Broncos Fans: Why It’s Time to Get Over Tim Tebow and Show Kyle Orton Some Love

by on October 26th, 2014
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Denver Broncos fans can now be divided into two groups: Tebow supporters and Tebow haters. After the turmoil of the Josh McDaniels years, the aftermath can be summed up with a picture of the statuesque Tebow holding a clipboard on the sidelines. Raw, unpolished and unorthodox, the young QB has accomplished little in this football crazy town, and yet there can’t be a conversation about this year’s team without mentioning his name.

So if that’s the case, why do I like Kyle Orton so much?

Orton is the exact opposite of Tebow. He has virtually no college legacy coming out of Purdue. No one ever mentioned his name as a Heisman candidate. He wasn’t a first round draft pick. He didn’t overwhelm anyone with his arm strength. He doesn’t inspire legions of female fans. He’s never starred in a national commercial. He isn’t anyone’s poster boy. His jersey doesn’t rake in sales dollars.

If Tim Tebow is a filet mignon, Kyle Orton is the steak burrito at Taco Bell.

And yet, we’re all dining at Elway’s steakhouse this year, and a couple of months into Elway’s regime, it’s clear that the steak burrito will be the featured menu item.

And that makes this Broncos fan quite happy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Tebow hater. I hope he gets his chance, and I hope he does well. Listen, we’ve seen what a big, athletic quarterback can do in this league – see Roethlisberger, Ben. But Roethlisberger joined a tested and proven NFL winner with that tough Steeler defense coupled with that perennially smashmouth power running game. A young, unpolished qb could flourish in that situation, and to Roethlisberger’s credit, he has.

What’s Tebow got going for him? Denver’s defense and running game could best be described as rancid last year. Sure, injuries ripped through both units, but even the most die-hard of Bronco fans admit that there is nowhere to go but up from last year’s efforts.

No one probably suffered more this offseason than Tebow. A young qb needs reps and practice, guidance and schooling in the offseason. What did Tebow get? A lockout.

Also, Denver’s offensive line is really in year two of a major overhaul as well. Virtually every starter on the line is 24 years old. With Ryan Clady as the anchor at left tackle, this is a young group that will feature an untested rookie, Orlando Franklin, on the right tackle position. For most quarterbacks, this would be ok, since the experienced and talented Clady would have the blind side. But with lefty Tebow, rookie Franklin would have the qb’s back, and with Tebow’s well-documented slower reads and release, this could spell trouble all year long.

But enough about Tebow. Why Orton?

Well, if you’re a glass-half-full kind of Broncos fan, this season’s team could be a great sleeper pick in the AFC.

The defense has reloaded with a talented group of rookies including number two draft pick Von Miller whose explosive speed already has Broncos fans wondering if his pairing with Elvis Dumerville is the second coming of the Orange Crush defense. Throw in the return of Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins to teach and lead a secondary bolstered from this year’s draft, coupled with the addition of a defensive-minded coach in John Fox, and there is genuine reason for hope.

Even during the McDaniels years, no one really complained about the offense’s output, especially in the passing game. With Orton used to chucking the ball thirty plus times a game to the likes of Eddie Royal and pro-bowler Brandon Lloyd, these are veterans who have experience and timing together. Couple that with free agent running back Willis McGahee who was brought in to help a newly-buffed out Knowshon Moreno, and the running game looks to be much more of a threat than the joke that it was last year.

So with a rejuvenated defense, a re-tooled running game, a young offensive line, and a passing game that had both quantity and quality last year, the true Broncos fan has to ask, why not let the best players, play? Clearly, that best player is Orton.

His stats have ranged from adequate to damned impressive. His passes have been on target. He has the support of the locker room, if not the fans.

Let’s face it, the Broncos would probably be ecstatic with an 8-8 finish with their insanely tough schedule this year. But with the AFC West as a division that’s been San Diego and three other also-rans for years, there may be a chance to score an extra win or two beyond that and snag a playoff spot. That chance definitely won’t happen with a rookie at qb.

Plus, you just gotta like Orton’s scrappiness. He didn’t get petulant like Cutler. He went out there and just played better. He didn’t lobby the fans. He just played better. He didn’t berate his bosses on his Twitter feed. He just played better.

In a league of prima donnas and pretty boys, Orton’s a throwback to the strong, silent leader – a throwback who can throw with laser-like accuracy. Orton gets rid of the ball quickly. He scans his reads, makes his decision, fires his passes, and rarely costs his team with interceptions or sacks.

So in my book, Orton’s done everything I want my qb to do. And if Tebow’s paying attention, he’d probably admit that he can still learn a trick or two from watching the crafty veteran Orton – especially the just playing better part.

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