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Published on 10/26/2010 at Tue Oct 26 11:30.
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Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton (8) is sacked by Oakland Raiders linebacker Kamerion Wimbley (96) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Denver. (AP Photo/ Jack Dempsey)

Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton (8) is sacked by Oakland Raiders linebacker Kamerion Wimbley (96) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Denver. (AP Photo/ Jack Dempsey)

Going into the fourth quarter of Sunday’s spanking, courtesy of the Oakland Raiders, the Broncos were bitterly trailing 59-14.  With the ball sitting on the 10 yard line, Kyle Orton came trotting in with his head down, staring at his feet, along with his 10 broken and bleeding teammates.

With the game clearly out of reach, one would think that keeping your starting quarterback 100% healthy for next week’s showdown with the San Fransisco 49ers would be top priority.  So why did a sad and frustrated Kyle Orton take the field instead of Tim Tebow or Brady Quinn?  What would be the harm in letting Tebow take a few snaps and run the regular offense instead of his “swamp” package (you know…his 3 different running plays)?

After the game head coach Josh McDaniels was asked the same question:

“We were just trying to run our offense and I made a decision not to do that in that kind of a game.  That’s not really the time that I’d want him (Tebow) to get work anyways.”

Why not? Why allow you’re staring quarterback and arguable your best offensive player get hit 5 more times, sacked once more, and almost throw another interception?  What are you gaining?  Maybe it was the pride or the competitive nature in both Kyle Orton and Josh McDaniels.  Whatever it was, it certainly did not make any sense to me or the 20,000 or so remaining fans chanting for Tebow at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

Fans of the Denver Broncos look on during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 24, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Fans of the Denver Broncos look on during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 24, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Perhaps McDaniels did not want to admit defeat to himself or to the diehard loyal fans that watched all the way to the end.  Maybe he was challenging Orton to make a blow out appear more respectable by putting points up on the board.  Possibly he was being naive enough to say that he didn’t want to display everything that Tebow had to offer, instead save it for a time when he needs it.  Who knows.

Regardless of whatever was going though his head, when his team was losing by 45 points, McDaniels should have given the nod to Tebow. He should have walked up to Orton and told him that he needs to stay healthy, get ready for next week, and put this out of his memory bank.

Part of being the Head Coach of a professional football team is knowing when to and when not to take risks.  By leaving Orton in on Sunday he took an unnecessary risk that didn’t have any effect on the game (zero points in the 4th quarter).   The last thing that the Denver Broncos need right now is another injured player. Especially if it is their starting Quarterback.

What do you think Broncos Fans?  Was Josh McDaniels right to leave Kyle Orton in?  Should Tebow have taken any snaps?

  • Roy

    I don't tthink McD wanted to do it for a couple of reasons. 1st, even though the game was out of reacdh, he would be admitting defeat, instead of at least fighting to save face. 2nd, why would he risk hurting Tebow in garbage time? Third, why would he want to give future opponents a look at how Tebow has progressed in a game that was already out of reach?

  • Jackfnburton

    The question isn't why not, it is why? Why stick in Tebow in garbage time when he's still learning the playbook and the Raiders are going to blitz someone on every play? I agree with the coach that it wasn't the right time. There's really little benefit in it.

  • TT15Superman

    Garbage time when YOU are ahead: YES
    Garbage time when YOU are behind: NO

    Plus, it was punishment for ALL the starters. Other 2nd string did not go in either (eg, Moss).

  • denverfanindallas

    I wanted to see Tebow, but not in the 4th. Maybe at the start of the 3rd. Let him throw the ball down the field to some great receivers… but once the 4th rolled around i wanted Orton to have to own it. I'm not for cuddling a rookie, but Kyle got them into the mess, why should Tebow have to go out and hear the boos. Those were Kyle's boos, he earned them.

    moving fwd, although the loss sucked, KC will soon realize who they are, Oakland makes a lot of mistakes, and San Diego can't get out of their own way. So, we laid an egg. Players can either roll over and use it as an excuse to give up, or they can use that motivation to get pissed off and go with the division.

