There’s an overwhelming feeling around Chicago — and even throughout the national media — that the competition between Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton is all but over. It is widely believed that Orton already has secured the starting quarterback job in the season-opener on Sept. 7 against Indianapolis.

Many speculate that Kyle Orton has already won the starting quarterback job.Lovie Smith, as always, is playing things close to his vest and won’t reveal his thoughts on the matter, but he did offer a few little nuggets:

“We didn’t get a lot done and Rex was a part of that,” Smith said after Saturday’s loss to the Seahawks. “That’s how it goes sometimes. Sometimes when everyone else [struggles], you want someone else to step up and make a play.”

And even more telling:

“We’ll still let it play out, but things are becoming clearer and clearer,” Smith said.

Perhaps even more indicative than what Lovie said was what he didn’t say.

In the first preseason game against Kansas City, he gave each quarterback ample opportunity to show what they had, playing Grossman well into the third quarter. Against Seattle, Orton received just two series and looked sharp on the second of which, a two-minute drive resulting in a field goal. Caleb Hanie played the entire second half.

By keeping Orton out of the game in the third quarter, Lovie was insinuating that Orton, in his mind, had won the derby and he wanted to keep his starter healthy.

Either way, we should find out soon who the starter will be, but whomever it may be, we’ve learned that the offensive line needs serious help in blitz pickup and general pass protection, otherwise we could end up seeing all three quarterbacks this season — once again.