In the wake of numerous changes; including firings, releasings, and trades, the Denver Broncos are a new team from top to bottom in 2009.
From a coaching standpoint, long-timer Mike Shanahan was fired in favor of young gun Josh McDaniels. From a player standpoint, the defense has undergone an overhaul, while the offense's best player, QB Jay Cutler, is long gone in a trade to Chicago.
The trade brought two first-round draft picks, and QB Kyle Orton, a veteran gun slinger who played through many changes himself in the Bear's blue and orange.
Now, Orton is the likely starter for another team of orange and blue, the Broncos of the Mile High city.
Entering the '09 season, many questionmarks surround Orton, the most pressing of which I will ask here in a mock feature interview I would have with the QB if I got the chance of the NFL correspondent job through CBSsports and bleacherreport.com respectively.
1. What was it like to learn you had been traded away from Chicago, your original and only NFL team, to the Denver Broncos?
2. What is the most memorable play of your career?
3. How did the Bears’ 2007 Super Bowl appearance help you as a player? What did you learn from coach Lovie Smith?
4. What do you think of Denver as a sports city, and Invesco Field at Mile High?
5. How will Broncos’ Country and the sell-out crowds help you win games?
6. What did Josh McDaniels tell you to welcome you to Denver?
7. What did you think of Josh McDaniels before he was your head coach?
8. Coach McDaniels has said the starting quarterback position is, as of now, up in the air. What do you think of Chris Simms as a quarterback and will you be the Broncos' starting QB when the season starts September 13th at Cincinatti?
9. How will Josh McDaniels’ offense help you become a better quarterback?
10. What are you most excited about being in a Broncos' uniform?
11. What are your thoughts on the '09 Broncos as a team?
12. What do you think about playing with the potential playmakers on this Broncos' team? Between Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, and Knoshawn Moreno, you have many to choose from, who will be your favorite target?
13. Do you consider yourself a leader and if so, how will you lead this young, inexperienced team?
14. You have started 31 games and currently have a 21-10 record as a starter, how will you bring your winning ways to Denver?
15. 2008 was your best statistical performance with 2,972 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. How will you continue to improve, starting with the 2009 season, and advance the Broncos’ QB position from 2008?
16. You went 1-11 on passes over 30 yards, including three interceptions in 2008. With Josh McDaniels’ offense including deep passes, what will you do to improve this stat?
17. Inside the opponent’s red zone you are borderline prolific with 21 touchdowns compared to only two interceptions. How will you continue these great performances, and how can you translate that success to other parts of the field as well?
18. You started off games strong in 2008, having a 116 rating and six touchdowns compared to zero picks in the first quarter, but your rating steadily decreases throughout games. Will the Mile High altitude affect you as a player and how will you combat this tiredness from slowing you down?
19. You also play well in the final two minutes of halves, having a 102 rating and four touchdowns with zero interceptions. How good of a fourth-quarter QB are you, and can you win games in the clutch like Broncos’ great John Elway?
20. Finally, what record do you expect the Denver Broncos to finish with this year?
I believe this is a solid set of questions, from a fan or a sportswriter’s standpoint. Background knowledge on a player lets fans know what the man as a person stands for and is about.
Asking him about Denver and his new head coach allows the newly acquired player room to get into the Broncos fan’s good graces.
As jelling with key players is a concern, asking him about some seems like a good idea. Also, knowing if he considers himself a leader like Elway, or just another guy along for the ride like Griese, is important as well.
Lastly, going into Orton’s stats was a good way at pinning down what he excels/lacks at, so I would ask him some stat-specific questions.
Overall, I hope Orton can jell with McDaniels and Co. and he has been considered a solid locker room guy throughout his career.
Hopefully Orton can continue his success in his new orange and blue.