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Published on 08/15/2009 at Sat Aug 15 16:36.
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49ers Broncos Football
(AP Photo/Marcio Sanchez)

Kyle Orton stunk it up when it counted last night and Chris Simms pushed through for a possible win. Even if it was a meaningless preseason game, nothing is meaningless when it comes to the Broncos quarterback situation. I will give credit where it’s due, Orton did a great job of managing the game on the team’s first offensive drive. As the CBS 4 broadcasters stated last night, the 49ers looked confused and bewildered on their defensive assignments. I am a believer in the McDaniel’s passing system converted for the orange and blue. However, when given the chance to go for jugular… the starting QB didn’t get the job done.

A near perfect opening series ends with zero points. Rather than hit an open Peyton Hillis on the goal line he forced a ball inaccurately to Daniel Graham. The defender had better positioning than our tight end for where this pass was headed. Later in the first half, on a 3rd and long Orton was given the tool to succeed by his coaches and wide outs. Where most teams would’ve gone for a shotgun draw delay, a dive over one of the guards, or a dump off to a half back we were going long to keep this drive alive. A great play was called freeing up a wide open Jabar Gaffney on a long post to the left sideline. Orton made the right read, just not the right throw. The ball didn’t have enough lift and was picked off for the third time of the half.

Chris Simms started off the second half with a drive that was eerily similar to number 8′s. Running his offense with precision except he was able to execute where Orton did not, hitting Putzier on drag route for six. Down by seven in the last three minutes Simms made an impressive rollout buying time to the left, his throwing side. He hits a wide open McKinley and the rest is history, another six. McDaniels made the smart call to go for two, take the win or the loss but don’t make your guys deal with overtime in a preseason game. Simms was not able to pull a Cutler a la 2008 Charger game last season, striking the dagger for the winning two, but his comeback was impressive nonetheless. Especially after many of our observations in training camp thus far.

Griese2Sitting there watching the closing minutes of last night’s game reminded me all too well of another Broncos preseason game with an a similar result. That result changed the tide of the team’s depth chart for years to come. 1999 preseason, the Broncos had just won their second Super Bowl and John Elway retired. Shanahan had given the starting job to Elway backup Bubby Brister. To quote Shannon Sharpe; Bubby had not “wrecked the Ferrari” the previous season so it was natural for him start the season as the starter. Brister started the preseason terrible, throwing one touchdown in 18 offensive possessions. Come the third game of preseason the Broncos faced off against a mediocre Cowboy team in Dallas. Denver’s offense looked atrocious, it was time to sit the starters down. In comes Brian Griese who wills the teams offense to score. It was the only spark the team had all game even though the Broncos still fell 22-12. That week Griese was named the team’s starter and they easily handled the 49ers 34-3 at home. We all know the tumultuous career Brian had in Denver afterwards, but the point is, these preseason games can be pivotal to the path of a team.

Does this mean McDaniels should name Simms the starter this week and it’s his job to lose moving forward? No. Does he deserve a shot to run the starting offense in a game situation this preseason to make his case as the #1? After last night’s performance, yes. You can be the greatest practice player in the world, if you can’t get it done in a game there is no point. Orton didn’t show the tenacity in game one to be the starter, Simms did. It is up to McDaniels to give each their cracks with the starters to prove their place before the team travels to Cincinnati.

  • Kevin

    I am trying not to panic right about now, after all it is preseason, but let me propose a scenario. I remeber that there were rumblings that the Broncos might take a run at Brady Quinn. Does anyone think its possible they could pull off a trade of Marshal and Orton for Quinn and a pick? I know the Browns have their own wide reciever issue but Marshall is better than Edwards has ever proven to be and Quinn is still a young talent. Just a thought.

  • http://Broncotalk.net Joe

    No way, we need Marshall. But I would like Quinn. Or tebow next year, but whatev. cutler should have thrown two picks tonight and chicagos offense looks weak. Do you guys think that jay misses Denver now just as much as Denver misses him? Just wonderin….

  • broncobobmeridian

    Watching the bears, baby J looked terrible….he was 5-10, had one int. and should of had 2 but the LB dropped it. His passere rating was 30

  • broncobobmeridian

    Joe- I bet Baby J misses his old front line!