  • AtomicLeo

    He should have sent Tebow in. Orton is Bronco MVP. He goes down we are looking at a 4-5 win season. Why risk injury to the keystone to the offense? I think he didn't insert him and I think it's the same reason he hasn't thrown a pass in the NFL yet is: Tebow is not ready to be a passing QB and he is miles away from being ready this season. As long as Tebow is on the bench, the fans and Bowlen are kept on edge hoping that Tebow will ride in and save the franchise. Of course this little game only last this season and only if Orton continues to put up big passing yards.

  • Navigator322

    Because Tim is his “give me another year to develop my QB even though we are losing” card. If runs Tebow out there and he can't play McDaniels has nothing… He is banking he can suck this year and promise he is getting Tebow ready and Pat Bowlen will give the “QB Guru” a year or with Tebow and keep him from getting fired. He won't let Tim throw the football this season… He is using Tebow and his “potential” to insulate himself…

  • DB

    I think it was punishment for the starters…you got us into this mess now you live with it. I also think he doesn't want a QB controversy on his hands on top of everything he's dealing with right now.

  • Annie

    McD is using Tebow as a human shield; no way he is going to play that card yet. He may be stupid but he's not a fool. As for the rest of the team, McD knows they hate him and keeping the first string on the field is the equivalent of a sticking a finger in their eye. He is the boss and you had better not forget it no matter what the cost. Arrogant pr!ck.

  • JerGad

    Because Tebow stinks. I doubt he's going to bring the team back running the option.

  • Ewelch

    Tebow would not only throw for the yards, but he would win the games. Orton can pile up some stats, but Tim is a winner at every level. Maybe they are giving up on this season, but if the Broncos want to have a chance to make the playoffs, then Tebow's role will have to dramatically increase quickly. Yards are fine, but Tebow will get the team in the endzone often, and that is what it will take to actually win the games.

  • ap

    I admire your passion and Tim IS a winner at every level. However, Tim's talent has not been tested at this level of play and his role cannot be rushed unless you want to see him crushed. We cannot use him as a sacrifice just because we stink.

  • Johnjoda

    He needed to protect Orton and Moreno! Neither one of them should have been in there at the end.

    Tebow….it was not about Tebow….he could have handed it off 2 of three times…(get the clock running)

    Moreno has been by far the most effective back this season. I think he was in there to pad some stats…for the rushing column….

    McD was as desperate and lost as any of his players. He is missing the bigger picture. It is similar to taking a sack rather than throwing a pick. Save it for another day.

    He seemed to be protect Tebow over Orton. It says bad things to the whole team.

  • anthony33

    Bradford has been the starter from day 1 in St Louis and is doing farily well. And he didn't even play his last year at Oklahoma.

    Colt McCoy has played and is now starting for Cleveland.

    Josh Freeman play a lot last year for Tampa and is now the starter.

    Mathew Stafford started from day 1 with Detroit (I believe) and was doing quite well until injured early this year.

    Jimmy Claussen has played and started for Carolina… not so good.

    So… either Tebow has no clue and Jerry Jones was right or McDaniels is holding him back for whatever reason only God knows.

  • RayGraves

    Tebow needs to return his bonus money to Bowlen and get as far away that nut-case McD as possible. There is abosolutely no justification for keeping Orton in the game after the Raiders scored their first TD in the 3rd quarter. If he only knows 30% of the playbook then run those plays. How is he going to learn anything. Tebow is not like most NFL quarterbacks with bodies and psyches fragile as a crystal vase. Let the boy play!

  • MeOMy

    McD has been a winner at every level… except as a head coach.

  • secondguesser

    You people are hilarious! It's football people. There's one thing for sure and that's Tebow IS one hell of a football player. Don't give me the crap about how this is a different level. So what! I'd sayTim is on a different level than most players. When he gets his chance there's gonna be a lot of people with egg on their face.

