Kyle Orton Shining Without 'The Glove'

There have been famous gloves throughout history.  OJ Simpson's glove (If the glove don't fit, you must acquit) and Michael Jackson's glittery version.  For the Broncos, it was Kyle Orton's signature model, and like OJ, he wasn't too fond of the glove.

Early on in the season, even though the team was winning, many were still critical of Kyle Orton.  Forget the fact he was playing real, live football games in a new offense, that he hadn't thrown an interception or even that the Broncos were undefeated, those critical of Orton remained.  People were wary of his pre-season performances and his supposed struggles against Cincinnati as warning signs that the Broncos would be a dink-and-dunk team - with no ability to get the ball down-field.

Personally, I withheld judgment.  As we know, Orton sustained a gruesome injury to the index finger of his throwing hand during a pre-season defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bears (the last time the Broncos lost, btw).  I have described this injury many times on MHR Radio just to drive the point home of how serious it was - the knuckle in Orton's finger-tip dislocated so badly that the bone tore through the skin.

It was the type of injury that many of us would stay home from out day jobs for - I work on a computer all day, how can I hunt and peck without the use of Mr. Pointer?

For Orton, it was different.  After sitting out the final pre-season game against Arizona, #8 proved his toughness to me.  With the wound stitched, and protected by a plastic sheath, padding and a thick glove, Orton played against Cincinnati just two weeks later.  At that point I promised myself - and all of you - that no matter what happened I would wait until the glove came off to make any determination about Orton's performance.  The index finger is the last to touch the football, so it would be unfair to judge Orton without seeing his play WITHOUT the glove as well.

So I waited.  Orton wore the glove for 4 weeks to start the season, all Broncos wins.  His numbers were good, especially the 4-0 part -

ATT COM % TD INT RAT
117 69 59.0 5 0 97.8

 

Again, those numbers are pretty damn good, for a guy forced to throw the ball with a glove on(among other things) that he is clearly uncomfortable with. Now comes the past two weeks, against two quality opponents, sans glove -

ATT COM % TD INT RAT
77 55 71.4% 4 1 103.7

 

I'd say Orton is much more comfortable, both in the offense and without the glove. In a way, it might be a blessing in disguise that Orton wore, and had success,with the glove.  Sometimes, becoming good at something when doing it in an uncomfortable way makes you even better when the discomfort is removed.   For Orton, it also means that should weather become a problem at any time this season he could feasibly go back to the glove.

Either case, I can feel confident that my initial feelings of Orton - fostered when he was a Boilermaker - were true.  Kyle Orton has the brains and the ability to play quarterback in the NFL - when given the tools and coaching necessary to succeed. 

Perhaps the most important asset to Orton is what he doesn't have - a glove.

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