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Published on 07/13/2009 at Mon Jul 13 06:00.
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Kyle Orton: Denver Broncos starting quarterback (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Kyle Orton: Denver Broncos starting quarterback (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Kyle Orton. Denver Broncos quarterback. I didn’t think I’d ever say those words in the same sentence.

To be honest, I didn’t know what to think about Orton. I didn’t know a lot about him – at least, beyond what a general NFL fan knew. I knew he won a lot of games for the Chicago Bears as a rookie. I knew he got benched in the playoffs that year. I knew he stayed on the bench as a backup until last season, where he won the starting job from Rex Grossman in training camp and had an up-and-down season. To use a word I’m preemptively trying to prevent Woody Paige from abusing, he was merely Orton-ary.

Like many (but not all) of you, I was upset over losing Jay Cutler. Maybe “upset” doesn’t quite do that justice. I was livid. And because of that, I’ve been festering a predisposition against Orton from Day One. He wasn’t my feisty strong-armed quarterback.

(Not to mention I only buy one jersey a year, and I own two Jay Cutler jerseys. Do the math.)

It’s fair to say I didn’t like Kyle Orton one bit.

Of course, I recognized this. I have a passion for the Broncos that goes beyond one player, and decided I owed it to myself, my team, and my readers to take a closer look at #8. Hence, Kyle Orton Week – my attempt to address this prejudice against our new signal-caller and formulate a well-reasoned, educated opinion on the man.

I decided I would break down highlights. I would read scouting reports and scour through articles both good and bad. I surfed the Bears fan forums, and talked to other Broncos fans who have an opinion on the guy. I tried to become a Kyle Orton expert.

Now it’s time for me to share my newfound knowledge with you. Over the next 5+ days, I’ll be posting different pieces on Orton – the good, the bad, the ugly; his upside, his downside; and everything in between. I hope you, the reader, can take what I found and formulate your own opinion. And then I’ll share mine.

So as we travel the road to training camp now less than three weeks away, come along this little side path of mine as I put our starting quarterback under the microscope. A huge part of our Broncos’ success this year depends on him.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed making it.

  • Andy

    Looking forward to this

  • Katch22

    I like it but I’m pretty sure it will turn into Cutler talk instead of Orton talk. I like Orton and I hope he does well for us.

  • flbronc

    looking forward to it kyle. i hope that others on the board will look at it as you have, with some objectivity. some people just cant let go, and will hate anyone who takes a snap for the broncos who isnt cutler. i liked the pickup- i’d rather have cutler- but since that became impossible i think orton will do well.

  • Garrett Barnes

    Can’t wait to hear this. My impressions have been relatively good so far but at this point in the off-season, the more information we can get on him the better. :)

  • jvill

    Here’s an interesting read in the NYT Football blog on Cutler:

    July 13, 2009, 6:00 am
    Sorry, Bears Fans, Cutler Isn�t the Answer
    By KC Joyner
    Chicago Bears

    The Football Scientist, KC Joyner, is a Fifth Down contributor. Lab results from �Scientific Football 2009,� to be published in August, are available for those who order the book now.

    Every Thursday at 4 p.m., I do a chat on�s SportsNation Web site. The chat format allows people to post any kind of question they want, so the topics tend to jump around a lot.

    That wasn�t the case this past Thursday, or at least it wasn�t after Alex from Chicago asked how well I thought Jay Cutler would do with the Bears this year. I told him: �I�ve said it many times and I�ll say it again � Cutler will make Bears fans remember Rex Grossman. He�ll make just as many crazy passes but won�t suffer the Grossman fate because Chicago�s fan base is so in love with him that they will forgive the nutty throws he makes in ways that they never forgave Grossman.� Much of the rest of the chat was dominated by Bears fans wanting to give me a piece of their minds.

    It didn�t stop there. Brad Biggs of the Inside The Bears blog on The Chicago Sun-Times posted my comments there, and many of his readers also took me to task (including one who said �I unemotionally state KC Joyner is an idiot�). That trend continued when Aaron Wilson of posted a comment about Brad�s story there on Saturday (and multiple Chicago followers threw both Brad and me under the bus).

