I'm going to make some T-shirts for this football season that have Kyle Orton's face as a cartoon and a caption that reads: "I love neck beards."
Kyle Orton has become the NFL's equivalent of Rodney Dangerfield.
Granted, the guy isn't quite as good as that other Purdue quarterback who plays down in New Orleans, but for once in this offseason, keep the facts in mind:
This guy was a disrespected throw in with the Jay Cutler trade.
This guy had a better season than Jay Cutler did last year.
Kyle Orton is legitimately on the fringes of most NFL quarterback top-ten lists. He puts up solid numbers with a large amount of humility, and frankly, he is downright likable.
Orton is the type of guy you could go grab a beer with after a football game and know that he wouldn't ever hang it over your head that he is an NFL quarterback.
I'm saying that as a fan, not a teammate; and that really means something.
I know Kyle isn't an ostentatious, high-profile style fiend, but I think the neck beard is a fashion statement in itself.
It says: "I live in the wilderness because I can."
I'm going to copyright that phrase.
I stood by Kyle Orton going into last season. I talked him up primarily because I thought his track record showed substantial success. Most people ignored the statistics (which matter when they're NFL numbers) when analyzing his ability compared to Cutler's.
I also noticed that Orton was out for a few games, which helped explain the major trend.
The 2008 statistics results:
Kyle Orton's numbers in every category were two third's of Jay Cutler's (factoring in attempts and everything) and he played in fewer games than Cutler. With the exception of wins (Orton had more) and interceptions (Orton had less), funny enough.
Kyle was booed on his first day in Denver and fans went way up on him when he took the team on a six-game winning streak.
Then, after the season, everyone started to think we needed a different quarterback.
This guy took a team that was projected to be 3-13 to an 8-8 record when the Denver Broncos had their toughest schedule of the past five years. He tied the Jay Cutler/Mike Shanahan mark from the previous season when the schedule was easy.
And people want his job to be threatened?
Kyle did everything without complaining but while dealing with frequent distractions from Brandon Marshall and select other players on the Broncos roster.
McDaniels himself was a distraction at times.
He also outgunned Tom Brady when the two met up.
Everyone out there is saying Kyle can't cut it now that Brandon Marshall is gone. If that is the case, how could any of the Broncos other quarterbacks play successfully? He is the most experienced...
The acquisitions of Brady Quinn (2-7 as an NFL starter) and Tim Tebow (hasn't taken a snap in the NFL) have served as a major distraction to fans of the Denver Broncos.
They are definitely a pair of guys who have potential and might do good things in the NFL; the verdict will be out on both of them until they do accomplish something.
As for now, they have the noble title of backup quarterbacks, and they should be treated as such by the fans.
The star player, the guy with the vote of confidence (even if competition for the position is open) is still Kyle Orton.
And at the very least, he deserves the respect and admiration of Denver Broncos fans. He deserves more press than the backups who are competing with him.
Until he is dropped down the depth chart, Kyle Orton deserves the attention of a starting quarterback in the National Football League.
Advocate for the success of whomever you may please, but for now, at least give Orton the benefit of the doubt.
Because if you want to have a chance at winning games this season, he is the only guy Denver Broncos fans should want taking the snaps.
And I will happily eat my words when the season comes around if I have to.
Go get 'em Kyle.