Posted Thu Nov 12th by Monty
Woody Paige‘s latest column opines for a quarterback change, the long-time crutch of any fair weather football fan, and the most popular debate in sports. Unless you have a Peyton Manning on your team, the backup quarterback is always the team’s most popular player.
Until Monday night’s debacle, Kyle Orton was the talk of the town. One bad game later — ONE! — and Denver’s biggest sports columnist is calling for his head.
It makes me wonder if Woody had this article stashed away, waiting for Orton to falter so he could reiterate the opinion he gave in the offseason: Chris Simms should be the starter.
It also makes me wonder if Woody was disappointed it took Kyle this long.
Still, let us enter the madness that is Woody Paige, one of one-sided internal conversations and mudslinging and masterful spin-doctoring.
To give credence to his belief that Chris Simms should start in Washington, Paige transcribes a supposed conversation he had with a “large cheese at The Post.” Let’s see what this Cheddar had to say:
“Simms hasn’t played since early in the 2006 season.”
Good point, Mr. Cheese. It’s been three years since Simms saw real, meaningful game action. Woody’s response?
Orton only played three games in 2006-07 after being benched, following 15 starts in 2005, before the Bears went on to the Super Bowl. Simms has started 15 NFL games.
Now, Woody. Orton wasn’t playing or awhile, true, but he got the start after winning a quarterback competition in the 2008 offseason. Simms lost his quarterback battle. It also says nothing of the fact that Orton was preparing to play an NFL game against the world champs last week. Simms hasn’t had to deal with that type of pressure or preparation in three years.
“Simms is left-handed.”
So were Steve Young, Ken Stabler and Boomer Esiason, who took their teams to Super Bowls.
OTHER QUARTERBACKS WERE LEFT-HANDED TOO?! OMGWTFBBQ?!!?
I think what the Gouda was trying to say (and probably would have said if he wasn’t a figment of Woody’s imagination) is that moving to a left-handed quarterback affects a lot more than just the person calling plays, most especially the protection schemes. And it takes your most valuable offensive lineman, Ryan Clady, and neutralizes his most valuable asset: ability to protect the quarterback’s blindside.
With Ryan Harris reeling do you really want to trust Tyler Polumbus with that upmost responsibility?
Yeah, but Simms has a stronger arm.
Silence, imaginary argumenter! You cannot finish your imaginary sentence!
Orton’s lack of arm strength was revealed twice against Pittsburgh when he tried to make throws off his back foot and couldn’t get the ball to open receivers.
I know your head is already banging against your desk, just try not to split it open.
We. Do. Not. Like. It. When. Our. Quarterbacks. Throw. Off. Their. Back. Foots. Mmkay?
And, Simms can scramble better than Orton, who can’t get outside the rush, can’t run the quarterback draw and can’t throw back across his body.
Most of this is true, although again, that last point is not something you want from a quarterback.
Yes, the Broncos still have won six games — but he (Orton) is what he is — the 18th-best quarterback in the NFL.
Does Woody really think Simms is the 17th?
And Simms looked stronger in training camp than Orton, and better in the exhibition games (until he got hurt), and McDaniels thought so much of Simms he gave him more money to sign here than Orton makes.
Here come the downright lies, and my real reason for writing this article. Woody, you can be mistaken. Your logic can be foolish. That’s fine, it makes me laugh. But using your pedestal to deliberately deceive your audience is irresponsible.
“Simms looked stronger in training camp than Orton.” How do you know that, Woody Paige? You weren’t there. Okay, you were there for all of maybe two practices. Maybe two. And when you were there, you certainly weren’t scouting the football team, you were looking for scoop. That’s fine, you’ve earned that, you’re a great writer who’s been around a lot longer than I have.
But I was there for every session. I stood out there with my notepad, furiously scribbling notes, like I’m sure you have dozens of times before I came along, and noted repeatedly that Orton out-played Simms (and I didn’t come into training camp believing Orton should be the de facto starting QB, either).
Simms may have a stronger arm (he does). Simms may be more mobile outside the pocket (he is). But he’s wildly inaccurate, even on his best days. His throws sail high repeatedly. There were a few practices (emphasis on “few”) where Simms’ flashy plays stole the day, but more often than not, Orton outplayed Simms in camp. Period.
“…and better in the exhibition games (until he got hurt)…” In one exhibition game. Singular. Orton clearly outplayed him in preseason week two, the game Simms got hurt. He averaged 7.0 yards per attempt to Simms’ 6.3, threw two touchdowns to Simms’ zero, and one ill-advised left-handed interception that made Colorado roll its eyes more than pull its hair.
Your point is half right, but that’s it. In week one of the preseason, Simms clearly played better. But are we really going to make a switch at quarterback because of the first week of exhibition?
“…and McDaniels thought so much of Simms he gave him more money to sign here than Orton makes.” Call him a spin doctor, call him deceitful, Paige deliberately tries to trick the less knowledgeable with this one. McDaniels signed Simms to a very-decent backup contract nearly two months before Orton ever came to Denver. Paige knows this, but spins it anyway.
He also knows there are a plethora of Broncos outplaying their contracts and getting paid worse than some backpups/lesser stars on the team. Brandon Marshall. Elvis Dumervil. McDaniels takes each contract independently for what it is; I have my opinions about paying players up front and “locking them down,” but Paige and I and you know the way things work in Dove Valley. Paige is the only one trying to trick people with it.
Simms can’t play any more awfully than Orton on the first drive and in the first quarter at D.C.
Actually, he most certainly can. If Woody had bothered to watch them play in camp, he would come to the same conclusion.
And if he’s terrible, McDaniels can return to Orton at halftime.
He just wants Simms to have a shot. If it doesn’t work, fine, put Orton back into the starting lineup. My response to Paige: Move to Cleveland. You’ll have plenty of fun covering a certain football organization there.
You don’t make personnel changes just because something isn’t working. You need to have an answer, and since the trade deadline has come and gone, that answer needs to come from within. Only if you truly believe that a substitution will improve the team — short-term and long-term — do you make the switch.
That’s why I’m not even a fan of the Russ Hochstein move at left guard — something isn’t working there, to be certain, but Hochstein has been far from stellar.
And despite what Woody would have you believe, Simms is not better than Orton. He wasn’t better in training camp, he wasn’t better in preseason, and Orton hasn’t done near poorly enough to warrant this type of discussion.
There’s only one problem with this sensible solution: McDaniels, who traded a quarterback, won’t have the inner workings to do it.
“Sensible?” Try nonsensical. You don’t run football teams by throwing mud against the wall and hoping it sticks.
And you won’t convince me that part of Woody’s positioning isn’t the fact that Chris Simms is a great, great interview compared to Kyle Orton. He’s an engaging fellow who’s a joy to cover while Orton is a bit boring.
It takes more inner workings to stay the course than hit the panic switch. Making moves is easy. Making the right ones is why McDaniels gets paid the big bucks.
I’ll take McDaniels’ inner workings over Paige’s every time.
Paige: Give Chris Simms the start at QB vs. Redskins [Denver Post]