  • Robert

    Great post Josh

  • postalmoose

    My god it was one game! It wasn’t even the second or third preseason game, it was the first game. And all this talk about Simms starting after one game is ridiculous. The way I remember it Shanny panicked and his move hurt the team chemistry because all the veterans who respected Brister were stunned by the move. Griese wasn’t anything that year or any after that. Who knows what Brister could have done as the starter. So is Simms the answer? Who knows! But why give up on Orton already. If this is Cutler with three picks would you panic. Except for yards passed and attempts Orton and Cutlers numbers are very similiar so we didn’t lose John Elway! And Simms did his damage against 2nd, 3rd and 4th teamers and in camp I saw a guy struggle against our own defense. Now if Orton is terrible again next week or week three preseason I could change my tune but not after one week or even two in my mind especially of he shows improvement and that is yet to be seen.

  • postalmoose

    Oh my god Hanie has better stats than Cutler who had a pitiful game. Bench Cutler and start Hanie!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol

  • postalmoose
  • http://Broncotalk.net Joe

    See jay is outstanding in our offense so let’s trade back orton for jay. Let’s just tell Chicago we were kidding about the whole thing. I bet jay misses our recievers and line and I bet orton is sick of getting critizised here in Denver. So let’s trade them for eachother and pretend it never happened. Lol

  • jbirchbronco

    Something funny I just saw on ESPN news. The commentator said going to commercial break, “After the break we will be taking a look at the player with the most jersey sales for this year (Cutler). After his performance tonight those people might be taking a closer look at their return policies.” LMAO!! I wonder if Baby Jay wishes he would have talked to Bowlen now.

  • Tom9798

    Chris Simms should start from here on out . . . period.

    He showed more poise and command the whole time he played . . . ended up 11-17 for 142 yards and two touchdowns with a QB rating of a gozillion . . . (actually something around 130) . . . .

    His first touchdown to Putzier was identical to the one Tom Brady threw in the Pat’s game . . . (just not as pretty) . . .

    His two-point play should have been a mirror . . . always a fade to the outside . . . never over the middle . . . too much traffic . . .

    Simms ended with 142 yds. But should have had 178 yds. . . . . we won’t discuss the passes that were dropped that should have been caught but weren’t because of the zip on the ball . . . and please no crap about the spin from a lefty . . .

    The receiver’s were used to the marshmallows that Orton was floating out there for anyone to catch . . .

    Orton looked like he read Cutler’s book, “Just throw it and someone will catch it.”

    People seem to forget that Simms played with a ruptured spleen and still almost had the Buc’s in the playoffs . . . .

    This guy was a steal! . . . and the obvious choice from here on out . . . . T

  • OC Bronco

    Postalmoose-
    You got it right. Benching Brister killed our season and began Shanahan’s downfall whether people realize it or not. Most importantly, as you stated it was the first fuking preseason game.

    THIS IS THE MOST COMPLEX OFFENSE in the league. McD has stated Orton understands it better than Simms but does anyone think either should really have it mastered? I don’t expect him to have a solid understanding of how to run the system until midseason.

    I’m not the biggest Orton fan and don’t know for sure if he is better than Simms but the booing, calling for Cutler back, calling McD’s judgment poor for starting Orton is making me sick to be a Bronco fan. It’s pathetic.

    Calm down and let’s see what happens over the next month or two.

  • wes

    Hey Cutler did fine he had no Forte no Greg Olsen and was pushin too much 4 the big play. If any of you thinks he misses Denver when he grew up a huge Bears fan your nuts. The guy has his dream job playin QB for his favorite team. Get over it Jay is a Bear for better or for worse and you have Orton and a Simms battle. All I know is that if you hated him being such a baby you wouldnt be missin him this much. Jay has no one breathing down his neck all he has to do is make it out of the preseason injury free and his first job here will be a sucsess. You all are digging for any little thing to justify this dumb move the Denver staff made and its sad. We have the 3rd largest market in the NFL in Chicago thats why Jersey sales are up for him oh yeah and not to mention hes a top caliber QB in the league. Urlachers 54 is the same way same with Olsen and Forte and Briggs all high too. I get it you miss him but he isnt coming back cause we dont trade probowlers in Chicago. Blame Bowlen and J McD for your state of the franchise Jay wasnt the one who started this shit about a trade . But I guess he finished it and thats why you cant do anything but bitch and moan about how you wish he was back.