    Now I understand that fan scrutiny comes with the territory, so I don�t mind that, but what I don�t understand is why those fans are treating Cutler differently than they did either Grossman or Kyle Orton.

    Grossman was on fire during the first part of Chicago�s Super Bowl season, and yet as soon as he had the bad game against Miami, it seemed the entire city turned on him. It didn�t go that much differently for Orton. He had a tremendous start to the 2008 season, but when he struggled down the stretch, the populace seemed to say goodbye and good riddance without much of a second thought.

    I also don�t understand why there seems to be such excitement about Cutler. Yes, he threw for over 4,500 yards last year, but that was in large part because he put the ball up a whopping 616 times. His 9.8 vertical YPA was lower than that of 19 other QBs last season, and his 4.6% bad decision rate (a bad decision being a mistake by the QB that leads to a turnover or a near turnover) was easily the worst of any QB. He was also the offensive leader for a team that blew a three-game division lead with three games to go.

    Another way to look at this is that Cutler�s overall record is 17-20 versus Orton�s overall record of 21-12 and Grossman�s 19-12. I know there are those who will defend this by saying that Cutler worked with a horrible defense last year, but when he took over the Broncos in 2006, they were less than a full season removed from hosting the AFC championship game.

    The only reason I can come up with as to why Bears fans are reacting like this is that the quarterback position has been such a headache for them over the years that they will do just about anything to make it go away. If that means ignoring Cutler�s shortcomings so that at least one off-season goes by without having to wonder if their quarterback�s play will measure up, they�ll do it just for the temporary peace of mind. I do admire that kind of team passion and loyalty, but I�d admire it a bit more if it were done by hoping that Cutler could improve his game rather than by backing his mixed bag of performance history.

    (You can follow KC Joyner on Facebook at or on Twitter at

  • Estes2SD

    This should be good.

    Kyle, please take some time and compare his stats against other great Purdue QB’s. (Brees’ and Bob Griese). He is right behind these two stand out QB’s that eventually flourished once they were put into a good system.


  • Dean


    Did you go to Purdue or something? What does his college stats have to do with how he’ll do in the Pro’s? Besides it’s not as if he is a rookie. We’ve seen what he can do, throw for about 160 yards a game and not make too many bonehead plays to let the defense win the game.


    Think this is a great idea. I too, am not happy that Cutler is gone, but my frustration is more that Kyle Orton was the best they could bring in to replace him. This might be the first time I plan to be glued to all the Preseason games.

  • Kyle

    Katch22 – while some comparisons are inevitable (and worthwhile to mention), my goal is to focus on Orton outside of comparisons to Cutler.

    I’ll have at least one post up a little later today after this work deadline.

  • DHB

    Regardless of how good or bad Orton really is, our personal perception of the situations and overall performance of our team will color our thoughts on the guy. That said…

    Orton comes in as some level of underdog this year. We all know he isn’t Elway Jr. and not the savior of our precious team, so does that help or hurt him in the fandom? I mean Cutler, Plumber, and to a lesser extent Grise were all seen as potential chosen ones, and were destroyed by us when they didn’t live up to that immaculate 7 image (who we panned in his day a bit too). So does he potentially benefit from our low expectations?

  • Ian Henson

    Oh boy! Haha, I’m cooking something up. We shall see.

  • kerry

    let the kool-aid flow! after a week of Kyle Orton talk, everyone except me will be convinced he is Peyton Manning and Tom Brady rolled into one.

    but i have a question and maybe someone can help me out with it, what does Kyle Ortons college stats have to do with him playing in the Pros?? because last i checked, this isnt Purdue, he has been in the Pros for a few years now. i dont remember anyone hollering for Orton to come here but now that he is here, he will suddenly turn into Drew Brees?? HAHAHAHAHA.

  • robtink242

    kerry i totally agree. they’re turning being optimsitic into imagination. Kyle Orton sucks and most he’ll be is an average QB. He will be an excellent game manager if not we replace him.

  • roshon2411


    Maybe we should compare Orton to the likes of Mark Herrmann, Jim Everett, Mike Phipps, or Billy Dicken. Notre Dame has had some impressive QB’s in the NFL. I think Ron Powlus is available.


    Please tell me you have some info on Orton that will change my mind. Right now, the only good numbers I’ve seen, is a seven game stretch to start the season.

