There has been lots of discussion recently on this site about two things - the QB situation and the makeup of the final roster. This discussion has me thinking…
The Tebow pick has puzzled some, especially following the acquisition of Quinn. Many have consequently concluded it means that Orton is not regarded as the QB of the future, that Tebow is the heir apparent and that Brandstater is regarded as little more than a possible career #2 QB.
But I find myself having a different view of the QB situation and it spills over to some of the other roster moves.
During the Easter break I posted an article on “factors” I regarded as important but often overlooked, or at least downplayed, in analyzing the development of a roster for a consistently winning team. One of those “factors” was the salary cap. If the new CBA has no salary cap (which I am not expecting), it would change that factor some but not eliminate it. For the distribution of salary resources will IMO become increasingly recognized as important in the development of a consistent winner. And I think it should be discussed with regard to the QB situation.
After the break is my reasoning.
Let’s assume McD is serious when he states that his systems (both offense and defense) require “tough”, “aggressive”, “versatile”, “smart”, ‘team” players. It would take too long to comment on each of these adjectives, but they should be kept in mind as “essential qualities” when attempting to analyze what is happening at Dove Valley.
If both the offense and defense systems require “smart”, “versatile” players because they are complicated but, consequently, doubly effective, these two qualities might be more important than other qualities – i.e. speed, elite arm strength, mobility, etc. For the coaches and systems also would have to be as versatile as the players and would modify and adjust to fit the skill sets available.
In this scenario, the versatility of the coaches and systems are as important – let’s say more important – than the specific skill sets of the players, with the exception of the essential qualities - “smart”, “versatile”, “tough”, “aggressive” and “team” players.
In this situation, the longer in the system, the more productive the players will become, if they have these basic essential qualities.
For me, this means that the pecking order for the current QBs should be Orton, Brandstater, Quinn, and Tebow, if all have these essential qualities (which we’ll assume they have as long as they are on the roster).
It also means that Orton should have a vastly more productive year this year simply because of the extra year of experience. Add to that the possibility that the OL play will be noticeably improved (which I expect – the degree to which depending on the health of key players like Clady and Harris), the improved production of the offense this year could be dramatic enough to warm the hearts of even the most skeptical of Bronco fans.
I would not be surprised to see the improvement in the Bronco offense in 2010 to be shocking to most fans much less MSM skeptics.
However, herein lies the rub.
Orton’s play in 2010 could very well place him in the statistical category of the 10 top QBs of the league. And he becomes a free agent at the end of 2010. It is possible that he will want a contract to reflect this status.
And he may not get it.
The Cap or Salary Resources Factor will attempt to establish the fact that it is the system that produces success and that a variety of players can thrive in the system if they have the essential qualities – i.e.
“smart”, “versatile”, “team”, etc.
So Orton is faced with a choice: to sign with the Broncos for less because he thrives in the system; or to sign with another team for a substantially larger contract as a “franchise” QB based on his performance in this system.
If he signs with another team, Brandstater moves into the starting position (having two years experience) and the cycle repeats (because he becomes a free agent after another year or possibly two).
Then, if Brandstater leaves (for the same reason as Orton), Quinn moves up, then Tebow, etc. (This follows another of the “factors” I describes in the earlier Easter article which I called the “FA factor”, which simplified means that every draftee must be treated as a potential FA at about the time he becomes productive – i.e. three years).
This, of course, is totally hypothetical. One or more of the QBs may not have the “smarts” required to fit the system. Hence they are skipped over (released or traded) for the next (and replaced in a subsequent draft).
My point is that the stable of QBs may reflect mostly a realization of the situation in the NFL where every player can become a free agent and may price themselves above the increasingly recognize salary allocation necessary to build a consistently winning team (the Colts’ lament that their SB loss resulted from inferior OL play reflects the fact that they overpay a couple of players – HOF players to be sure – but cap straining to the detriment of the “team” which then cannot afford to pay for quality OL).
Consequently, I expect Orton to be the QB throughout 2010 (throwing Tebow “into the fire” would be a surprise to me and IMO not especially productive – I’d be less surprised to see Tebow acquire a “mysterious” injury requiring him to spend the year on IR. I also regard Quinn, at this point, as only an emergency QB). Unless Brandstater is regarded as lacking the “essential qualities” (in which case he will probably be cut or traded), I currently think of him as being #2. To use either Quinn or Tebow this year would simply mean that the production of the McD system will be drastically curtailed and we’ll have another 2009 offensively, which I’d like to avoid.
Woody Paige’s (and others’) call to trade Orton at this point is IMO beyond idiotic.
I would expect that McX are totally aware of the situations determined by the Salary Allocation (Salary Cap) factor and the FA factor and have the stable of QBs at Dove Valley to hedge all bets or circumstances. (I think these “factors” apply also to other roster consideration, but I’ll possibly comment on that later.)
And I personally like the feeling of security that it provides. So far, I feel very comfortable with what is happening at Dove Valley (even though the Tebow pick surprised me, until I saw the other picks).