Why Kyle Orton Can Succeed in Denver

Matt KnowlesContributor IMay 8, 2009

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 12:  Quarterback Kyle Orton #18 of the Chicago Bears celebrates during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on October 12, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Since Kyle Orton is forever going to be compared to the quarterback he is taking over for in Denver, Jay Cutler, I thought it would be appropriate to compare their numbers from last season and try to decide how Orton would fair going into his first year with the Broncos.

Last year for the Bears (9-7), Orton played in 15 games compiling 18 Touchdowns, 12 picks, threw for almost 3,000 yards, a QB rating of 79.6, and completed 59 percent of his throws. Okay, admittedly those numbers are not outstanding but they are by no means horrible. 

When you look at these numbers, you need to keep a couple things in mind. 

First off his leading receiver in catches, was a rookie running back.  Taking nothing away from Matt Forte, who had an amazing rookie season, a quarterback's go to receiver should never have to be a rookie running back. 

Second, his leading receiver in yards was Devin Hester, who wasn't used as a receiver until his second season in the league (2007). Hester was converted from solely a kick/punt returner to wide out mainly because the Bears had no better options to run out there to catch balls. 

He improved last year as a receiver but by no means should be a number one receiver in any offense.

Jay Cutler on the other hand, was throwing to a Pro Bowl receiver in Brandon Marshall and rookie sensation Eddie Royal.  Not to mention tight end, Tony Scheffler, who caught over 600 yards and had 3 touchdowns.

Cutler's numbers: 25 touchdowns, 18 picks, over 4,500 yards, a QB rating of 86 and a completion percentage of 62.  Immediately, the only stat that is considerably better than Orton is the yards.

But you have to remember the Broncos' defense was constantly putting the offense in a position where Cutler had to pass, pass, pass.  Add in the fact that every Broncos running back that stepped on the field got hurt, its no wonder Cutler was able to pile up the yards.

For all these extra yards Cutler threw for, he only managed seven more touchdown passes than Orton.  In fact if you break down their numbers further, Cutler averaged a touchdown every 24 attempts.

Orton, every 26.  This tells us that if Orton were to throw as many attempts as Cutler, their numbers, touchdown to interception ratio, would have been very comparable.

And all this comes with Cutler throwing to SUBSTANTIALLY better receivers!  There is just simply no arguing that.  Cutler had a clear cut No. 1, a No. 2 and a decent tight end.  Orton was chucking the ball to a bunch of No. 3's and a couple good tight ends!

Now before all you Cutler fans jump all over me, I am not trying to take anything away from what Cutler accomplished last year.  He had a heck of a season throwing the ball and the defense put him in some really bad situations that he made the best of.

All I am saying is... 

If you're a Denver fan, you have to be excited to see what Orton can actually do when he has a real set of receivers around him.  You factor that in with the addition of Knowshon Moreno and a complete overhaul of the defense, I believe Orton is in a real position to succeed this season.