Now that John Fox is the head coach, I still doubt Tebow will get a shot at being the starter unless Orton gets traded or Tebow thoroughly outplays Orton if there was a training camp. Fox hates young quarterbacks. He doesn't trust them and tends to bury them as far down the depth chart as possible. Last year, he had Jimmy Clausen as the third string quarterback all training camp and the only reason Clausen was elevated to second string is because Hunter Cantwell, the second string starter, was cut. So while Clausen was historically terrible last year, he was the third string quarterback behind a guy who got cut nearly until the season began. One would think at the point Fox realized he would cut Cantwell or that Cantwell may not make the team he would elevate Clausen to second string to get him more snaps with the starters...but he didn't. There's the long background, along with Fox sticking with Jake Delhomme until Delhomme was essentially just handing the other team the ball, on why I think Orton will still have the starting job unless he gets traded, Broncos management forces Fox to make Tebow the starter or Tebow thoroughly outplays Orton in (if there is one) training camp.
Regardless of who the starter is, Woody Paige has a weird way of measuring Kyle Orton's performance last year. By "weird" I mean, completely ineffective, misleading and biased.
Here's the question that started the madness:
Why is everybody so hard on Kyle Orton? Last year, before he had a couple of bad games and got injured, he was right at the top of the league with Phillip Rivers in passing yards, and was on pace to break 5,000 yards for the year. I think if he had a good defense to play with, his stats would translate into more wins. Do you agree?
--Travis, Columbia, S.C.No Travis, Woody doesn't agree at all. Kyle Orton, who is a completely average quarterback for the record, is a really shitty defender. It is Orton's responsibility to pump up the defense and empower them with motivational words like Tebow does. So really, it is Orton's fault the Broncos defense stunk this year and his personal performance is misleading. It may look like he threw for a ton of yardage this year, but really he selfishly threw for all those yards because he wasn't playing good enough defense.
At this point, at least for me, it isn't a matter of Tebow v. Orton. It is a matter of Woody Paige continuously misjudging Kyle Orton's 2010 performance as reasoning for why Orton is not a "winner" or why he is so incredibly mediocre the only real solution is his immediate execution. So even though Tebow may end up being the starter, that's not what this is about (though see the reference to Jake Delhomme to Denver in that article? That's my Foxy right there). It is about Woody being unfair to the 2010 version of Kyle Orton.
Travis, Orton had a couple of bad games last year? What planet were you living on?
I live on Planet Earth, where Orton's worst two games of the season were the last two games he played. He wasn't great in two games before that, which pretty much shows proof of just how average he truly is.
The Broncos were 3-10 with Orton starting at quarterback. That's the truth.
I've said this before and I will say it again. Judging a quarterback by his record is just misleading since it takes the special teams and defensive factors out of the equation. Was Phillip Rivers average last year since his team went 8-8?
Here's some more "truth" for Woody. It's how many points the defense gave up in the 13 games that Orton started in 2010. That would be 376 points. That comes to 28.9 points per game the defense gave up with Orton starting. Clearly, he isn't either (a) a great defender or (b) a great motivator for the defense like Tebow or (c) it wasn't completely his fault the Broncos were a bad team.
McDaniels, right or wrong, said a quarterback should be judged on record, third downs and red zone.
So we are using a quote from the now-fired head coach as proof on what standards a quarterback should be judged? McDaniels may have sucked as a coach, but his sayings are freaking gold to Woody. Are there any other failed NFL head coaches Woody cares to quote in order to try and prove his point?
(By the way, McDaniels never liked Orton as his quarterback, no matter what you may hear or read. The Bears never liked Orton as their quarterback, no matter what you may hear or read.)
By the way, McDaniels got fired. So what he liked as a quarterback can be judged based on the fact he was fired from his position as head coach. He also traded for Kyle Orton AND Brady Quinn. Food for thought. The Bears did like Rex Grossman as their quarterback. How did he do for them? Woody fails to mention this little tidbit when trying to prove how the "smart" analysis of these two teams in not liking Orton was correct. I'm not sure if Woody should use McDaniels and the Bears opinion of Orton as proof they were right to not like him.
How many playoff games has Orton played in? None, last time I checked.
Tim Tebow has played in zero playoff games too! Clearly, this makes him a huge bum.
When he started as a rookie, the Bears pulled him right before they got to the playoffs.
What a great decision that was. How did that work out for them? Fantastic!
When the Bears pulled Orton for Grossman, Rex Grossman went 17-41 with a touchdown and an interception and a 54.5 rating. There's no guarantee Orton would have done any better of course, but it isn't like the alternative to Orton lit it up in the playoff game where Orton was pulled.
