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NFL Analysis: Broncos Sticking with Kyle Orton
Kyle Orton is staying in Denver; the Miami Dolphins weren’t willing to give up what Denver wants for him. Here we go again...
I have a vested interest in this situation for many reasons. I am a Florida Gator fan, a Chicago Bears fan, and a Denver Broncos fan. I have also been a fan of the Eagles and Bucs – but I don’t want to veer off course.
I remember those Bears years with Orton under center. In 2005 Orton was “rushed” into the starting position as a rookie after a preseason injury to Rex Grossman and poor play by back up Chad Hutchinson (Don’t worry -I don’t remember much about him either). He started 15 games that year, passing for 1,869 yards, nine TDs, 13 INTS, and had a QB rating of 59.7. But, the Bears went 10-5 with him as a starter – so people said it was a successful rookie campaign.
The Bears picked up Brian Griese in the off season, and Orton was demoted to third on the depth chart. That also happens to be the season the Bears met the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl – one which he had no bearing on since he never took a snap.
In 2007, Orton continued to warm the bench until December, when he was given the starting job against the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears lost and Orton went 22-38 for 184 yards and an interception. He combined for 294 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the final two games of the season, collecting wins in both games. After the season, Chicago extended Orton’s contract through 2009.
In week three of the 2008 preseason, head coach Lovie Smith named Orton the starter over Grossman. Orton didn’t throw over 200 yards per game in the first four games until Detroit in week five. At Ford Field, Orton threw for 334 yards and two TDs as the Lions continued their path to a 0-16 season. Orton led the Bears to a 6-5 record the remainder of the season, finishing 9-7 overall. He threw for 2,972 yards, 18 TDs, 12 INTs, had a completion percentage of 58.5% and a QB rating of 79.6.
In April 2009, Chicago traded Orton (and their first and third-round draft picks in 2009 and their first-round pick in 2010) to Denver for Jay Cutler (and the Broncos’ fifth round draft pick in 09). Orton was name the Broncos starter on June 12, 2009 and within 3 days WR Brandon Marshall said he wanted out and demanded a trade.
The 2009 season began promising for Orton and the Broncos as they started 6-0, however, the Broncos ended their season 2-8. Kyle threw for the most yards in his career (3,802) and made the most attempts (541). He improved both his completion percentage to 62.1% and his QB rating to 86.8, yet the Broncos used one of their 2010 first round picks to acquire two-time BCS National Champion and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. Most thought it would certainly end the Orton-era, at least in Denver, but they were wrong as Orton was signed a contract extension through 2011 and was again named the starter. Seemingly with something to prove, his sixth season was the best year of his career.
Orton began the 2010 season strong, and had his best performance to date with 476 yards, 1 TD week three against the Colts. A few weeks later, Orton had 296 yards and four touchdowns in the Kansas City game but a performance of 166 yards and 3 INTs on a trip to Arizona would force the change Broncos fans had been waiting for. The following Tim Tebow was named the starting quarterback.
In his NFL debut in Oakland, Tebow threw for 138 yards and added 78 more rushing with two total touchdowns. Although Denver lost, fans were hopeful. The final games of the season gave the Broncos another win, and another familiar loss, but Tebow’s performances were inspiring to the fans. Against Houston, Tebow orchestrated a 17 point come-from-behind victory, passing for 308 yards and a TD. In the season finale, Tebow threw for 205 yards, rushed for 94 yards and had two total scores.
The writing was on the wall for Orton, but as the draft approached, rumors began to spread that Tebow had little support from Denver’s front office, since the coach that drafted him, Josh McDaniels was fired. New head coach, John Fox‘s rebuttal was that the starting job was open, and would be fulfilled after competition by Orton, Tebow, and Brady Quinn.
Earlier this week, it was reported that an Orton-to-Miami deal was done, and then denied. Earlier today the deal appeared to be dead when Orton was the named the starter. Being in the final year of his contract, and no extension granted yet, I’m leery to think this is the end of Tebow as a starter.
Even if Orton has the history of “numbers” and the experience in his favor – he doesn’t have the history of winning. I am biased towards Tim, I watched him play for four incredible years at Florida, and I’ve been watching Orton play for six (aside from 2006). I don’t see how Orton is what Denver needs to have a chance to win when he’s been given more than enough chances. I don’t wish him any ill will – I just wish I didn’t have to see him play for one of my teams.
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