  • anthony33

    tom9798

    i don’t disagree, Orton was bad, Simms was okay.

    Consider this: Orton ran primarily from the shotgun formation and was running what will be a very complex offense. Simms looked to be in a vanilla package under center with basic running plays. In addition, Simms was going against the #2 defense.

    Bottom line: Who knows. Waaaaaay too early to start making judgements.

    Did like that Chris Baker guy though. He moved 2-3 guys backward on every single snap. Nose tackle was actually the bright spot of the game for me, an unexpected surprise.

  • Gary

    I hope that Orton learns from the game. If he learns and doesn’t make the same mistake again, it will be an improvement over Cutler. Last year it seemed that Cutler threw the same pick over and over. Trying to force the ball in with his arm rather than just throw it away. I don’t miss Cutler at all. I am looking forward for next week to see if the Broncos can improve.

  • postalmoose

    Hey Wes you said it all, Cutler was pushing too much for the big play. It is one of his downfalls. That and his love for his own arm strength. And none of his bad passes had anything to do with Forte and Olsen being out. He just plain sucked, much like Orton. Both guys are in the same situation of getting to know thier teammates and schemes. I don’t miss Cutler at all.

  • postalmoose

    Hey Wes you said it all, Cutler was pushing too much for the big play. It is one of his downfalls. That and his love for his own arm strength. And none of his bad passes had anything to do with Forte and Olsen being out. He just plain sucked, much like Orton.

  • postalmoose

    Sorry for the duplicate comment fellas!

  • Referee

    “Blondie” gets my vote. Because we obtained Orton for our former starter is meaningless. McD stated that the depth chart is not set and anyone could move to #1. Simms performance in SF, at the very least, means that he deserves a chance to work with the #1 offense until it is taken away from him. What has Orton done to deserve #1? How they were brought to the organization is largely irrelevant now. This should always be a performance based decision. Let Simms start the first half in Seattle and Orton can have the second half and the second string. Fair is fair. You can’t reward poor performance. (You also can’t teach how NOT to throw the ball away. It takes vision, judgment and innate talent. Orton may not have all of those.)

    How about that McBean, eh? The defense deserves a “B” for game one.

  • Tom9798

    Anthony33 . . . . Larsen and Hillis were my bright spots of the game . . . I posted comments on other blogs . . . T

  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    Much like Referee said above, this basically is stating that Simms earned a chance to start at least one preseason game with his performance. Nothing more, nothing less. He should be given a chance to see if he can truly run the offense with the first team, not be anointed the starter. Orton has outplayed Simms in practice all through preseason, it’s not time to give up on him yet.

  • MatTheJew

    I think everyone knows its gonna be a very long season. I don’t want to go 8-8 and be in the middle of the draft. We all know that we are far from a threat. So I hate to say it, I would rather see us Go 1-15. The one win against the Giants ( I hate The G MEN) I live here in NY and remember 1986. My friends drove over my house in 86 after the Super Bowl and drove me nutz. Any way if we go 1-15 we will get a great pick in next years draft that can make a difference. I say it again, GET READY FOR A VERY LONG YEAR.. I’m a realest And don’t see anything to good for us this year with a new coach ( WHO I LIKE A LOT) and NO QB. HOLD ON MY FRIENDS WE HAVE TO SACRIFICE THIS YEAR FOR OUR FUTURE.

  • Pete

    Matt, I thought Jews were good with numbers? Apparently if we were talking money, you’d get the question right, but because we’re talking about draft picks, you failed miserably. lol If we go 1-15, SEATTLE will have a fantastic pick. If Chicago goes 1-15 WE WILL HAVE A FANTASTIC PICK.
    we traded our natural #1 to Seattle for Alphonso Smith. So how we do this season will have zero impact on our draft pick. We have Chicago’s #1 pick cause of the Cutler trade, so how the Bears do this year will determine where we pick in the draft.
    So please, root for the Broncos to do great and the Bears to suck the joint up!

  • JM

    “Kyle Orton stunk it up when it counted last night”

    Uh, we’re talking about the preseason here. Let’s not panic. Remember how the Broncos did in the preseason during the Super Bowl years?