000 Ravens and 1985 Bears? As Bob Cook points out, Lovie Smith was the linebackers coach for a team that had a great defense -- so great that it held the Greatest Show on Turf to 11 points in the NFC Championship -- and a horrific offense led by a bad rookie quarterback -- so bad that it could only score six points in the same game.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 04 Dec 2005

22 comments, Last at 05 Dec 2005, 6:06pm by B


by B (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2005 - 5:06pm

Fortunatly for the Bears, Seattle's defense doesn't quite stack up to the '99 Rams.

by Paytonrules (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2005 - 7:12pm

Unfortunately I think Kyle Orton may be worse than Shawn King.

by Kyle Orton (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2005 - 8:55pm

Re: 2.

Only if you count actual game performance. I bring a lot more to my football team.

by Sean (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2005 - 9:25pm

For what it's worth, Orton's DPAR going into this game (it's sure to go down some more after this most recent performance): -27.7
Since the 2000 season, here are the quarterback seasons that have been as bad or worse than Orton's:
Akili Smith -30.2
Ryan Leaf -57.4
Spergon Wynn -28.5
Tim Couch -30.2
Chris Weinke -39.3
Chad Hutchinson -32.2
David Carr -66.8
Kordell Stewart -28.9
Craig Krentzel -41.7
Those are the only seasons in the last five years that have been worse than Orton's. It's an inspiring list, but it will almost certainly need whittling down after today, as Orton's numbers figure to drop him below both Spergon Wynn and Kordell Stewart, and possible below Tim Couch.

So the lesson to be learned isn't that Orton has some special intangibles that make him a winner, it's that Akili Smith could have gone about 8-3 with this Bears team.

by Kyle Orton (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2005 - 9:59pm

Not true! It's my swagger that has me 8 - 3. I have the highest swagger / QB ratio of all time.

by gerryS (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2005 - 10:09pm

one more week and Grossman may be ready

by Larry (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2005 - 11:29pm

Great numbers Sean.

Will Lovie Smith have the brain cell required to replace Orton with Grossman? If he deserves his paycheck he'll do it.

This clearly calls for a detailed reanalysis of Trent Dilfer's SB winning season with the Ravens.

by gerryS (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2005 - 11:45pm

He wasn't shy about starting Chris Harris early on. The best players get on the field unlike in the previous regime.
Everyone in the organization knows that Rex is far superior in all aspects (other than avoiding injury)but no one will say anything to upset the current winning status quo. They are quite protective of Orton but the offensive players still regard
Grossman as their leader despite what the staff says

by a total idiot (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:14am

Not a chance. There's no way any of the Bucs LBs had leg strength as weak as Urlacher.

by TomC (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:14am

gerryS -- What have you heard to make you believe that the rest of the offense still considers Grossman their leader? I'm not challenging the statement; I'm honestly curious

by admin :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:27am

Nice list, Sean. Hope you don't mind if I steal that for Quick Reads. We'll need to add on these:

T.Couch: -41.5
D.McNabb: -41.6
J.Plummer: -47.4

R.Leaf: -55.6
B.Hoying: -57.5

McNabb's bad rookie year gives Orton hope. Of course, since Couch had 8.4 DPAR rushing, McNabb 7.4 DPAR rushing, adding rushing would move Orton below them.

by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:51am

A play-by-play breakdown of Kyle Orton against the Packers:

incomplete; interception; 1, 2nd and 10; 3. 3rd and 9; incomplete; incomplete; i ncomplete; incomplete; sack; run(?) -5, fumble; 34, 1st and 10; incomplete; incomplete; incomplete; sack;
incomplete; 5, 3rd and 8; 7, 1st and 10; 18, 2nd and 7; sack; incomplete

Of the 21 Orton-involved plays:
2 were very successful.
1 was fairly successful.
3 were useless.
10 were slightly negative.
3 were pretty negative.
2 were disasters.

by Mitch Wojcik (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 1:55am

In addition to Lovie Smith, the Buc's Director of Player Personnel in 1999 was none other than Jerry Angelo, the Bear's current GM.

Below is a list of the QBs that Jerry has a hand in drafting for both the Bears & the Bucs over the past few years.

I'll let you make the call.

2005 - Kyle Orton
2004 - Craig Krenzel
2003 - Rex Grossman

2000 - Joey Hamilton
1999 - Shaun King
1994 - Trent Dilfer
1992 - Craig Erickson
1991 - Pat O'Hara

by Sean (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 4:04am


Grab 'em by all means, but much good will it do you. There's no convincing someone who insists that Orton has won nine games and therefore is obviously "a winner."

Jake Plummer has not one but two awful years, so I suppose that should give Orton-backers hope as well. But none of these quarterbacks had the kind of team around them that Orton does. He's got the guy who was the #1 receiver in the NFC last year, plus two running backs who were picked in the top ten of the draft and an above-average offensive line to boot. And he's still beyond awful.

by Larry (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:09am

No sense just preaching to the converted. I'm very curious to see a comparison between Orton and Dilfer '00 SB champ. Looking at the archives, Dilfer was bad, but not epically so, though he was something like 38th for the year in DPAR. But he also had only 250 plays, since he didn't start all year. So, I'm curious to see game-by-game looks at the two in VOA,DVOA,PAR and DPAR. I suspect the comparison will make Orton look pretty bad.

by the fumble (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 10:07am

Has anyone ever thought of running similarity scores for team seasons?

by Ulrik (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 10:13am

Someone on these boards mentioned that Brett Favre should choose between retirement and going to another team for one last shot at the superbowl.
It won't happen because both Packers and Bears are in the NFC North, but I can't help but think that it would be great for both teams if the Bears sent some draft picks to the Packers for Favre. That would make the Bears instant favorites to make the SB in the NFC, I think, and the Packers won't stop sucking before Favre retires anyway.

by gerryS (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 11:04am

tomc. its just the feeling i get from what the players say or dont say...its never "Kyle's our guy"...its more like "He's doing the best he can"...meanwhile they all know how well grossman played in camp(esp the receivers)

by Chris I. (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 4:24pm

I like to listen the Bears' postgame show on WSCR (AM 670) because it's a hoot to listen to hosts Doug Buffone and Ed O'Bradovich yell at each other.

Yesterday, Buffone was fed up and said that unless Orton improves dramatically the Bears need to give Rex Grossman a chance once he's healthy. O'Bradovich wouldn't hear it, saying a QB chaange would be too disruptive to the team. He said there's no way the Bears would change quarterbacks unless "Orton gets hurt or plays a terrible game."

If 6 for 17 for 49 net passing yards and one interception isn't considered "terrible" enough for some people, I'd hate to see what is. In the last three games, the Bears have scored two offensive touchdowns. Those TD drives covered 8 yards and 1 yard. 'Nuff said.

We went through this exact same thing last season when Krenzel went 3-0 in his first three starts. Winning can fog people's minds.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 4:31pm

You guys are so misinformed. Orton does NOT have "swagger." The Bears are winning because of his moxie.

by Chris Owen (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 5:53pm

Good article and a good comparison. My fondest memory of the 99 Bucs was when they hosted Chicago as 7-point favorites; the Bucs won 6-3. Chicago was a 7-point favorite yesterday, and they were lucky to get 9 points from their offense.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:06pm

RE 20: I thought it was because of his beard.