Orton stands out on Family Night

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In all fairness to Rex Grossman, he worked mainly with players who won’t be on this year’s roster, or, at best, won’t see much of the field. That didn’t stop Kyle Orton from shining in front of 25,000 fans at Family Night at Soldier Field on Friday. It didn’t keep the fans from casting their ballots for the starting quarterback job, either.

Grossman’s misfires were greeted with familiar boos while Orton received loud ovations while connecting with receivers on the first team.

I would like to think that the coaching staff is intelligent enough not to base it’s decision on one night of work, but there’s something to be said about performing in the clutch — er, at least, the most clutch playing time of training camp, in front of a large crowd. And the support of Bear Nation is likely to leave an indelible impression in the memories of Lovie Smith and Ron Turner.

Does Orton have a leg up on the competition at this point? It’s hard to say. But I will say this much: if Orton outperforms Grossman next Thursday against Kansas City in the preseason opener, he’ll definitely be the front runner to start against Indianapolis next month.

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