I was wary how to approach this topic, on one hand I had an idea and thought I wanted to share, at the same time, this type of post isn't what I normally do. I try to stick with facts, stats, history, and social theory. But as this camp has progressed, I have seen two stories, the first is the injuries, they are more then a few this time around and deserve to be noted because of the immediate impact they can have on a team. The second story is that of Kyle Orton, well actually it's more of a non-story. When asked about Orton flying under the radar at camp, McDaniels responded:
He's making big plays down the field, he's operating and executing in the two-minute drill. ... Things are happening so much faster for Kyle right now than they were last year, and that's normal. You're in your second season in the system, you're a smart, cerebral type of player that has those skills.
Now I am a supporter of Orton starting this season, I realize that he will likely be gone next season, and if Quinn or Tebow are ready, I'm fine with that. But I have some lingering doubts about the future, and one thought seems stuck in my mind, and I want to address it.
Now this is a team sport, most fans on this site don't give to much credence to whose on the team, as long as it's still the Broncos. In a recent post I did titled FA, Roster Turnover, the Blessings and Curses, I put up a poll, and the results showed that 70% of fans here would root for the Broncos even if every player who defined Broncoism, Elway, Sharpe, TD, the whole bunch played at the same time on another team. Because of this, most fans follow a few other players in the league, maybe have some favorites they keep tabs on, but overall, players come and go, so it's hard to really form long term attachments in today's "nomad" league. Because of this, I really didn't want to do an article focusing on how this season will affect Orton's future, but after some thought, I figured it would be worth publishing.
This off-season Kyle Orton has put on one of the greatest showing of class I have seen recently. He has seen a former 1st round pick be brought in, he watched as the team used it's second 1st round pick on another quarterback, and has sat in the shadows as his future replacement has taken the light. During all of this, Orton has kept pressing forward, with each day of OTA and Training Camp, he keeps showing that he is well in the lead for the starting job at quarterback.
Kyle Orton is hardly a perfect quarterback, he has physical limitations, but this off-season I have come to respect the man even more, the same could be said for McDaniels as well. He said recently in an interview:
The speed at which he's playing mentally, and then couple that with the fact that he's making very few mistakes physically, or with the football, that's a good thing. I've seen that happen before, and it's led to good things.
Since camp began, McD has only been impressed with what Orton has done:
He's started off extremely well. He's accurate. There's nothing in our scheme, nothing in our system that he can't operate, he can't execute. He gets us in the right play basically 99 out of 100 or 100 out of 100 (times).
The fact the McD is saying that Orton can run any play in the book is pretty exciting to me, and then the fact that he is running them correctly gets me even more excited. Out of the nine two-minute drills, Orton has completed six successfully.
Now Kyle Orton is probably having the best off-season of his career, he's playing smarter, faster and better football. He is throwing more deep balls, he's moving around in the pocket well, despite trouble from the offensive line, and he is just exuding confidence, something he has lacked most of his career. From all the reports I've read, and from those people I've talked to who have been attending camp so far, Orton is clearly at a personal best in play.
But what may have been Orton's best season personally, may just become his worst. Depending on how injuries to the offensive line and running back position play out, Orton may be in for one of his toughest seasons yet, despite playing at his highest level. If Orton struggles this next season, it's not likely we will use a tag on him, especially if he doesn't produce well and therefore closing any real price he was worth. He will likely be let go, and find himself at the mercy of the uncapped league.
Now this isn't to say we should all feel sorry for the guy, this is a league with an uncertain future, but for such a high class guy, I struggle to see a man play his best football, and because of the situation, it won't likely turn out well. Should the season be successful, Orton will likely be worth considerably more, and that's a whole other topic that is worth discussing, but should the team struggle, bargain bin here he comes.
So sorry to put you through that, I swear this is a once in a blue moon event.