Posted Tue Sep 6th by Monty
Kyle Orton – One Last Chance to Take the Next Step
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“Kyle Orton is a game manager. He has been his whole career, whether it was in Chicago or Denver. He won’t lose the game for you, but he won’t win it either.”
You’ve heard such descriptions countless times before. In large part, they ring true. Given the proper tools (a defense and a running game), Kyle Orton excels at being an NFL quarterback. Without them, he struggles. He isn’t the type of player to elevate those around him; he needs the supporting cast to thrive.
But he’s capable of more. He’s shown hints of more. In his first season as Broncos starter, 2009, Orton showed flashes of brilliance in the first half of the season. He single-handedly dissected the New Englands Patriots defense to drive the offense down the field twice in the closing minutes of the game — once to tie it, and again in overtime to win it. Josh McDaniels’ famous sideline fist pumps never happen if Orton doesn’t deliver a flurry of game-ending clutch throws.
Orton was in the MVP conversation that year before the 6-0 Broncos’ defense collapsed, Orton struggled, and the team finished 2-8 down the stretch. Then, again, Orton put together impressive stats early in 2010. They didn’t often result in a notch in the win column, but he tallied stats nonetheless. He can put together an impressive single-game performance.
What’s left for him to put together is an impressive season.
Every year in Orton’s career, either due to injury, benching, or something unexplainable, Orton’s performances fall apart as his team heads into November and December. Orton has proven to be a reliable option through October; all bets are off come November.
That’s the key for Orton in 2011. Put together a full 16-game slate of solid performances, mixed with stellar ones. Take the next step from “Top 16 Quarterback” in the NFL to “Top 8.”
I believe he’s capable. I’ve seen enough to believe he can stand in the pocket and deliver accurate throws to this group of receivers.
Entering the last year of his contract in Denver, and with Tim Tebow waiting in the wings, this is Kyle Orton’s last chance to reward that belief. It’s time to take the next step for the Broncos. Very likely, it’s also the last chance for his career.
The Broncos haven’t committed to any quarterback in 2012. Orton has said he likes it here and would like to stay.
A 10-game extension of his first-six-game performance in 2009 would do the trick.
Now let’s look at Orton’s supporting cast, the Denver Broncos offense.