I dislike how Woody Paige ignores Orton went 10-5 as a starter in 2005 (He's a winner!) before the Bears pulled him before a playoff game in favor of Rex Grossman. So in summary, Woody uses a decision to pull Orton in 2005, that can easily be second-guessed, as further proof Orton was a bad quarterback in 2010. So far, the proof he have that Orton was bad in 2010 is the criteria a now-fired head coach uses and the fact the Bears pulled him from a playoff game in favor of a quarterback who gave a shit performance. Not very persuasive, especially considering under the "Woody-McDaniels criteria" of basing a quarterback on his team's win percentage Orton was a great quarterback in 2005, which makes his being pulled in the playoff game look inexplicable.
Of course in 2011 if Tebow goes 4-12 then his record won't show how much he really brought to the Broncos team because Tebow has intangibles.
Then, after his final year in Chicago, they wanted to get rid of him, and gave up everything but the Lake to the Broncos for Cutler.
Jay Cutler is a superior quarterback to Kyle Orton. The Bears wanted to upgrade and didn't think Orton was the guy. This still has very little with Orton's 2010 performance and how he was at fault for the Broncos winning only 3 games last year with him as the starter.
In fact, during his career Orton has had a winning record every single year he has been the starter...except for last year. So using the Woody-McDaniels criteria isn't he a winner?
Orton was at the top of the league, in passing yardage, and early was on pace to set some records, but how did that translate to victories?
Not very well. Probably because the Broncos defense stunk. There are three parts of a football team. Offensive, defense and special teams. If one part of the team stinks, it affects the entire team.
If he had played the last three games, the Broncos might have won one, Houston, but probably not.
There's no reasonable basis to say the Broncos would "probably not" have won the game against Houston. It's pure speculation.
Sure, give him a better defense, and he might win more games,
"Sure, if the Houston Astros had a better team they would win more games, but this doesn't mean Hunter Pence isn't a terrible baseball player because the Astros don't have many wins."
"Sure, if the Pirates had better players they may have made the playoffs since 1992, but this doesn't mean management hasn't done everything in its power to put a winner on the field."
So basically Woody admits his criticism of Orton is unfair when taken just on games won. So he has no valid point on this. Good to see him admit it.
but you've got to execute on third downs and the 20-yard line, so it doesn't really matter if your have the '86 Bears defense if you can't.
I am sure a lack of a running game (26th in the NFL) wouldn't have anything to do with this poor execution in the red zone? A team with little running back game that needs to throw the ball well to win can win games if the quarterback throwing the ball is of a Pro Bowl caliber. Kyle Orton isn't of Pro Bowl caliber. So giving Orton a running game would have been a great addition.
So I don't agree much, but I've made it clear: Orton is a very average quarterback. I repeat -- He's considered about the 18th-20th best starter in the league.
We can agree. Good.
After my meeting with Fox in his office, I came away, honestly, not knowing if Orton or Tebow will be the starter.
What did your Tebowner tell you? Only good things I'm sure.
Here's exactly what I think, based on my questions to him and my recent conversation with Elway, and everything I know:
Remember this is partly based on everything Woody knows. So it will be very short.
If the lockout isn't settled before the regular season starts, Orton will be the starter. Fox told me he must be a quarterback who can get away quick from under center.
(Trying not to bash John Fox's ability to analyze a quarterback) Yeah, when talking about the quarterback position, the first thing I would look for is a guy who can get away from the center quickly as well. I would prefer a quarterback who knows what the hell he is doing, gives a team the best chance to win and doesn't throw the ball to the other team.
Fox wants somebody who knows the system. Orton knows the system inside and out. Orton is a very good practice player, and he looked good in exhibitions last year. The Broncos threw about 60 percent of the time last year. Fox will throw about 45 percent of the time, so Orton can hand the ball off.
So it sure sounds like Fox knows who the starter will be, no? Tebow does need to start at a certain point of course.
In my experience, that's primarily what John Fox requires of a quarterback...the ability to hand the ball off. In that respect, both Tebow and Orton are qualified.
A lot of the players like and respect Orton. He can't get any worse than he was last year. So there's the Orton argument.
"He can't get any worse than he was last year?"
What an idiotic statement. Last year was, if you want to go with those stupid statistics, was the best year or second-best year Kyle Orton has ever had as an NFL starter. Of course his team only went 3-10 last year and he wasn't a winner unlike his 2005 year when he was a winner at 10-5. Let's compare his statistics to see how bad Orton was last year when his team went 3-10 with him as the starter and how great he was in 2005 when the Bears went 10-5 with him as the starter. We'll see if you as the reader can figure out why Orton was a winner in 2005 and a terrible loser in 2010.
