Kyle Orton; First Test, The Grade is...

Sean BacaContributor IAugust 21, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 14: Quarterback Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos looks on against the San Francisco 49ers during the preseason game on August 14, 2009 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
QB: Kyle Orton: Three picks, enough said?
The only thing that was nice to see was the opening drive, but the drive was derailed by a pick in the end zone. He looked damn good early on with the spread offense, and even showed an arm strength that many doubted he had when he came to Denver.
He was decisive, even on the pick, but he guessed wrong, thinking the corner would bite underneath and leave Graham open. He didn't bite, and made the pick. It was a total misread on Orton's part because the pick play underneath had popped open, but Orton looked Hillis off and fired deep instead, a good play by the corner. Forgivable, no doubt.
The second pick, however, was not as easy to forgive. He had time, there was a bit of pressure, but a seasoned QB has to feel the rush and not react too quickly in the face of it. What he saw on the play is unknown because Dre Bly was all over the play. Yes, Broncos fans, Dre Bly was all over the play. His check down to the flats was open but he forced it instead, maybe trying to prove something after the poor scrimmage and the first pick in the end zone, who knows. 
The third pick was a case of "Peyton Manning" feet. Only Orton can't make the throws while doing a two step in the pocket. The Niners blitzed, but it was picked up and because Orton was jumpy, he didn't set and throw. He just winged it with nothing but arm. Another great play by the defense, but if Orton sets and throws, it's a 20 yard gain. Great read poor execution.
Twice, he didn't check down when he should have, and I think each time was a lack of confidence in his protection. He got beat up a lot in Chicago, so some happy feet would be expected, but it's not his first rodeo. More is expected out of a starting QB in the NFL.
Knowing where his check downs are will take time, so there is no reason to panic. The Bly pick was on him, but the other two were just a lack of trust in his teammates, that will come with time. Calm down and do your thing Kyle; believe in your line, and calm down.
Having happy feet is a hard habit to break, and time is not a luxury. Chris Simms looked very patient in the pocket so Orton will have to improve against the Seahawks or there will be a controversy brewing in Denver soon.
Grade F: Three INT's isn't going to cut it. He showed some sparks early on, but sparks only count when they create fire. Orton's sparks faded quickly, but it's only one test. He will have another shot Saturday, and hopefully we see a grinder, willing to take a shot to the mouth for his team.
The position's yours to lose, Kyle, plant your feet in the ground and take it!