With the season on the verge of ending, it's time to look towards the draft and evaluate some of the personnel. Obviously one of the most important positions on the field is the QB position. A team needs all positions to be good in order to win, but some positions are more important than others. Despite Kyle's "fairly good" season, there have been calls to draft a QB in the upcoming draft. I do admit, Kyle does have some areas where he needs work, but there are other positions that need more of an upgrade. This has been Kyle's career high in terms of TDs and his career low in INTs (so far). This is what KO's stats have been like this year:
14 GS *304 Comp *485 Att *62.7 Pct *3,371 YDS *7.0 AVG *20 TD *9 INT 27 Sck *89.3 Rate
The asterik ( * ) means that it is his career high. His interceptions could still go up, but he would have to throw three more to tie his second lowest total. Kyle has definitely not been bad this year. If Denver drafts more offensive lineman to protect Orton that can also provide a better running game, then his numbers will continue to increase.
Not to mention the team will have completed their first year under McDaniels' new system. This means that the whole team will know McDaniels playbook and it will open up a bit more, allowing Orton to take some shots down the field. Yes, that's right...Orton CAN throw the ball deep. In case you haven't noticed, McDaniels doesn't call that many deep passes. He does this, not because he believes that Orton's arm isn't strong enough, but because the offensive line won't give Orton the amount of time required to throw the ball deep. So after this year's draft, when Denver has restocked it's o-line, and the whole team has a chance to learn the playbook even more, then we'll see the playbook open up and see some more of the passing attack that we saw while McD was in New England. Obviously this team will have more of a running game, but that will set up the pass which will allow the team to be even more successful.
The one concern I have about Kyle Orton is his ability to move around in the pocket. In the Philly game he had one nice run, but failed to pick up the first down. I have seen...NUMEROUS TIMES...Ben Roethlisberger make plays in situations like those. Instead of running the ball for the first down, he moves, laterally, outside the pocket, keeps his eyes down field, and finds the open receiver to pick up the first down. I cannot tell you how many times I've seen that guy do just that. IMHO, that one trait makes Roethlisberger one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
SACKS: One thing that I noticed in the stats above was the number of times that Kyle Orton was sacked. Twenty-seven times! That was how many times he was sacked last year IN CHICAGO! I remember hearing how well our offensive line was suppossed to be, but it's no different than Chicago's! This year, in Chicago, where Jay Cutler resides now, their offensive line has given up 33 sacks. That's only a difference of 6! So either Orton's inability to move around in the pocket caused an increase in sacks, or it's just that the line is getting old. Part of me wants to say that Orton needs to work on moving around and avoiding the sack, but I think that the line is getting old. Weigman is done and so is Hamilton. I never liked the Hochstein move, even though we had no other choice. Polumbus is a good back-up and I also believe that Kuper isn't what he used to be. Obviously the loss of Ryan Harris hurt, but that just proves that this team needs depth. Getting sacked isn't really Orton's fault, but he could've avoided the pressure a few times.
SCRAMBLING & LOOKING DOWN FIELD: Like I said earlier, Kyle doesn't seem to have the ability to avoid the rush and look down the field to avoid the pressure. To be an ELITE quarterback, one must be able to do this. Obviously some quarterbacks don't need to do this because they get great protection from their line, but in Ben Roethlisberger's case and Kyle Orton's case, they'll need the skill. Big Ben already has it, but Kyle needs to work on it.
Those were the only two things that I noticed that Kyle Orton needs to improve. Besides that he has looked good this season. Kyle is only going to get better, so why draft another quarterback when we already have a "fairly good" one? Plus we have his eventual replacement, in Tom Brandstater.
Oh and one more thing, did you know that Jay Cutler has thrown more INTs than he has TDs this year? He has thrown 23 TDs and 26 INTs! Unbelievable!!! Anyway, thanks for reading! AND...