3,653 yards passing.
20 TD passes.
87.5 QB Rating
Just 9 INTs.
For many NFL teams, these numbers from their quarterback would not be something that they would be unhappy about.
These were Kyle Orton's numbers for his 13 starts this year as quarterback for the Denver Broncos.
However, interim coach Studesville decided to keep Tim Tebow in for the last three games of this dismal Broncos season.
While Tebow did bring a lot of excitement to the Broncos games, he also left a lot of questions that will not be answered until next season.
Coach Fox and company could very well decide that Tebow still needs some fine-tuning for another year before he is the full-fledged starter.
In that case, Fox would more than likely start Orton. With that, I bring you the pluses and minuses of Orton as starter of the Broncos in 2011.
Orton has been the starter for the Bears and Broncos for a combined five years.
During that time, he has put up numbers that are not great but not terrible, either.
His combined record for both of those teams in this span has been a combined 32-30, even with the difficulties of the Broncos added in.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of instances this year where it seemed that Orton was being sacked or being hurried, especially in costly 3rd-down situations.
He was sacked 34 times this year, second only to Phillip Rivers in the AFC West.
Most of Fox's systems, it would appear, feature a run-first, strong-on-defense approach.
He seems to favor very vanilla QBs who are good passers, such as Delhomme in Carolina.
Orton is not a QB that will excite a lot of people like his counterpart Tebow, but he would definitely fit better in one of the types of offenses that Fox is known for.
Admittedly, Orton is not all at fault for this.
If the Broncos had a stronger rushing attack and weren't making costly mental mistakes to lead to 3rd-and-long, things might have been a little bit easier for Orton on third downs.
However, Orton does have to shoulder some of the blame because at the end of the day, he was the quarterback.
Granted, Orton is not flashy, but his passing has the accuracy of most veteran QBs in the league.
He will usually not singlehandedly win games for you such as Roethlisberger or others, but he also will not lose games. Consider his accuracy for the last two years, compared to his counterpart in Chicago:
2009: 21 TD, 12 INT, 3,802 yards
2010: 20 TD, 9 INT, 3,653 yards
2009: 27 TD, 26 INT, 3,666 yards
2010: 23 TD, 16 INT, 3,274 yards
Orton is as good or better in most categories.
The fact of the matter is, the team seemed to jell a lot better under Tebow's leadership than they did under Orton.
The Broncos were still blown out at times, but the games were closer.
The fact of the matter is, Orton's track record in the "W" column has been good before this year, and there were many other problems for the Broncos than at starting quarterback.
Fox, Elway and Xanders may very well decide that Tebow is not ready if he goes through some growing pains in the preseason or early on.
If they go with Orton next year, there are a few things they should bear in mind:
1. The Offensive Line will need to be improved in order to give Orton more time to throw the ball.
2. The rushing attack will need to be strengthened.
3. The costly mental mistakes will need to stop, such as penalties.
4. The Defense will need to be improved so that the Offense can take a breather.
(These same steps should be taken for either QB)
If they do decide to start Orton for another year, I don't feel it's necessarily a knock on Tebow. Remember that Steve Young took a couple of years to develop under Joe Montana, and he is now in Canton.
Respectfully submitted, comments appreciated.