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Joshin’ Around: Let’s Give Orton a Chance

April 4, 2009
Kyle Orton

Kyle Orton

In the two days since Cutler was traded to the Bears, I have heard a lot of talk about Mark Sanchez. Why? Because many of the so-called ‘experts’ out there don’t always know what they are talking about. Now that the Broncos have two first round draft choices, many of the draft guys predict that the Broncos will package them in a deal to move up and draft Mark Sanchez, a quarterback out of USC.

I personally hate the idea of trading up for Sanchez though, and I also think there is a slim chance this could actually happen. Josh McDaniels has seen tremendous success from two quarterbacks in his system, and neither of them were highly hyped draft picks. Tom Brady went from being a sixth round pick to being a Hall of Famer, and Matt Cassel went from a seventh round pick to a viable NFL starter. So, before the whole Bronco world starts pre-ordering their Sanchez jerseys, I’m going to make a strong case for Kyle Orton to be the guy in Denver.

If you simply look at the numbers, Jay Cutler and Kyle Orton do not seem to be anywhere near the same level. Cutler has passed for 3,700 more yards in his career, and has 24 more touchdowns than Orton. But, when you look a little deeper, Orton begins to look a little better than he did at first glance.

In 2008, for example, Cutler had 1,500 more yards passing, and seven more touchdowns. The Bears, however, are historically a run-first team, and the numbers clearly show that. Jay Cutler surpassed 40 pass attempts in a game eight times last season, while Orton did it just twice. On top of that, Orton missed a game and a half due to injury, while Cutler did not. So, the disparity in numbers is not as alarming as it seems.

Also, the skill players that each quarterback had ad his respective disposal is very different. Orton’s top three targets were Devin Hester, Greg Olsen, and Matt Forte. Olsen and Forte are a tight end and a running back, respectively, and Hester only had 665 yards. Even worse, the Bears top three wide receivers, Hester, Rashied Davis, and Brandon Lloyd, only totaled 1474 yards. In comparison, the Broncos top three wide receivers combined for 2773 yards. That’s a difference of almost 1,300 yards between the Bears and Broncos receiving corps.

After seeing that, putting Orton on a team with the offensive talent that the Broncos have should do wonders for his numbers. And, when you consider that in his senior year at Purdue he threw for 3,090 yards and 31 touchdowns in a system that is said by many to be very similar to the one McDaniels plans to run, Orton begins to look like he could be a very solid quarterback in Denver.

Orton also brings to the table that everyone covets in a quarterback; a strong arm, passing accuracy, and all the intangibles. He is a leader in the locker room and on the field, he’s very intelligent, and, most importantly, he is a winner, and will do whatever is necessary to win football games. He is 20-12 as a starter, compared to the 17-20 record that Cutler is sporting. Even better, his 9-6 record last season (he missed one start) cannot be credited to his defense, as the Bears D ranked in the bottom half of the league.

But, the most important pro-Orton quality has nothing to do with the offense. To get Mark Sanchez, the Broncos will likely have to part with their extra first rounder in order to move up. In doing this, the Broncos would go from having two first round draft picks to address their woeful defense to no first round draft picks to address their defense, as their one would have been spent on a QB. The Broncos should be using those picks to draft two players that can make an impact on their defense.

So let’s hold off on the “let’s go get our franchise quarterback in the first round” talk. The Broncos have many more pressing needs right now. Orton should be given his one year as a starter for the Broncos, and the Broncos should use those two first rounders on players like DE Tyson Jackson, LB Rey Maualuga, or, hopefully, DT B.J. Raji, if he falls to 12. And if the Broncos do really feel like they need to go out nd get a rookie, let’s hold off until day two. There are plenty of quarterbacks on the board expected to go in round 5-6.

So Bronco Maniacs, let’s give Kyle Orton chance. He’s fairly strong and accurate, and has all the intangibles. Given McDaniels track record with quarterbacks and the slew of weapons he has in Denver, Orton could change a lot of minds in Denver.

  1. Bobby permalink
    April 4, 2009 8:39 AM

    Hail to the Neck Beard! Nice post, you nailed some of the positives about Orton and you are certainly right that, here in chicago, we are a run-first team. But.. the prob with Orton is his mobility (the guy is just unfortunatley slow in the pocket) and his arm streangth is nothing to write home about. He is very, very accurate (findal TD pass last year vs Atlanta to Rashid Davis is prof of that) but I cannot tell ya how many times we talked about how he just cant throw the deep ball. And with a speedster like Hester it was a killer many times last year. The guy can win and though they will not be pretty he will “manage the game” well enough to pull out some victories.

    • April 4, 2009 8:53 AM

      For anybody who is reading this and doesn’t know the play here it is:

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