  • areferee

    Conventional wisdom dictates and a poll of the 32 NFL coaches would surely reveal, at nearly 31-1, that when there is a 45 point differential in the game, you protect your starting quarterback and bring in a reserve. End of story. Anything less is sheer lunacy.

  • kerry

    um Tim hasnt won shit in the NFL so no he isnt a winner at every level.

  • kerry

    why didnt McD put Tebow in?? thats easy…BECAUSE MCD IS AN IDIOT!! DUH!!! would we have won the game wioth Tebow in? absolutely not. but would it have given tim valuable reps as a QB. YES!! but yet again when we think cant be a bigger idiot, he rises to the occasion. oh and by thw way people, Moreno is a bum too. a whole 53 yards rushing against a lousy defense. yeah brilliant Running back there.

    i mean lets do a little recap of how well Josh drafts shall we:

    Moreno: bum and hasnt even gotten a 100 yard game yet and probably never will. Bust

    Ayers: a bigger Jarvis Moss. BUST.

    Alphonso Smith: traded to detroit for a TE whos name i cant even spell.

    McBath. always injured

    Richard Quinn. who is he??

    David Bruton: Who?

    Kenny McKinley RIP.

    Seth Olsen, Cu6t already

    Blake Schluter. cut and didnt even take a single rep at center.

    Demaryius Thomas, gonna make us forget Marshall!!!?? HAHAHAHAHAHA

    Tebow, who the hell knows? we probably will never know because MCD is such a genius right? PPFFTTT.

    Zane Beadles? Horrible blocker.

    JD Walton. probably the best pick in the McD era.

    Perrish Cox. the second best pick of the MCD Era. could be good eventually. well that is unless McD trades him to another team for a 7th round TE.

    Eric Decker, hasnt gotten any time. so probably cant figure out the play book. yet for some reason the raiders figured it out Sunday.

    Eric Olsen……….yeah thats the sound of Crickets.

    Sydquan Thompson, um ok.

    Jamie Kirlew…..yeah more crickets.

    so does anyone else see something different here? because i see a bunch of overhyped draft picks that have done nothing at all.

  • Jerry

    You probably stink too!! You don't know what he has until you use him. He has gator blood. See what color gator blood is.

  • DB

    How's that Raider jacket fit Kerry??

  • LevonZevon

    McDaniels is a scared little tyrant too afraid to take a chance on anything. Throwing long; blitzing; acquiring a TE who can catch to test the seam; putting in Tebow to get reps. Etc.. etc…

    He needs to go but Bowlen's ego is even more unjustifably high than Josh's (and all Pat knows is to do the opposite of Al Davis).

    He brought in a cheaper version of Mike Shanahan and refused to let a defensive-minded coach like the Ryan brothers take over (since they aren't conservative company-men).

    No wonder we get blown-out at home. We give the fans nothing to cheer about and play to limit damage instead of playing to cause it.

    We switch to a 3-4– which enables easier zone-blitz disguising– but McDaniels acts like his 6-0 start proves an unrivaled offensive acumen (where games must be decided).

    But even 4-3 teams like the Giants don't try to disprove the skeptics and follow a simple and consistent formula (like the two Pennsylvania teams have).

    Its called rushing the passer and playing physical attacking football. Yes, its not as original as using two blocking TE's (unlike every other coach in the league).

    But its about winning, not proving you're the genius (and everyone else is beneath you). The Eagles and Giants rush the passer and replenish the cupboards by always adding pass-rushers (year in and year out.. regardless of roster status).

    Jerry Reese doesn't care that he's following George Young's template that the previous GM Ernie Acorsi also used. That's because it works and he only needs to keep bringing in defensive linemen to attack the other QB and force mistakes.

    The worst thing for Denver was Sanchez's unforced INT's (since it bolstered Josh's Shanahan-like belief that making opponents score in 7-10 plays increases the chance for unforced errors). So we retreat and keep everything in front of us (even on 3rd-and-8 when the CB's give a 9-yard buffer-zone).

