Kyle Orton: The Consummate Winner
In the NFL's world of today, the quarterback is basically the President of the United States. Everyone knows him, no one knows the people around him, and they blame him no matter whose fault it really was.
What's interesting about that is that Kyle Orton is a starting quarterback that no one talks about. Some people would rather have Vince Young on their fantasy team than Kyle Orton, even though he is a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Kyle Orton does not have a bazooka for an arm, he was a fourth-round draft choice out of Purdue, he was benched the entire 2006 season in favor of Rex Grossman, and the Bears went to the Super Bowl without him.
Orton has never reached 3,000 yards passing in a season, his rookie year was spent handing off the ball to very able running backs, and his career individual stats are unimpressive, so he is not what one would want if they needed to get a starting quarterback in the NFL.
There is just one little thing wrong with that though. He wins.
This guy is 27-12 as a starter in the National Football League. He has never had as losing season as a quarterback.
- 2005: 10-5
- 2007: 2-1
- 2008: 9-6
- 2009: 6-0 so far.
It is amazing to see his critics talk about how he's not effective enough or how the odds against him are daunting, but he shuts them up every time.
Yeah, he's had a chunk of help. The Bears were a very good running team in 2005 with the number one defense, but he still was a rookie, with Muhsin Muhammad as a No. 1 wide receiver, and Justin Gage as the second guy.
No offense, but the words "double coverage" doesn't apply to those two guys. They have never applied to those two guys.
What is a rookie going to do without any big threats at wide receiver? Peyton Manning had Marvin Harrison, Troy Aikman had Michael Irvin, Matt Stafford has Calvin Johnson.
Despite all the negatives, he was the quarterback under center for a winning team. He didn't screw it up. He kept the season going as an unselfish player.
Again, he was benched by the Bears for the 2006 season, and in the 2007 season, when the Bears had no chance to make playoffs and both Rex Grossman and Brian Griese were sidelined with injuries; Kyle Orton makes his start.
This is where I come in. I was watching the Packers play the Bears for the second time that season. The Bears had beaten the Packers in the final seconds before, and the Packers were 12-2 at the time.
I'm watching Orton and I'm just amazed at how much of an improvement he is. I'm watching his footwork, his sense of the defense, his throws, and especially his decisions.
The Bears' defense and special teams dominated, yes, but they had the will to keep going because Orton never gave the game away. Orton even put Green Bay in the hot seat with his sole touchdown pass to Desmond Clark.
He had a line of 9/15 for 104 yards and a touchdown, but Orton was not intercepted or sacked. He threw the ball away instead of risking it. He handed off and he just led by example.
The Bears destroyed the Packers 35-7 and I said, "That's going to be the Bears new starting quarterback."
He goes 9-6 with a defense that slumped to 16th overall and no receivers except Devin Hester, who dropped a lot of balls.
The guy may have looked like a product of a team, but as he matured, he became more of a focal point for that team. There were games that you could say he was the X-factor.
However, he never had a real chance to show even more improvement because due to horrific miscommunications by Jay Cutler and new head coach Josh McDaniels, he was traded to the Denver Broncos with first round picks from 2009 and 2010, and a third pick in 2009 for Jay Cutler, who was a franchise quarterback for the Denver Broncos.
Everyone, including me, thought that Denver was sunk for the 2009 season. It wasn't because Kyle Orton wasn't a good player, but Denver's defense was something that you would see in college games, not the NFL.
Now, Kyle Orton is in the right system, has a great attitude, has good receivers in Eddie Royal, Brandon Marshall, Brandon Stokley and Tony Scheffler with an excellent defense.
Look at his statistics now, 1465 yards passing, nine touchdowns, one interception (off of a hail mary at the end of a first half, so it is not like he intentionally threw it and screwed up), a 100.1 quarterback rating, and a 63.9 completion percentage (5.4 percent higher than last year).
And this is in only six games.
Kyle Orton, say what you want about him, but he wins and he wins often. He may be lucky, he may just have good chemistry with his team (you play harder for your friends), but he wins on a regular basis, and that's all that matters when it comes to the season.
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