I'm wondering if anyone has recently asked Kyle Orton if he is from Nashville, because he's the only Ten-I-See. Buh-dum-bum.
OK, all cheesy pickup lines aside, Kyle Orton is the only reason the Denver Broncos have any victories four games into the season, and although it is ridiculously early, he is my current MVP candidate.
No team relies more heavily on one single arm than the Denver Broncos do on Kyle Orton's, and that includes Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Orton currently leads the league in passing just ahead of the aforementioned Manning.
Comparing and assessing the value that Manning and Orton both bring to their team is no more evident than when looking at their numbers. Orton is 118 of 175 for 1,419 yards, and Manning is 120 of 172 for 1,365 yards. Orton averages 8.2 per throw, Manning 7.9. The biggest difference between the numbers is touchdown passes, as Orton has only thrown six, whereas Peyton is leading the league with 11.
Kyle Orton is doing what he does best thus far in protecting the ball, keeping the offense in the game, and silencing the critics. On a day that finished with Baby Cutler leaving the field with a concussion on a hit that my grandmother could have taken, watching Orton get up from hit after hit was nothing short of marvelous.
For an entire off-season I have heard nothing but Josh McDaniel haters tell me how bad Kyle Orton is. How his game-plan consists of nothing but dink-and-dunk passes. That he doesn't have the arm strength to throw the ball down the field. Well, you're wrong, wrong, and yeah—wrong again.
So now I ask you—who currently leads the league in passing yards? Orton. Who leads the league in passes of 40+ yards, and is second in passes of 20+ yards? Orton. Take a moment to let that sink in, I'll wait.
What noodle arm?
All we heard last year was that Orton didn't have the arm strength to throw the ball further than 15 yards. Oh, and that Brandon Marshall could be attributed to all of Orton's deep-ball stats. Orton throws the three-yard screen to Marshall—he jukes and jives his way 50 yards down the field—so with Marshall gone his numbers should clearly slide. Hold it—they're going way up?
So now that Orton has effectively negated all arguments against him, what other reasons do we have to hate him? Who among us would still like Jay Cutler under center? I haven't heard any Tebow calls lately, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
What's even more impressive about Kyle Orton's numbers is that he's doing this all with ZERO running game. The Broncos are dead last in rushing yards, and that doesn't look to be changing anytime soon. The fact that teams don't even have to honor the run and can sit back and wait for Orton to throw and STILL get dominated speaks volumes to Orton's ability.
Will Orton continue this blistering pace en route to an MVP?
Yes, if the Broncos can be successful and make the playoffs despite their lack of a running game.
Will Orton be around next year to back this performance up?
I don't believe he will. Allow me to explain:
After watching McDaniels for the past however many months, I've learned a great deal about him.
He doesn't mind trading big name players after monster seasons, and he doesn't mind taking chances. With that being said, as long as he is grooming Tebow to take over and start his own dynasty that rivaled that of the Patriots in the early 2000's, why not inflate Kyle Orton's numbers?
If Orton finishes the year in the top three in passing, something that is by no means out of the question, he will be coveted.
There are plenty of teams that have nowhere near the quarterback Orton is, and will more than likely pay a king's ransom for that missing piece. Here are just a few examples:
Tavaris Jackson isn't the future of the franchise, or they wouldn't be begging Favre to return.
Orton is the type of "game manager" they need to win: one that basically stays out of Peterson's way, doesn't turn the ball over, and can elevate the passing game. Vikings send a draft pick or two our way, along with a veteran defensive player or possible offensive lineman. If you replace Brett Favre with Kyle Orton and the WRs get healthy in the off-season, that's a scary offense.
2. Buffalo Bills-As much as it would kill me to see such a great quarterback get shipped to a team where he'd basically fall of the face of the earth, this team has no franchise quarterback options. They will have high draft picks to surrender, and I would estimate Orton is good for a minimum two-win boost on this year's win total.
3. Arizona Cardinals-Another great fit, they just can't seem to find a franchise quarterback. They won't have terribly high draft picks to surrender, so they would have to package in a bigger-name player.
4. Cleveland Browns- Haven't had a quarterback worth anything for years, and will have high draft picks to surrender. Orton would have a few weapons to go along with a decent running game.
So McDaniels has options, assuming he wants to pull the trigger.
If the Broncos run game can at least get into the top 15 in yards per game, this team is going to go deeper than anyone would have ever guessed. Their defense has already shown they're going to keep us in any game.
Kyle Orton for MVP?
I'll let that marinate.