Let me be frank. Kyle Orton is playing out of his mind right now. He's playing above and beyond what he is supposedly capable of. With head coach Josh McDaniels feeling the pressure of trying to succeed right away, he'll have to win and get to the playoffs to justify the means for many of the Broncos' "Shanahan Era" key players getting the boot.
The Broncos are struggling in the run game badly which has a lot to do with multiple injuries to many of their key RB's all the while having some struggles along the offensive line in the fairly new power running scheme they just incorporated last season.
However, the lack of a running game shouldn't hinder a teams' chances at making the playoffs. It can be done as it has been done before. The question remains, can Kyle Orton carry his team on his back and get them to the playoffs? I believe he can but now the question becomes, what type of successful QB will he be?
Let's look at four QB's that had a great season despite the lack of a running game last year.
Ben Roethlisberger. Matt Shaub. Peyton Manning. Philip Rivers.
Big Ben put up 4328 passing yards, 26 TD's, and 12 INT's. Big Ben nearly looked unstoppable last year as he threw for a career best. Despite having a horrible offensive line that led to him getting sacked 50 times last season, he still sling the ball around with confidence.
Matt Shaub put up 4770 passing yards, 29 TD's, and 15 INT's. Shaub also had a career best. Shaub led the league in passing yards last season as he joined amongst the elite QB's in the NFL.
Peyton Manning put up 4500 passing yards, 33 TD's, and 16 INT's. Manning is one of the best QB's of all time and he continue to dominate the game.
Philip Rivers put up 4,254 passing yards, 28 TD's, and 9 INT's. Rivers led the AFC in boasting the top QB passer rating.
All of these QB's have great numbers, here is the difference. Only Manning and Rivers went to the playoffs.
Big Ben didn't make the playoffs despite having a great year w/ a great defense. Big Ben ended up being a 9-7 QB. Matt Shaub had a great year but not good enough as he too didn't make the playoffs as he, like Big Ben, ended up being a 9-7 QB.
Philip Rivers had the 31st rushing attack and a very average defense but still went on to have a 13-3 record despite all the handicaps. Peyton Manning had the league worst 32nd rushing attack and a below average defense but still went on to have a 14-2 record regardless.
These QB's, Rivers and Manning, showed they can win regardless how horrible of a running game or defense that they have. They proved that it can be done.
Let's get back to the Broncos.
Will Kyle Orton have a career year? At this rate, hell yeah he will unless he gets hurt. Can the Broncos win without a running game? The Titans game proved that they can win despite the lack of a running game. The only question remaining left is what type of season will Orton have? Will he be like Big Ben and Matt Shaub where he'll have a great season but no playoff appearance? Or will Orton have a season like Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning, where he'll carry the Broncos to the playoffs no matter what?
Those questions won't be answered until the season is over but I like what I'm seeing from Orton. I'm just not sure what type of QB he will be.