Black and Blue all over: The truth on Orton's ankle

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
It's interesting that some members of the Chicago Bears are now admitting how limited quarterback Kyle Orton was upon his quick return to the lineup last month.

Orton's first game back after spraining his right ankle was Nov. 16 against Green Bay, when he completed 13 of 26 passes for 133 yards in a 37-3 loss. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner, for one, said Orton's ankle impacted his play more than coaches realized it would. Here's what Turner said this week, according to Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald:

"We've obviously looked at that tape a bunch, and I don't know if we realized going into it that he was going to be as bad as he was injury-wise. He couldn't move at all. He couldn't push off it to throw. I think his timing and everything else, his confidence right now, is so much better than it was at that time."

Turner's sentiments could be viewed as a defensive mechanism for a quarterback that hasn't been as productive since the injury. But there is no disputing the numbers. We'll get into it in more detail over the next few hours, but Orton's passer rating is 67.8 after the injury as opposed to 90.1 before.

It's more likely Turner's sentiments are genuine, which make them an admission that the Bears overestimated the condition of Orton's ankle prior to the Packers game. Either that, or they decided they would rather have a significantly limited Orton at quarterback than a healthy Rex Grossman. Probably a combination of both.

Let's continue our spin around the NFC North:

  • Orton stands to lose $375,000 in escalators if he can't pull his season completion percentage above 60 percent, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.

  • Green Bay coaches aren't tipping their hand this week about the status of cornerback/safety Charles Woodson, according to Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Woodson practiced at both positions Thursday. It's possible he'll return to cornerback Monday night against Chicago, with Aaron Rouse starting at safety.

  • Green Bay receiver James Jones has only recently gotten over the injury hump after spraining his knee during the preseason, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  • Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune looks at the possibilities of Minnesota tailback Adrian Peterson winning the MVP award.

  • Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on fans hoping for his return to the lineup: "I can't really say what I want to say. That's how it is. That's part of the game. It's a bandwagon type of league." Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press looks at Jackson's newfound hero status.

  • Detroit coach Rod Marinelli on the increased media attention as the Lions approach 0-16: "This is elevator music to me." John Niyo of the Detroit News breaks down Marinelli's reaction.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with this take: Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press thinks the Lions need to empty their playbook and take more chances in an effort to avoid 0-16.