The Potential of Dan Orlovsky

John BrandtContributor IOctober 24, 2009

HOUSTON - JULY 31:  Quarterback Dan Orlovsky #7 of the Houston Texans arrives for practice during Texans training camp on July 31, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

It seemed as though it was the perfect scenario for an up and coming quarterback, leaving a disastrous situation of being on the historically infamous team for losing, the 2008 Detroit Lions, who in fact did not win even a single game last year, and then transferring to a team that is deemed on the rise with a highly explosive offense.

One of the rare bright spots to emerge from that lackluster team was in fact Dan Orlovsky, a fifth-round selection by the Lions in 2005 out of the University of Connecticut. Although Orlovsky did not put up the most impressive numbers by any standards, when you take a good hard look at it, he actually played great with the cards that were dealt to him, which hindsight shows he had to be holding the dreaded 7-2 offsuit.

Orlovsky's play did not go unnoticed by coaches in the league though, as when he became a free agent after last season he did receive a variety attention from other teams looking for their quarterback of the future, or at the very least a solid backup quarterback in which Orlovsky would fit the bill perfectly.

When the Houston Texans traded away backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels to the Minnesota Vikings in February, Houston instantly became a very intriguing place for a quarterback to start anew, especially with Texans starter Matt Schaub having injury problems for the past two seasons, giving Rosenfels ten starts in relief for much quality playing time.

With the media and fans alike giving Schaub the label of "injury prone," it made perfect sense for Orlovsky to strike up a deal with the Texans, and he did so as early as March, signing a three-year contract with the team.

All appeared to be going well for Orlovsky, and I am sure he had visions of throwing touchdown passes to All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson the moment his name was called due to an injury to Matt Schaub that just seemed bound to happen, right? Sadly though, reality can be harsh and things in life do not always go your way.

Just three months after his signing, the Texans had found themselves another quarterback to sign during the offseason. Former Chicago Bears starting quarterback Rex Grossman joined the squad, and it became apparent that the two would be in a heated competition for the backup position.

Long story short, Rex Grossman managed to win the number two spot, mostly because of his past experience as a starter. Orlovsky rightfully was disappointed, but I do not believe it should be all grey skies and rain clouds for Mr. Orlovsky.

Grossman is signed to the Texans only for this year, and I do not see him wearing a Texans uniform next season for three reasons.

  1. On the business side, Grossman is only making $620,000 this season, and will be looking to score a better contract next season. The Texans have already decided to invest their time, and money on Orlovsky so I do not see Grossman getting his desired paycheck in the city of Houston.
  2. Grossman, like every quarterback in the NFL wants to be a starter, and there are a handful of teams that are having quarterback dilemmas much worse than the Texans. Grossman has absolutely no chance to beat out Matt Schaub for the starting position, so I believe he will want to look elsewhere to get his shot at starting again and try to revive his career.
  3. Third, and most importantly is Orlovsky's potential. Gary Kubiak has a knack at bringing out the best in his quarterbacks, and Orlovsky is still young, and can be molded into the quarterback Kubiak wants. Grossman has been inconsistent throughout his career and can be very impatient, making costly mistakes at the worst of times, which can make a coach lose his trust in you very quickly.

I am not claiming that Dan Orlovsky will be the next Tom Brady, a former backup turned into a Super Bowl winning megastar quarterback, but I truthfully believe that Orlovsky has the what it takes to be successful in this league for years to come, whether it is with the Houston Texans or not.