Just wanted to throw down some thoughts and get ALL of us thinking about the long term development of the team and how that relates to Kyle Orton. No, I am not speaking about who should start, but I am talking about how the value of Kyle Orton has grown during his tenure here at Denver. Its not going to be a long drawn out post with stats, quotes and other stuff (because frankly, my enthusiasm for football is on hiatus until FA starts) but just some bullet points to start some discussion.
Read along and hit me back with some thoughts:
1/ THE TIMELINE:
- The Cutler Trade: We get 2 x 1st round picks, a 3rd round pick and Kyle Orton is "thrown in". Now whether you love or hate Josh McDaniels, he saw something in Kyle Orton over Jason Campbell (where the Redskins had great interest in Cutler as well) that he saw as a trigger man for his offensive scheme. Orton bought smarts and toughness, 2 qualities essential in his system. I remember the reaction from the boards here regarding Kyle Orton, and the majority were pretty....should we say....negative. Cutler for Orton????? What???? Doc Bear, Rocko and few others saw a lot in Orton. I did some study and came up with that he was a pretty good throw in. There was still considerable debate whether Orton was a stop gap or starter.
- A QB Friendly System: McD is credited for the success of Matt Cassel, and the fan base and media start buying into the system that (Paraphrasing here) "make any QB a success".
- Pre- Season: Orton hears a Boo.....after a 3 INT performance in pre-season the Mile High Militia is calling for both McD's and Orton's blood. He plays better in the remaining games as he starts to pick up the system better and the restless natives are calmed a little, but still the majority is very doubtful.
- 6-0: Orton is being seen as a MVP candidate, and leads the Broncos to a 6-0 start. He is a tough leader, is dispelling many of the rumors of a bad arm. The Broncos look like a run away leader to make the play offs. Orton's stats are great, he makes minimal mistakes, and hes improving.
- Orton gets injured against the Redskins: This is where the wheels of our season fell off. We are subjected to Chris Simms, and Orton takes on the role of savior. He is SO much better than Chris Simms, and he shows his toughness by coming back in against the Chargers the next week. Is Orton this good? Does Simms suck that bad? Is it a combination of both!
- Broncos limp to 8-8 finish: Our defense collapses, we have injuries and Denver misses the play offs. Orton still plays well, apart from the last game of the season against the Chiefs.
- Denver draft a QB. Controversy starts!: But its not any QB...its Tim Tebow, perhaps the greatest college player of all time, and one of the most polarizing players we have ever seen. Orton is back into ANOTHER QB battle, but steps up his game and declared starter.
- No run game, no D leads to lots of throws: Orton has to carry the team, and the emerging play of Brandon Lloyd sees Orton put up HUGE numbers. Doubts start creeping in with the fan base: what do numbers mean when they dont equate to wins? Many see similarities with the 2008 season. Questions emerge on Orton's "clutchness".
- Orton plays injured: Orton has 2 below average outings against the Chiefs and Cardinals. He is pulled for the remaining 3 games due to mounting injuries.
- "The Messiah" arrives: Tebow starts the remaining 3, plays well and surprises the majority of the "experts" including leading the team on a comeback from 17 points down. The QB controversy starts raging even more!
2/ SOME QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
- Are the Broncos a team that can compete now? That answer will determine whether Orton gives the team more value as a starter or a tradable commodity.
- When we first got Kyle Orton would you ever believe we would be would be discussing getting a 2nd round pick for him?
- Does the compensation we would receive for Kyle Orton benefit the LONG TERM DEVELOPMENT of the team more than having him stay with the team and potentially lose him to FA next season?
- What happens to his value if we keep him and he loses the QB battle to Tebow or another QB?
- Was Orton's success attributed to the system?
- Does Orton bring so much more to the table than Tebow?
- How much more ceiling does Orton have left?
Happy 4th everyone!