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NFL: Why Would John Fox Name Kyle Orton Broncos Starter?

Denver Broncos coach John Fox announced that Kyle Orton will be the Broncos' starting quarterback for 2011.

This move comes as a surprise to say the least. Josh McDaniels' system allowed Orton to throw for a ton of yards, but Orton's yardage total didn't lead to a lot of wins. With three games left in the season, Orton was pulled for Tim Tebow, who then won two games, the same amount of wins that Orton had amassed in thirteen games. Although Tebow didn't put up the prettiest stats, he played very well, and his mobility added another dimension that the Broncos' offense had been lacking. He was learning quickly, and his mechanics had improved vastly since he left college. Based off of these results, it looked like the future was bright for Tebow in Denver. Despite this, Fox says Orton will start for the Broncos this fall.

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s under contract and he’s the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos,” Fox said, according to New Era Scouting.

Ok, ready? John Fox is a liar! Tim Tebow has nothing to worry about.

Under close examination, it is apparent that naming Orton the starter is simply a ploy to increase Orton's trade value before the Broncos unload him for a draft pick. Fox's declaration that Orton will start next year is far too reminiscent of Andy Reid's declaration last year that Donovan McNabb was the Eagles' starting quarterback. If the Broncos make it clear that they're looking to get rid of Orton, teams won't offer as much for him as they would if the Broncos maintained the charade that they really want to keep him. Many teams are in the market for a quarterback right now and very few will be available. Teams looking for a quarterback include the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals (because Carson Palmer will follow through with his threat to retire if not traded), Tennessee Titans, and Miami Dolphins.

Quarterbacks who will potentially be available include Orton, Palmer, Donovan McNabb, Vince Young, and Kevin Kolb. Almost none of the rookie quarterbacks will be ready to start immediately, so this means the demand for quarterbacks will exceed the supply. According to the tried and true rule of supply and demand, when demand exceeds supply, prices increase. With two starting-caliber quarterbacks on the roster, Denver would be foolish not to move one of them and obtain draft picks that can be used to get defensive playmakers.

Most of the teams in the market for a quarterback are looking for a stopgap solution, someone who can start for the next two or three years while a young successor is being groomed. Additionally, it is extremely risky to expect a second-year player to learn a new offensive system. For this reason, Orton's trade value will be much higher than Tebow's. While the Broncos may win one or two less games with Tebow this year than they may have with Orton as the starter, they will be much better off in the long run with Tebow and defensive rookies.

You can hear more on this topic tonight on the NFL Redzone Report on Blog Talk Radio with Hank Koebler and NFL Scout Jayson Braddock as they discuss the this topic and much more.

On tap tonight we have the John Fox / Kyle Orton / Tim Tebow issue, thoughts on Jeremy Shockey wanting to play for the Miami Dolphins, Arian Foster’s knee surgery and what that will mean for him and the Houston Texans, Cam Newton’s pro prospects, his accuracy and how race may be a factor in his evaluation, and the topic that no one wants to hear about but has to, the status on the NFL Labor progress. So join us for an action packed half hour at 11:30 pm EST. If you have an question or opinion on one of these topics and want to be heard live on the air, just call (858) 357-9151 during the show and if time permits, we'll put you up.

  • 2011 NFL Mock Draft Series & NFL Prospect Player Profiles

Hank is a sports journalist attending the University of Missouri's school of journalism. You may email Hank @ or follow him on Twitter @ HankKoebler

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