Charles Robinson writes in Yahoo! Sports about new coach Josh McDaniel and new QB Kyle Orton.
â€œThe distance you throw the ball down the field, to me at times it can be very overrated,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m worried about accuracy. Iâ€™m concerned with them reading the plays the right way, getting it to the people that need to have it on time. For the amount of times you throw the ball 60 yards in a season, I think thatâ€™s significantly overrated, unless youâ€™re a team thatâ€™s going to throw 10 of those passes a game, which weâ€™re not.â€
McDaniels doesnâ€™t say this in a cocky or naÃ¯ve fashion â€“ two labels that were tattooed on his forehead by some media during the Cutler fallout. Instead, he says it with a few core beliefs when it comes to Orton.
First, in four years in the league, Orton has been given the chance for realistic progress only twice: first as a rookie in 2005, and then again last season as Chicagoâ€™s primary starter. And both times, areas of his game became appreciably better. Second, Orton is still young (26), and McDaniels sees room for every area of his game to grow â€“ be it mechanics, decision-making, defensive recognition and so on.
â€œWe think we can make him better,â€ McDaniels says. â€œWe think we can make him a really competitive, solid quarterback in our system. Iâ€™m never going to think otherwise. Everything can get better. He can improve in every area. If [a quarterback] ever stops believing he can get better at something, then heâ€™s lost an edge.â€
He says this with supreme confidence. He never lacks for that. Itâ€™s a byproduct of being the son of legendary Ohio high school coach Thom McDaniels, and then shimmying up the coaching ladder during his 20s under the tutelage of Nick Saban and Bill Belichick.
He has stolen volumes of knowledge from all of them. Preparation and detail from his father, like knowing that when a player watches film, he should be just as concerned with everything going on in the picture as he is with the activity surrounding himself. Relentless work ethic from Saban, who expected almost scientific precision in practice and games. And the ability to mold and tie together all aspects of coaching, motivation and leadership from Belichick.