There as been no topic hashed out more throughout this horrifically long and empty off-season than the Tebow/Orton debate. There probably isn't a scenario that exists that hasn't been offered by at least one fan-writer MHR. We've heard them all, and I'm not here to tell you what you've already heard. I'm here to tell you what you haven't yet heard, but probably already know deep down, you just haven't realized it yet.
Just saying the name will bring a myriad of different thoughts, memories, or emotions to each and every one of us. Some good. Some bad. And then a ton that are somewhere in the middle - lost in the grey area between love and hate. However, regardless of those initial feelings, we as Broncos fans should be LOVING the guy - maybe not as an NFL Quarterback, but as a Denver Bronco player.
You see, the truth that gets lost in the armchair (and even legitimate) evaluations on the guy is the fact that he came in at practically zero cost to us. The guy was a "throw-in" incentive to part of a much bigger deal. I'm not going to get into the debate about how badly the resources pulled from the Cutler trade were or were not squandered, or whether dismantling a decently effective offense was - despite a bottom of the barrel defense looming over this city's collective head. What I AM saying is that Orton came in as nothing - heck... many people though we were going to go out and draft a QB with one of those picks because Orton was just some guy from Chicago we didn't really know too much about - and a guy who had never been fully thrust into the position of a game-in game-out starter for a whole year.
Regardless of McDaniels' other personnel moves, this one was brilliant. Snagging Orton and two first round picks for a guy who would have just tapped out if we got into the AFC Championship anyways. (Yeah that was harsh, but so is refusing to answer your boss because you don't like the way he runs his company.) Orton had a rough first year, learning (quoting Casey Weigmann, a seasoned veteran center in this league) "the most complex offense" he - and most other quarterbacks in the league - have ever been a part of. But he picked it up as the year went on and went from being the weakest link in 2009 that was getting carried by our surprisingly good defense to a man that carried the evil twin of that same defense a year later.
That last point can get argued to Kingdom Come, but any one of us can go back right now to the archives of MHR and look at the majority of fanposts, comments, and quotes of themselves taking solace in the fact that - despite losing 2 out of 3 games - at least Orton was giving us a shot in most every game. Was he ever clutch and pulling us through in a pinch during that time? Not really, but what did you honestly all expect? After watching him in 2009 there was about zero reasons why any of us should have felt confident about having Orton as the starter coming into 2010. But he did, and he played well - heck... he played GOOD. It wasn't "great" but it was GOOD! And at what cost to us again? About nothing. And this year he's either going to pull in some more resources to use to improve this team, or he's going to remain as our starter.
Why am I not upset about the latter part of that statement? (and I am NO Orton homer - by ANY MEANS) Because my memory still serves me well. And I remember that Orton took command of our offense last year in a surprising way - though he is not out-spoken, he had firm control over that team last year, and found a way to get production out of his offense despite having ZERO running game (especially early on when both Moreno and Buckhalter were ailing) and a defense that was giving up more points than platinum credit card with a 45% APR.
Orton crumbled in some high pressure situations - but I believe that was also partly because he was already carrying so much weight on his shoulders to begin with. He's not superman. He's a Blockbuster trade "throw-in", and being that... has performed above and beyond all realistic expectations... However, we here in the great Mile High City don't have realistic expectations when it comes to our Broncos, especially when it comes to the QB position. Once you've lived in the presence of a legend, the next reluctant hero's light will be incredibly dim. Even the bright upcoming star Tim Tebow WILL disappoint us, EVEN if he becomes as good as we want him to be. Because Elway holds a special spot in our hearts, and that spot has got a deathgrip on the "ideal Bronco QB".
Enough of the dramatics. If you've gotten this far, I commend you; for you've just reread the same crap you've heard from countless other sources already this off-season. The fact of the matter is: Orton is NOT a problem right now. If we can't trade him... he's still NOT a problem. He's not in anybody's way. He's not in Tebow's way of the starting job. Only Tim Tebow is in Tebow's way. If he deserves to start he will, and it doesn't matter how much we're paying Kyle Orton. There's basically only a few realistic scenarios that will play out and I'll paste them up in plain english:
A) We trade Orton before the season, and get some compensation that makes our team better.
B) We trade Orton during preseason, and get some compensation that makes our team better.
C) We don't trade Orton at all and he performs well as our starting QB (which makes our team better) and can garner even BETTER compensation for us next year, which.... BTW... MAKES OUR TEAM BETTER.
D) We don't trade Orton and he does NOT perform well... at which point his positive contributions have ended and the next guy in line (Quinn or Tebow) will take over and have a 50/50 shot of making our team better.
In almost EVERY scenario our team get's better. The only scenario where we don't get better is if both Orton AND every other QB on our roster flops... at which point Orton alone isn't a problem, but the entire Denver QB situation as a whole. No matter what Orton cannot really hurt us at all. On the contrary he's done the exact opposite for us the last couple of years. He's outplayed his initial worth and increased it, enough that we may even pull a 2nd round pick for him (especially if we don't find a suitor this year and he starts and excells and ups his value) ... or more.
So regardless of how you feel about the attractiveness of Orton's QB play, he's done right by the Denver Broncos, and by their fans... US!!! He's been improving both himself and this team for the last two years and will most likely continue to improve it by giving us resources or a fine starting QB and mentor for the up and coming Tebow - who is only in his SECOND YEAR I might remind you. How long was Aaron Rodgers sitting in Farves shadow??? And was Farve even playing above the level Orton is playing at right now?? Not really. That only drove Rodgers on all the harder to improve and finally uproot him. You think Tim Tebow is less hungry than Aaron Rodgers? Pshhh...
I only see upside with Kyle Orton, in a trade, as our starter... doesn't matter. The Denver Broncos will get (and HAVE already gotten) better because of Kyle Orton. So it doesn't matter how much you like Tim Tebow (maybe you like him almost as much as I do!!!!) you can't hate on Orton. He's been nothing but a classy, professional veteran Quarterback that's given this team his all.... and his all has been WAY more than any of us expected the day we found out he was tossed in on Cutler's deal. Point blank, period.
He is not and has not been a problem. He has been the solution and will probably continue to be the solution even after he's gone (unless - God forbid - ALL of our QB's flop.. which at that point Orton is the least of my worries) because of the resources we'll get from him.
This situation is WIN WIN for the Denver Broncos, in almost any way or shape it could unfold. And I don't know about you, but this organization is in dire need of some winning!
(adding a note about the poll since apparently there is a character limit for the question box)
There's been poll after poll about who thinks what about Orton and our QBs... I'm not going to ask you what you want, because i'm sure many of you want to see Tebow start - just like I do.