Long time reader, first fanpost. xD
Let's get the introductions out of the way...
"Hi, my name's Keith, and I"m a kool-aidaholic"
<in unison> "HI, Keith!"
Okay, on to important things.
Throughout the game today, I found myself ecstatic with the play of the defense, and quite disappointed in the play or Kyle Orton. I must admit I got caught up in the excitement of the game and lost sight of the bigger picture. After sitting back and taking a look at what went on today, and how that fit with my expectations going in, I'm really okay with Orton.
Let me explain:
Kyle Orton as a quarterback has a huge task set before him:
1. He's running a completely new system (A very complex one, at that)
2. He's playing for a completely new coaching staff
3. He's leading an offense made up of players who he's NEVER played with before
I had briefly mentioned in a few responses to other fanposts how I would consider the experience of Matt Cassel last year. Keep in mind Cassel had been the back up for multiple years, and had that time to study and practice the New England offense. (I understand the New England offense is not necessarily what we are running, but there are definitely similarities, and both would be considered very complex systems). After having all that time to learn behind one of the best, and being coached by a dang good coordinator, where did he end up? Through week 5, the pats fans were calling for his head, and the all-knowing MSM couldn't understand why the Pats wouldn't pick up the best available FA or attempt to trade for a competent signal-caller.......
Then, something strange happened..............he got it.........Maybe it was timing, maybe it was confidence (playing the 08 Broncos defense will do that for you, although they take a worse rap then I think they should.....another fanpost I suppose for another day)........but HE GOT IT
By the end of the year, not only were they not calling for his head, but he ended up signing a huge contract with $20-some million guaranteed. The MSM who couldn't understand Belichek standing by his qb just a few short months earlier couldn't detach their lips from his pasty white buttocks.........he was a prize to be had, and KC made a masterful move to acquire him and lock him up long term.
Why do I look at Cassel? Because I see the same potential with Orton. Orton's arm strength could be an issue, but after watching highlights of him, and seeing his numbers (especially from Purdue) you have to know that while the 60 yard bomb is not his forte, he sure as heck can throw a 20 yd seam with no problem. He was throwing behind receivers on mid to deep balls today, but I would say this is more a timing issue than innaccuracy or arm strength. He was throwing the shorter routes a half second too late as well, so it makes sense that his mid to deep throws might be a step behind the receivers. He held the ball a little too long at times, and seemed uneasy in the pockets. Both of these are symptoms of not being entirely comfortable with the system, as well as his teammates, not a symptom of a quarterback who has no skill.
Last point and you can tear my post up if you'd like. Orton is running an offense that is new to him with teammates that are new to him. He's not always sure what receiver will be where and when. This has an ENORMOUS affect on his play. On a given pass play, he has roughly 3 seconds or so to read the defense, AS WELL AS figure out where his players are. With time, and experience he will know and 'feel' where his receivers are and at that point it is only a matter of reading the defenders. His workload at this point is cut in half, and this is when he will flourish in this system, things will slow down for him, and he will be more comfortable in the pocket.
As stated above, I'm a kool-aid drinker. I might be wrong here, but I think it's way too early to put in Simms or Brandstater as I feel they would both struggle early on while learning the system. Any qb put in the position that Orton has would struggle for at least a few games (let's not forget that even with preseason time this team has maybe 3 games worth of playing time together). It is the first game, and I choose to celebrate how dominant our defense was rather than nitpick a player that I figured to struggle for the first few weeks.