    Its like playing touch-football in the street after school when you know that the guy in front of the QB doesn't have to count to 7 Mississippi. Of course, you'll be ball-hawking and looking for INT's (since you know the pass is coming out much quicker than usual).

    A blitz may be beaten by the opponent and scored on in one play. But it also can create turnovers and shift momentum. And if you can't supply pressure with the normal three-or-four-man rush, you have no alternative but to supplement it (otherwise teams know they have 5-6 seconds and can use the entire playbook.. unlike Kyle Orton's abbreviated choices of passes that get released in under 3.2 seconds).

    The Giants have knocked out opposing QB's four times this year. The Broncos haven't knocked out 4 QB's all decade. The Jets, Eagles, Ravens, Steelers and Giants all play in a way that prioritizes pressure over coverage (and when it doesn't work, they stick with it anyway like an NBA jump-shooter with a short-memory).

    But Josh will never succeed here if we blitz DJ up-the-middle once every two games at most. And he will never get defenses playing honest unless he tests them down the deep seam (even with jump-balls to large and physical targets like Demaryius and Decker).

    But Josh doesn't want to call any plays that aren't based on out-thinking an opponent. So, instead of coaching players to overload a side in two-man blitzes that leave an Offensive Linemen basically blocking air, he wastes hours on his endless playbook and fails to remind Demaryius to cradle the ball against his chest on kickoff returns (that Cassius Vaughn or Syd'quan Thompson should be handling anyway).

    He'll never change and the 49ers backup QB's errors will only convince him that a few more opportunities is all he needs to turn around his luck.

    No wonder the players are dispirited. They never get to attack. The big uglies never get to drop into coverage on zone-blitzes. And superior tacklers like Champ Bailey never get to approach Ronde Barber's career mark of 35 INT's and 25 sacks (which Champ could easily have achieved if he ever played with a pass-rush or was allowed to attack or jump shallow routes in front of him).

    We should hire Rob Ryan or a defensive-minded head-coach (since Bowlen is too cheap to hire the Carolina-bound Cowher, and wants to be credited with bringing in an unknown).

    But Cowher would be perfect for Denver and his deserved players-coach reputation would influence guys like Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard to sign with Denver (instead of turning down the extra money Bowlen offered in favor of playing where they can be unleashed to roam and attack).

    The Browns used the Nolan-designed Amoeba-formation against the Saints this week (which worked great for us against the Giants last year). And it worked brilliantly disguising everyone but Shawn Rogers (who was the only lineman who began plays with his hands on the ground).

    Like the run-blitz, however, McDaniels can't use anything that Nolan rolled-out. Just like he never threw to Scheffler in the first-half when he was here (and just like he ignored Peyton Hillis and discarded Ryan Torain like a used piece of toilet-paper). Just like he kept Jarvis Moss but discarded the much-better Tim Crowder (who is playing great for Tampa Bay).

    And its always the players fault and never his schemes. No, he'll never say those words aloud. But these trivial and constant roster-moves convey the message nonetheless.

    That's why the offensive-line changes every week, even though injuries no longer necessitate it. That's why Diryal Briggs comes in and out. Then LeKevin Smith. Then, Beadles replaces Harris. Then Hochstein replaces Walton. Etc. etc…

    And all so he can claim to Bowlen that the same line didn't play more than a game together (so he needs another year to prove that his 6-0 start was no mirage).

    Which is also why he won't allow Tebow to unveil more than one move every week (despite the obvious fact that laterals and passes would make his arsenal of moves less predictable and more effective). Which is why it was so humiliating when Rex Ryan basically dared McDaniels to pass to an uncovered Orton when Tebow came in on our 2nd-to-last drive vs the visiting Jets. He had already stolen Josh's lunch-money with run-blitzes that penetrated the Broncos O-line, stunts and overloaded five-men blitzes that left Hochstein or Walton with no one to block. But then he basically dared Josh to let Tebow throw to Orton, when all we needed was five yards to continue the drive that could've eaten up more of the clock (and possibly scored a TD).