  • Mr.East


    Check the video in the article with the numbers, it’s shows Orton has promise.


    Just because I said Orton shows promise doesn’t mean I think he’s Peyton Manning.

  • Kyle

    kerry and robtink,

    Why don’t you wait and see what we have to offer this week before declaring us blind kool-aid drinkers? I’m going to be fair; there are no blue-orange goggles here.

    After all, that *is* the point.

  • Mr.East



  • robtink242

    i have no choice and i will see whats to offer. but at the same time Orton isn’t gonna be a Brees, Manning, etc. understand me i want the best for the broncos but i have lack of confidence in Kyle Orton. I watched him play in Chi-town and i thought he sucked there along with rex grossman. they had a solid D and the best special teams in recent times. that contributed great to his win streak.

    But i do remember last year game against the Falcons and Orton failed to win a shoot out with a rookie. but hey lets be optimsitic i wish Orton the best.

  • flbronc

    for everyone who is pointing to the falcons game where orton failed to win… you all should be glad cutler is gone. he failed to win games here, most recently he got bailed out after throwing an interception in the end zone to the chargers. how about week seven, down by a td, and we cant put more than a three play drive together with six minutes to go- we punt and never touch the ball again. how about buffalo, we got the ball with three minutes left and he couldnt put it in the endzone for a td to tie the game. did i mention both of those were at home? how about failing to clinch the division with a three game lead with three games to go? Lets not get too down on orton for doing the same things cutler did.

    why do you get bashed here for being positive. i like orton, he’s a good qb. not the best by any means, but i have confidence in him. i think that he will be able to make the reads and throws he is asked to. fortunately the new offense isnt defined by bombs down field, otherwise we’d be in trouble. unfortunately by making those positive comments, i’ll be ridiculed as a ‘kool-aid drinker’ by many here.

    it’s fine to have your opinion, and it’s cool if it’s different than mine. you devalue yourself and this message board with constant negativity, and by blasting folks that aren’t as negative as yourself. good god, someone may disagree with you- be a big boy about it. i havent posted in a while because i am sick of the constant negativity of some. sure i think that we have some issues as a team, but sue me if i choose to think that the organization might be able to work them out, and that we just might find some success as a team.

  • Andpark

    Well done flbronc I was hoping to write something along those lines but I would have been far less eloquent and probably used curse words. Seems like on here and probably Broncos fans as a whole fall into two huge camps_

    1. Kyle Orton, not a savior but will do fine with an upgraded O line, WR’s and new RB’s to have a balanced attack on Offensive. Lets play a game and see what the kid can do.
    2. We should have never traded Favrean Cutler and now that we did we are the worst team in all of football. I like to go on fan sites and relentlessly bash the team I am supposedly a fan of. I know for a fact Orton sucks.

    Can we please, please play a game of Football soon?

    I think we will know pretty quick which side will be right. I for one am hoping it’s #1.

  • craig


    One Cutler beat Atlanta last year. Two, the game against San Diego he fumbled the ball didn’t throw a pick. But he was able to recover and throw and amazing TD and 2 pt conversion to Royal. I’m sure must will agree Orton doesn’t have the arm for either of those throws. Three, week seven was against New England, i assume you mean week six against jacksonville. Cutler didn’t have a great game, 21 for 37 192 yards with 2 td’s and 1 int, but Jacksonville held the ball for the last 5:46 of the game, didn’t really give Cutler much of a chance. Four, the Buffalo game Cutler threw for 359 yards, it was the defense fault for giving up 30 pts in three quarters and making Trent Edwards look like Joe Montana with 104.2 passer rating. And your last point of the three game lead, I agree Cutler didn’t play well, but was baby Jay to blame for the defense giving up 37+ pts the last three weeks? As much as I think Orton won’t even make it through a full season as the starter. He won’t be the reason this team does well or bad. It’s on the defense, that who’s to blame for last years collapse.

  • roshon2411


    Thanks, that video has made me a believer! I’ve never seen a QB look off a safety before. Kyle, you can cancel Neckbeard Week, i’m on the bandwagon.