2005: 51.6% completion percentage, 1869 yards, 9 TDs, 13 INTs, 59.7 rating. He was a winner then!
Now, let's see how terrible Orton was in 2010:
2010: 58.8% completion percentage, 3653 yards, 20 TDs, 9 INTs, 87.5 rating. What a bum!
Clearly, everyone can see how terrible Orton was last year compared to 2005. It is almost like there is another variable or two that would explain why when Orton was bad in 2005, his team won, and when he was good in 2010, his team lost. If there has ever been a reason to not judge a quarterback based simply on his team's record this is it. If anything, the Bears went 10-5 in 2005 despite Orton's performance at quarterback, yet in Woody's mind Orton had a great year because his team went 10-5. The Broncos went 3-10 last year despite Orton's pretty decent performance at quarterback. Of course, Woody thinks it can't get worse than what Orton did. I can't wait to compare Tebow's 2011 year, which will undoubtedly involve Woody Paige jumping giddily in the air at his performance compared with Orton's bad 2010 performance.
I have it marked down on my calendar to do a comparison in January 2012, along with Woody's reaction. I'm guessing Tebow will put up some similar, maybe slightly better numbers in a best-case scenario than Orton if he starts all year. This would be seen as a great year in the mind of Woody Paige.
Because Orton will not accept being the backup here — just won't happen — he would be traded.
Orton is definitely not a team player. Woody wants us to believe this. Also, we are taking the word of Woody Paige this is true when Paige has spent the past many, many paragraphs misjudging and misconstruing Orton's 2010 performance. He calls Orton's 2010 performance, which was one of the best of his career, saying it "can't get any worse than he was last year." We are supposed to believe him when he says Orton won't be a backup and indicates he isn't a team player (which is what he is trying to indicate in my opinion). Considering Woody spent part of last summer trying to convince us Orton wasn't a good teammate during the summer, then in October Woody retracted that and said Orton had been throwing with his receivers and practicing since the 2009 season ended. So God only knows what Woody's story about Orton in the locker room in 2010 will be in a couple of months.
Tebow, on the other hand, would accept being the backup for another year. He has no choice.
Tebow is a team player...because he has to be.
But Orton, as a backup, would be a negative force around the team.
I have no affiliation with the Broncos and I don't think necessarily Orton should be the starter this upcoming year (I said last year Tebow isn't ready to start for another year or two...so I can see him being ready this year), but doesn't it sound a bit like Woody has a problem or vendetta against Orton? He isn't fair in judging his performance and blames him for the team's record, which Woody ADMITS probably isn't fair. Isn't this what a sportswriter with an agenda sounds like?
People in Denver want a fresh start, with a coach, the team and the quarterback. And, as has been pointed out by me and everybody else, the Broncos need to find out if Tebow can play. What's the difference between 4-12 and 8-8 if Orton is starting? Nothing.
Four wins is the difference.
Same old, same old. But with Tebow, at 8-8 and the Broncos moving up, there would be hope for the people.
Orton is only going to be 29 years old this upcoming year. It isn't like he is ancient, so 8-8 under him would mean real progress on defense and in the running game...assuming Orton can keep up his offensive performance. So going 8-8 is progress and there would be hope no matter the quarterback. Of course Woody, as well as some Broncos fans, would rather see Tebow go 8-8 since that would indicate their franchise quarterback is growing into that role.
But, again, Fox isn't telling, and I think it's because he doesn't know for sure. I kept pestering him, saying, "but inside your mind, don't you really, really, kind of know who?"
How is Fox supposed to judge these players when he hasn't seen them on the field? Give Fox a break. Once Fox has a chance to see which quarterback hands the ball off better and gets from under center faster, which appear to be his main two criteria, then he can make a starting quarterback decision.
He said: "Deep down, I have an idea."
You figure that one out. I couldn't.I hate to break it to Woody, but that means it is Orton. Fox has more film on Orton from last year and the years before that to judge him upon. Fox is a naturally conservative coach and the conservative move is to put Orton in there. Still, I can't wait to see Woody spin it if Tebow gets the job and puts up a 6-10 season with worse numbers than Orton had in 2010. I am sure that would make Tebow a winner because he won two more games than Orton.
There's a reason the Broncos hired a defensive head coach who loves to run the ball. It's because the defense and running game were the problem last year. Relying on Orton to win games with his arm is a fool's game plan, there's no doubt about that, but he wasn't to blame for last year's Broncos record and he didn't have a terrible year like Woody wants us to believe.
By the way, Woody is obsessed with this quarterback competition or else he has nothing else to write about. He wrote an incredibly similar story to his response to this reader question on July 21.