    Rex Ryan knew that Tebow hadn't probably practiced throwing the ball to Orton yet. So why waste a defender on Orton along the right sideline? As Annie and Anthony alluded, its because McD wants to postpone Tebow's unveiling for his own job-security reasons (which is probably why he also wanted a coach who could replace him, like Nolan, gone). Which is awfully similar to how Shanahan refused to hire top-flight defensive-coordinators he couldn't use like so many puppets (to take the fall after starting every year promising to be more aggressive).

    This is intolerable (as we shouldn't have to battle our own coach's ego when trying to do whatever it takes to win the game). And, like Shanahan's refusal to switch to a 3-4 until he left Denver– so he wouldn't have to admit that the genius made a decade-long error– we can't continue with a coach who's more concerned with proving a point than winning the game.

    After all, Brandon Lloyd must have been dazzling in practice all last year (and the only WR, besides Marshall, who could fight for jump-balls with his leaping and superior body-control). But Gaffney knew the playbook better, so McDaniels kept Lloyd on the bench gathering splinters.

    And that ego-burnishing 6-0 start was mostly due to a dink-and-dunk, low-risk attack that took advantage of how other higher-risk offenses usually take a few weeks to round into form. When they do, they have a number of threats to keep defenses from rolling their coverages up by cheating their Safeties close to the line.

    But McDaniels refuses to do the only tactics that can counteract that. Which is high arcing passes to the deep middle, middle-screens and TE seam patterns (that he didn't run to Scheffler even when he was here in '09) That, and long passes to Lloyd at least once a quarter, will open up the 17-yard back-shoulder sliding catches that teams have taken away from Lloyd.

    And that's because they know not to worry about double-moves (despite the fact that TD's and long P.I. penalties have resulted in the 5-of-6 times we tried this Al Davis-like bomb tactic to #84).

    Unlike Bowlen, Davis also spends money on his defensive lineman (see Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour). Denver, however, treats the defensive-line as nothing more than cheap blocker-occupiers.

    Which would be fine if we used the linebackers to attack the line and penetrate the pocket. But we blitz DJ up the A-gap between 5-6 times all season long (and it usually works near every time).

    Like Shanahan, McDaniels probably thinks that it only works due to the infrequency of its usage. But if Bowlen would simply tell Josh:

    “What do you have to lose, besides your job, if you simply use five pass-rushers 6 times every game?”

    Even that small uptick would make a huge difference (as it did at San Diego in 2009 with multiple A-gap blitzers Woodyard and Williams and as it did for Shanahan in the blitz-inspired upset of the Steelers 2 or 3 years ago when we shocked the Steelers by rushing 5 defenders nearly 10 times).

    It all comes down to guts and to a commitment to attacking football (even when it occasionally misfires). The Eagles, Giants, Steelers, Ravens and Jets believe in this (and players are happy to join them since they know that they can do more than retreat and keep stuff in front of them).

    Its also the reason why we get injured more often, since bodies retreating instead of attacking usually get more damage.

  • Choco

    What you are missing is that the ONLY reason Orton is even here is to protect the investment that is Tebow. Tebow is maybe the most unique drafted player ever. He's not being held out because of a lack of talent or playing ability. He's being held out because if he was to have a crap game like any other rookie he would get crucified. In that Oakland game it was more important to protect Tebow than Orton. The only reason Orton is here is to protect Tebow.

  • anthony33

    Well said.

    I like Cowher and Gruden, who are often mentioned, but never thought about Rob Ryan. If he is ANYTHING like his brother… add him to the list.

    I am a die hard Broncos fan and have been since the day they drafted a guy by the name of Floyd Little, so it pains me to say what I am about to say… if losing Sunday speeds up the process of firing McD, then so be it. I don't think I have ever thought that way before, but losing 59-14 to the piss-ant raiders was the last straw.