  • robtink242

    thank you craig. i cant speak for the present but if we had the bears D. and there special teams along with their crapy recievers and that solid run game we make the playoffs. Kyle Orton has talent but not as much as Jay Cutler. Enough Cutler talk he isnt here anymore.

    I agree Craig, i dont know if Kyle Orton play’s out this entire season as well and i dont think Cris Sims is gonna run this ship as well. Who knows rookie Tom Bradstater might shock us with his mobility and strong arm in the preseason. or maybe they sign a promissing QB through out the preseason. Idk maybe just a thought.

  • Kelly in Carolina

    I’m a total kool-aid drinker! Sweet kool-aid tastes delicious compared to all the negativity that can give you cancer… I think Orton will be great. I’m optimistic in that way, and can’t wait to see the new offense and defense. After the first game or two I might come crashing back down to reality if we lose big. Cutler was a gunslinger for sure, but a reckless one at that, and a Taurus Sun sign, stubborn but lazy. Kyle Orton has five planets in Scorpio including his Sun sign and was born under the dark moon phase, so in a lot of ways he is a sleeper agent, a slow bloomer, and opposite of Cutler as Taurus is the opposite sign from Scorpio. I think for one, we’ll see more intensity out of Kyle and more secretive strategy. Where Cutler was like a charging Taurus bull (Ashmouga hit?), Orton will be like a sneaky snake that just strkes when he feels safe. He does have Jupiter conjunct the Sun in his chart, which is the equivalent of being blessed by Zeus in ancient Greek terms. His chart indicates that he needs a lot more time than the average guy to mature and come out of his shell, but that once he does, he will be a powerful force to reckon with. So watch for those moments in games of silent intensity. It’s going to be fun to see!

  • Kyle

    I feel 10x hippier after reading your comment, Kelly in CA. ;)

  • Rob Bronco

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – WHO CARES that Cutler is gone? He’s GONE. It’s not a democracy and we don’t get a vote. Orton can manage the game, and that’s what we need. We don’t need a superstar. Last time I looked, both Mannings only have 1 superbowl each. We need a guy who will remain composed and who knows how to win. Last time I checked, Orton had a better record than Cutler. He also has a better touchdown to interception ratio.

    As fans, there’s nothing wrong with drinking the kool-aid. After all, isn’t that what true fans do? We bleed blue and orange no matter who is leading the team. And on opening day when we take the field against the Bengals, I’m going to be sporting my jersey and I’ll be cheering for Orton and our team to kick ass!

  • Nicole

    Well, he’s yours to have and to hold…at least until the next one is found. Orton had a better record than Jay, yet again he had a better defense. It’s easy to throw that into the factor, but I don’t know of any team that would’ve given up 2 no#1 picks for Kyle. You wouldn’t have made that trade either a year ago. Say whatever you want about Jay and his so called non winning ways, but he had help in losing those games. Alot of people decided that it was all his fault, even though the logic is offenses get recognized…defenses win titles. It’ll be interesting to hear the comments when they shift in another direction because there will always be somebody else who’ll have to shoulder the blame. There’s a reason the bears happily gave you Kyle because if I were them I would’ve done the same thing because he didn’t mean that much to them.
    Like I’ve said before, been there…done that. Your hate for Jay will last all of one season because for all of us who have been down this road before there’s a reason why people were laughing. Welcome to the wonderful world of paying high priced salaries and hoping that it’ll work out. You may use 2-3 different qbs, but you’ll pay them all.There’s no pleasure in that because all it does is raise ticket prices.
    On the other hand, the broncos helped the bears solve their qb problems and they didn’t pay any attention to his record because his career is just getting started. Some of the best qbs had horrible stats at the beginning and ended in a blaze of glory. His 17-20 record doesn’t reflect on his future success. Fans are amazing, we praise athletes when they do well, but we turn on them when we don’t get what we want. He was a good qb in college and for the broncos, but this one incident has caused alot of people to decide that he’s no good. I believe in his talent and that he will continue to grow as a person. Jay has one thing going for him…he admitted his mistakes and said he would’ve done things alot differently. He’s one of the few that had the guts to own up to it instead of trying to pretend that they did nothing wrong. He won’t fail because people want him to…rather he’ll succeed because he wants to and no name calling can replace that. The only thing you’ll do is make him stronger.

