The reality of the Denver Broncos quarterback situation is that Kyle Orton will never again be given a fair shake by a vast majority of Broncos fans - not with Tim Tebow sitting on the bench wanting to play. I recall seeing a recent fan poll containing over 10,000 votes, in which fans voted who they want as a starting quarterback in 2011. Tim Tebow received 82% of the vote to Kyle Orton's 13%.
That is a staggering vote of no confidence in Kyle Orton and starting him would not be fair to him. Think about the kind of fan-driven environment it is during a live game. Every wrong move Orton makes will bring a resounding "BOO" from 82% of the people in the stands, quickly followed by, "Tebow, Tebow, Tebow". This is the last thing Kyle Orton deserves.
I know I've been one of his biggest critics, but I don't hate the guy. Kyle Orton was exactly what we needed after the Jay Cutler fallout of 2009. However, that late season collapse had as much to do with offensive ineffectiveness to score points as it was with the defense giving it up.
Josh McDaniels must have realized Tebow's intangibles were off the charts and he must have also believed he could mold Tebow into a great quarterback. Which led me to an observation that hit me this offseason in complete hindsight. Kyle Orton can't succeed with strong competition at his position.
I think this comes from how he was treated in Chicago. I think a lot of the confidence a player has comes from those around them, especially from the coaching staff. Orton thought he had that in Denver, but then McDaniels drafted Tebow. I think that is when doubt started to creep in Orton's mind and the harder Tebow pushed the more he began to falter. The fact is, the Bears and now the Broncos have destroyed Orton's confidence. He needs to go. He needs to go somewhere that players and coaches believe in him and trust him. A place where he won't have to constantly look over his shoulder at the next "young gun" vying for his spot.
From my opinionated perspective, it wouldn't be fair for John Fox to start Kyle Orton in 2011. It would be a recipe for disaster as this team isn't good enough to generate the kind of success that would be absolutely necessary for the fanbase to come back from where they overwhelmingly are.
In short, Kyle Orton deserves mercy.