Kyle Orton is horrible.
Yes, horrible. Not bad, not inadequate, not so-so, not less than average, no, no, no. The guy is horrible.
The first four games of the season confirmed it. He threw 6 interceptions, and 6 touchdowns. Only once did he eclipse 300 yards passing- for 304 against Oakland. Compare that to Drew Brees, who has thrown for over 300 yards all but one time. If you’re saying it’s unfair to compare Orton to Brees, then wake up, because Brees is the Saints’ franchise quarterback, and according to the Broncos and John Fox, Orton is their franchise quarterback. So, they’re both franchise QB’s, and it’s a fair comparison.
But he was just getting going through four games.
In his fifth game, he was simply blunderful, throwing for a fantastic 34 yards on 6 completions in 13 attempts. Yeah, that comes out to be (roughly) an extraordinary 2.5 yards per attempt. His 5 and 2/3 yards per completion was lower than a few other QB’s numbers on yards per attempt today. That’s how awful he was.
Then Fox throws in the towel, and called on Superman.
And what happened?
He didn’t start out to well, but he eventually did get going.
And what happened once he got revved up?
He nearly rescued the lifeless Broncos, bringing them all the way back from a 26-10 4th quarter deficit. Only when the tying two point conversion fell incomplete did the Chargers realize they actually had to start trying.
And even then, victory was no sure thing. Not after a completely idiotic unsportsmanlike conduct penalty allowed the dying San Diego drive to continue. Not after a field goal made it 29-24- with 18 seconds left.
Because Tebow still wasn’t done- leading them all the way down to the San Diego 29 before his last second desperation pass fell incomplete- a pass that never would have been thrown had Tebow not broken a trio of tackles, and a pass that sure wouldn’t have been attempted by Franchise Quarterback For The Future Kyle Orton. The Chargers would have made an Orton sacklunch on that play, provided he drives them that far, which of course he never would. Not just because he can’t, but, well, because he never would have led the Broncos roaring back from such a deficit.
Is Tebow Tom Brady? Is he a top 5 QB in the NFL? Of course not. But nobody starts out as one. They have to work their way up and get there. But frankly, Kyle Orton is not the guy to lead the sick franchise. Tebow is their long-term tonic, but what good is a remedy if you just keep it in your pocket and not swallow it? They have to keep injecting themselves with more Tebow, and in turn, Tebow has to work as hard as he can to improve his mechanics. The experience and NFL football intelligence will come with snaps in meaningful situations. So he must improve his mechanics in order to be better.
But what exactly are his problems?
Before I get to that, though, let’s first remember what he was at the University of Florida.
He was our quarterback, our fullback, our short yardage specialist, our head cheerleader, and, honestly, our fairy. He ran around the SEC like Cosmo and Wanda from Fairly OddParents, making big plays magically appear when he seemed to be running out of real estate. Whether that was by unloading a 25 yard strike off balance to a receiver that, to quote Nick Saban, “just wasn’t freakin OPEN” or by demonstrating his atomic stiff-arm bomb that would impress Bruce Lee, big plays would happen out of absolutely nowhere.
Of course, the SEC is by far the best conference in college football (that’s a debate for another day, but I am willing to take on all challengers in that argument), but the NFL is a whole different level. Tebow has to tone down his aggressiveness. Not cut it out, because changing who you are is a bad idea in the NFL, but do it in moderation. Attempting to run over Ray Lewis on a head to head collision would likely not end well for Tebow.
So what does he have to do?
Sorry to keep quoting TV shows, but it’s like that episode in Family Guy where Peter gets hammered out of his mind and crashes his car into a tree. Death (the character) appears and shows him two scenarios of his potential future: continuing to drink at the alarming rate that he does, (where he burns his wife and children with his cigar) and cutting out his drinking altogether (where he lines up his family and offers them a choice of high fives, handshakes, and hugs… in a very creepy manner). In both cases, Peter is appalled at the character he sees, and Death then solves his dilemma for him: moderation, Peter.
You see clear skies ahead of you on third and four? Take off. You’re running down the sidelines and the weakside linebacker readies himself to bodyslam you? Step out of bounds. You have a full head of steam and nearing the goal line and somebody’s trying to bring you down at the 2 yard line? Knock him unconscious with one of your bodyshots straight out of Street Fighter. You’re scrambling in the backfield with blocking breaking down and nobody open? Get as many positive yards going forward as you can, and take the sack instead of throwing the injured duck that gets converted into the pick 6.
He hasn’t really gone overboard yet, but I’m thinking that as his role, stats and national attention as an NFL QB increase, so will his confidence in himself, and he’ll start to think that he can do anything. Which can lead to a bad decision. That’s happened to plenty of QB’s before.
For example, on his hail mary prayer at the end of tonight’s game? He danced around in the backfield for how long? That’s fine. What if he kept dancing around? What if, instead of letting the ball go, he tried to get away from the guy bearing down on him from behind as well? He might have gotten a better throw. He also might have gotten smashed, picked off, or worse. He has to limit the open field hits he exposes himself to.
And then there are the mechanical issues.
On his second two point conversion attempt, he kind of awkwardly turned and threw an off balance pass in the corner of the end zone. That worked for him at Florida. It backfired here. He had enough time to set his feet, square his shoulders and throw a harder, crisper ball a little more accurately. And even if he didn’t, he should use that mobility to either buy some time or take off on a line plunge.
He doesn’t have a lot of issues running the ball, but then that comes behind throwing the ball. The issues need to be worked on.
But a little news flash? Kyle Orton is almost 29 years old, and has many of the same problems.
Tebow is 6 years younger with the same issues, plus uncoachable intensity, plus above average mobility (let’s hold off on the superlatives here for now), plus the ability to find ways to win… plus the ability to work at something until it’s fixed.
Maybe John Fox has indeed wised up. Let’s hope so, because making this switch permanently will have fans flooding the gates for games and the stadium sold out, except for haters, Jerry Jones and bimbos, and there are a few.
Haters, tell me this… what positive attribute have your possibly seen that Kyle Orton can bring to this team that Tebow does not?