  • roshon2411

    Well Rob,

    You might want to check again, because the last time I checked Orton’s 30 td’s to 27 ints is not better than 54 td’s and 37 picks. Your kool aid is laced. Guys like Marino, Fouts, would love to have the 1 SB the Mannings have, besides last i checked Brady has 3, Big Ben 2, Elway 2, Montana 4, Aikman 3, Bradshaw 4 and other superstars such as Young and Farve have won also. Yeah about once a decade a guy like Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson can win it all but they won because of an incredible defense. This isn’t the Orange Crush broncs. Be it Cutler or Orton, Simms, whomever, this team isn’t winning anytime until the defense can at least be mediocre.

  • broncoOC

    Guys and Gals,

    Lighten’ up on Orton, it’s not his fault he sucks. The wrath should be shared among McDaniels, Xanders, and mostly pointed at Bowlen. I’m just waiting for someone to tell me that Matt Millen was appointed the GM after last season.

  • guest

    “Kyle Orton. Denver Broncos quarterback. I didn’t think I’d ever say those words in the same sentence.”

    Actually, you still haven’t. Those are two sentences.

  • Kyle

    Haha guest! Nice catch. Subconsciously I guess I still can’t…


    If you are a true fan in my opinion you must drink the proverbial Kool-Aid. No body wants our team to suck this year and the fact is that if Orton doesn’t play well we will suck. I know people say their being real but be a real fan a give the guy a chance and get behind our Quarteback. I know everybody on this board wants the chance to tell all the haters out there “I told you” I told we could win without Cutler, I told you we could win with a young head coach, I told you McKids system is the bomb. So let’s get behind him and give a chance at least untill he starts playing some games. Some people nag more than my mother in-law.

    Cheers everybody and Kyle I’ll take a keg of your finest Kool-Aid

    Do your thang Orton and GO BRONX!!

  • bw53

    And to continue the grammarian despotism…

    “Kyle Orton. Denver Broncos quarterback. I didn’t think I’d ever say those words in the same sentence.”

    In fact it isn’t even a sentence, more like a fragment–no predicate. But hey! We’re here to debate football. Precision clearly isn’t a prerequisite!

  • Kyle

    I love it. Well, that was intentional. It sounds. Dramatic. (See?)

    But still lol love it.

  • Rob Bronco

    Nicole: It doesn’t matter how good Cutler is GOING to be. Fact is he didn’t win more than 50% of his games with the Broncos, and had a proverbial emotional meltdown with Shanny was fired. Cutler wanted out. Do you really think that some team is going to give up their superstar QB to get Cutler? No. Fact is, we were going to get a couple of first round picks and SOMEONE. It just happened to be Orton.
    Roshon: I understand where you’re coming from, but we know what we are getting with Orton. We know he’s not a franchise QB. We know our defense didn’t get much better this season, and that’s ultimately going to be our downfall.

    But my point is that all the bitching and complaining in the world isn’t going to change anything. Come Sunday, we either put our jerseys on and scream at the television in honor of our boys or we find another team. I live in San Diego and I have to hear every year how “The Bolts are going to win it all.” They have one hell of a QB, a hall of fame running back, a top 5 tight end, and a solid defense – and they’ve never won anything. They’ve dominated us the past few years, but on Superbowl Sunday their team is sitting at home like usual.

    I’m an Orange Crush guy. And when my team takes the field, no matter who the General is, I’m still going to cheer for them and boo the other team. Whether or not Orton can be successful here is still to be determined. But what we no longer have to worry about is having a franchise QB who badmouths the team and fans, and who isn’t giving it all because he wants out.

  • roshon2411


    I gotcha, and I will be wearing my Bronco jersey(hopefully, i running out of current player jersey) and cheering for this team. I’m not criticizing the team has much as I am the management. I think it was a pitiful off-season and I’m afraid Bowlen might be going cheap with this economy. Am I upset, that they traded Cutler, Yes. He improved every year. Even though he is not a Bronco, I stick up for him because i think he has be unfairly criticized. Did he act like a 25 year old spoiled brat yes. But I can’t criticize him, when i was doing worse things when i was 25. How can you believe, Cutler didn’t give it his all while he was here? This guy lost 35 pounds in one season for this team and didn’t make any excuses, even though this team failed to recognize what was going on. Diabetes is a horrible disease, and his first full season with actual control of it, he was a .500 QB and improving daily. I never heard him badmouth the team or fans before Denver listened to trade offers. Cutler was honest and wore his emotions on his sleeve. All QB’s are prima-donnas in some way. Don’t mistake my criticism as a lack of love for this team. Bitching and complaining accompanies most things I love.

