With ex-Broncos QB Kyle Orton now a brand new member of the current division-bottom-dwellers, the Kansas City Chiefs, I recently spent a little time over at Arrowhead Pride. After commenting a few nice thoughts on Orton, wishing him well and giving the opinion that the Chiefs bettered their team by picking him up, well, it sort of turned into a Tebow v Orton back-and-forth. I was actually surprised.
Everywhere we go and everything we read, it's always Tebow this and Tebow that, so why wouldn't this post of theirs about Orton turn into a debate about Tebow? Why was I surprised? Well, I was surprised because I didn't think there was anybody left left in the world that would actually still prefer Orton over Tebow. I mean it's one thing to say Tebow's footwork sucks, he himself sucks, and that the spread offense is a gimmick that will never work in the NFL. Blah, blah, blah. Whatevs. Heard it all before. That type of vomit is expected lately. We're used to it, so there's no surprise in it. But it's another thing entirely for a bunch of guys to start debating Orton over Tebow. I mean don't you pretty much stop debating that the earth is flat once you sail all the way around it without falling off the edge?
Anyway, I realize that the Tebow debates have grown very, very tiresome, but I thought some of you might find this interesting nonetheless. While I was engaged at AP, one of their ideas kept coming up more than others... They would like to be able to stand on the idea that the Broncos turnaround is due to the defense, not Tebow - meaning the same turnaround would be happening with Orton at the helm. Obviously, that's a flawed premise to all of us. But why? How? It's going to come up a lot so we better know how to fight back.
Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs need to believe that the benching of Kyle Orton had nothing to do with Denver's current win streak. After all, for all intents and purposes, that's their starting QB now. If Orton was the problem here, then they've probably got a problem there. They can't allow themselves to believe that Kyle can't be an answer, because if he's not a solution, then they're not a playoff team. In convincing themselves, they'll look to convince others, too. To do this, they'll lneed to try and prove that Tebow is irrelevant to this turnaround and that it is instead due solely to the defense.
Moving back just a step for a moment, we all admit and celebrate that the defense of the Denver Broncos has recently caught on fire. Most of us now fully understand that with the lockout cancelling the entire offseason, there were to be delayed results in implementing a new 4-3 defense with a new HC and a new DC. Hindsight. We're now starting to see those results over the last few weeks. Additionally, Elvis Dumervil is now healthy and stepping back into his 2009 sack-meister form, Champ is out there being a champ, DJ is back in the lineup and the entire unit now plays like a unit - a hungry, aggressive unit. Obviously, Von Miller gets better and better every week and some might even call him our best player already. So yeah, there's that. The defense has improved. It's improved a lot.
So friends and foes alike, we all understand that this Broncos defense is a large part of the reason that the Broncos are winning lately. The difference, however, lies in the fact that 'realists' also understand that Tim Tebow, too, is a major reason for the W's. The defense keeps it close, Tebow plays mistake free by protecting the ball and killing the clock, and eventually he finds a way to pull out the 'W'.
So that brings me to the point. Finally. How do you slap down dumb ideas like those that are floating around in KC? Well, the way I like to combat that type of idiocy and ignorance is to simply point out that that the current league, and the history of the league, are both filled with great defensive teams that still don't win. The league is full of examples that show QBs like Kyle Orton and Mark Sanchez still can't get it done even when they have better defenses than the one we currently have.
More simply, if you're telling me that the defense is winning games and that it has nothing to do with who's playing at QB, then I'm going to show you a bunch of teams that can't win games even though they have better defenses than ours, and even better run-games in certain situations. I was in luck, there are a bunch of examples, so here are five to start with...
- The Jacksonville Jaguars currently rank 3rd in total defense. And they have a man named Maurice Jones Drew at RB. Still, with just two wins in nine games, QB Blaine Gabbert clearly isn’t getting it done, even with an elite defense.
- The Cleveland Browns currently rank 5th in total defense. Conversely, they also rank last in their division standings, a full two games behind third place even. QB Colt McCoy clearly isn’t getting it done, even with a terrific defense.
- The Miami Dolphins rank 6th in total points allowed and yet reside at the bottom of their division with just 3 wins. Chad Henne clearly wasn’t getting it done, though Matt Moore has now notched all three of their victories consecutively. Maybe the QB actually does matter.
- The New York Jets currently rank 7th in total defense. They have star-players all over the field, including on offense, and yet they find themselves all but completely eliminated from the playoffs already. QB Mark Sanchez isn’t getting it done, even with a terrific defense and amazing offensive weapons.
- The Seahawks, Redskins and Eagles all field top-15 defensive units, and yet none of them have more than 4 wins.
Still think anybody can win with a good defense? I think that idea looks pretty stupid now. It's not even a a 50/50 proposition. Got a great defense? Cool. Great. Good for you. Until you get a good QB, or at least a 'winner' at the position, you're still screwed.
That’s four top-7 defenses with crap teams and no playoffs this year because their Qbs simply can’t get it done (like our team, until benching Orton for Tebow). Diving further, that’s also at least 7 of the top-15 defenses whose Qbs can’t find a way to pull out the wins. Top-notch, top-tier defenses still lose all the time when they have quarterbacks that are inept, incompetent or turn the ball over.
Go ask the Jags, the Browns, the Dolphins, and the Jets. Ask the Seahwaks, the Redskins and the Eagles. All these teams will tell you that an improved defense isn't enough to win games. In fact, go back in time and ask the 2009 Broncos. They had a 7th ranked defense that year and yet Orton still lost 8 of the final 10 games.
Speaking of Mr. Orton, did he really have to put up like a hundred points to win games this year? I mean that's the insinuation - that Orton lost 4 of 5 because the defense was so much worse than it is now. Really?
Kyle Orton had a chance to beat the Raiders in week-one where his defense gave up just 23 points to a top-ten offense. Kyle lost that game by three. Tebow played the same kids later in the year. His defense gave up one more point than Kyle's, and yet he still found a way to score 38 and get the win, where Kyle couldn't. The Raiders game isn't the only example, either. The Broncos defense set Kyle's offense up to win the game in Tennessee, too, allowing just 17 points. Unfortunately, Kyle couldn't get it done. I should also mention that Orton's defense gave just 22 points to Cincinnati. So take that.
In fact, for the first three games this year, the winning team had only 24 points or less. So yeah, Kyle wasn't having to score like Brady. Those are winnable games. In four of Kyle's five starts, the game was decided by five points or less. So again, we're not talking about multiple blowouts and horrendous defensive performances. Those are games that a guy like Tim Tebow wins, where guys like Kyle Orton and Blaine Gabbert can't.
The Quarterback is always relevant and highly responsible for team wins. It’s not just about yards, or even about points. It’s about controlling the clock and keeping your defense fresh. It’s about ball security. It's about making those players around you better - inspiring them to greatness and willing them to give you all they have.The league is filled with quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Orton, Colt McCoy, Chad Henne, Rex Grossman - the list goes on. The league is full of these examples where terrific defenses aren't enough to win games until you get a guy that's a winner, a guy like Tebow.
And P.S., with five starts each, Tim Tebow also has more yards, more TDs, a better passer rating and WAY less interceptions and turnovers than Kyle Orton. Oh, and Timmy has a whole lot more wins. We all know that we'd rather have Tebow than Orton, but just remember that great defenses don't mean wins... and don't let the boys in KC tell you any different.