  • Rob Bronco

    I’m not saying Cutler didn’t give it his all. What I’m saying is that once Cutler made the decision to leave, that was it. Had we not traded him, he would have been the disgruntled star of our team. We all thought it was painful having to endure the saga for only a few months. Imagine having to deal with that for an entire season?

    When Cutler was our QB, I backed him up through good times and bad. When he made mistakes, I gave him a lot of leeway because he was a young and talented QB, and he was still learning. But he’s not our QB anymore. So I can’t dwell on what would have happened. Was I pissed when it happened? Sure. But it’s water under the bridge. We’ve got a season to focus on, and at some point we’re going to have to move on. Cutler wanted out and he got his wish. It’s time for us to suck it up and move on.

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  • craig


    I don’t think Cutler would have been the cancer that you think. He said he would report to any mandatory practice/camp. Bowlen/McDaniels jump the gun by traded Cutler too early. Look at the Brandon Marshall situation. He’s missing mandatory camps but the Broncos haven’t pulled the trigger. From the yahoo article, it sounds as if he might actually play for this team. I don’t know how many times I’ve not be pleased with my wife, but just a little time and wounds can heal. That’s what it will take for the Cutler Saga to go by the wayside, a little time. But it’s not “water under the bridge” until at least a game as been played. If Orton leads this team to the playoffs and farther, it will be a big F.U. to Cutler. If Cutler leads the Bears to playoffs and farther, it will be a big F.U. to Bowlen and McDaniels.

  • Mike D.

    Orton is not going to be the answer for the Broncos it has just set us back another few years until we find another franchise QB. It’s not his fault he is just in a bad situation. My bigger problem is with McDaniels, here is a coach who has NEVER coached a game as an NFL head coach and his first move is to trade away one of the top 10 QB’s in the game before ever coaching him. Taking trade phone calls a few weeks into his job. But that just kicks it off, then the genius coach straight up trades away OUR #1 draft pick next year that insured us if we sucked at least we had a shot at another top 5 QB in the draft. But he doesn’t trade it for several picks or even another number 1, no he trades it for a second round player, and it wasn’t a big bruising DT or NG, not it is a short, slow DB, brilliant. Then he drafts at several positions we have no needs and doesn’t address the defensive needs we have. Oh and he also trades up for players that would have been in the position we were drafting in anyway. So I want a McDaniels watch instead of Orton, Orton is not to blame he will play as best he can and I will root him on. But if McDaniels is not the genius he thinks he is I think he will set us back a good ten years.

  • Darby

    Orton is a good QB who is very under valued. He will do great under McDaniels along with a good O line, Moreno in the backfield, and Marshall on the end.

  • SKO

    Hello Broncos fans, I must say that as a man whose run a Kyle Orton website for damn nigh two years now I’m fully behind the idea of a Kyle Orton Week. I also must say that as a Bears fan and a huge Orton supporter I’m still extremely excited for Jay Cutler the Chicago Bear, I think his mistakes are overrated and I think for a kid to have put up the numbers he has from day one and to continue to progress is impressive. That said, you’ll like what you’re getting in Kyle Orton if the team uses him right. The first seven games of last season were pretty good for Kyle before his ankle injury severely limited his mobility and seemed to hamper his accuracy as well. In a horizontal offense like McDaniel’s he can be a pretty efficient passer, and certainly a 3,000 yard 15-20 td season is quite reasonable. It’s pretty much apples to oranges to compare Cutler to Orton given their completely different skill set and I think Orton really is a better fit for McDaniel’s offense. I just think McDaniel was a bigger moron for not tailoring the offense to fit Cutler. Anywho, good luck to you all this season, the Broncos have always been one of my favorite AFC teams going back to my childhood mancrush on John Elway.