As somewhat of a response to Punkus' great article earlier, I will now give you my opinion of who will make the Denver Broncos' final roster for 2009.
As any casual sports fan knows by now, Cutler was dealt to the Chicago Bears in exchange for Kyle Orton and three draft picks.
Orton has been named the starting quarterback by head coach Josh McDaniels, as expected, and will continue to compete for the job this offseason with free agent signee Chris Simms.
For the Broncos, Orton will be expected to run Josh McDaniels' complex but effective offense that relies heavily on the pass. In his time with the New England Patriots, McDaniels was able to orchestrate the unquestioned best offense the NFL has ever seen in 2007, and followed up in 2008 by turning Matt Cassel into a $14 million man.
Bronco fans have good reason to believe he can have repeat success in Denver with Orton, especially with the talent he has around him.
Not only does the change of scenery and upgrade in arsenal help Orton, but the fifth year quarterback will be a free agent at the end of the 2009 season, and he does not want to be looking for a backup job when that time comes.
Here is a look at Orton's 2008 statistics and a projection of his numbers with the Broncos:
2008 season: Comp Att Yds Cmp% YPA TD INT SACK RAT
272 465 2,972 58.5 6.39 18 12 27 79.6
2009 PROJ: 330 550 3,850 60.0 7.00 24 14 14 ~82.0
I fully expect Orton to have the best season of his career with the Broncos. In Chicago, he was not used properly, and the Bears relied far too much on the run to win games. In Denver, I fully believe he will throw around 30-35 passes per game and get every receiver involved.
As for Chris Simms, I think Denver is the perfect spot for him to have landed. He came to Denver expecting to be the backup for Jay Cutler, and now he gets to compete with Orton for the starting job.
By no means am I taking anything away from Simms' talent, as he has been productive when given the proper amount of playing time, but I just cannot see him winning the starting job for the Broncos.
Before rupturing his spleen, Simms was playing the best football of his life, posting an 81.4 quarterback rating in 11 games while throwing for 2,035 yards and 10 touchdowns. Due to the fact that he has lost a significant amount of experience the last couple of years, it is likely his overall production would take a significant hit.
Simms and Orton will likely be accompanied on the Broncos' roster by Denver's sixth round draft pick Tom Brandstater.
Brandstater is a 24-year old rookie out of Fresno State who is probably the most hyped sixth round pick to come to Denver in a long time.
Due to the fact that McDaniels has aided in the development of Tom Brady and Matt Cassel, sixth and seventh round picks respectively, many Bronco fans are hopeful he can do the same with Brandstater.
A scouting report from NFL.com offered that Brandstater's top two qualities as a quarterback were his leadership abilities and strong arm. Two or three years learning McDaniels' system, and this kid could potentially be the "next" Tom Brady or even Matt Cassel.
In 2008, Brandstater was very similar statistically to Kyle Orton, completing nearly 60 percent of his passes for 2,664 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions with Fresno State.
Thanks to the quarterback wizardry of Josh McDaniels, many Bronco fans are not too distraught by the loss of Pro Bowl performer Jay Cutler. If Kyle Orton can produce the type of numbers I have suggested, Cutler's name will be quickly forgotten in the Mile High City, and Orton just may find himself wearing orange and blue for a long time.
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach: Mike McCoy (formerly Carolina Panthers passing game coordinator), Josh McDaniels (former New England Patriots quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator)
Projected starting quarterback: Kyle Orton (Acquired via Trade w/Chicago)
Projected 2nd string quarterback: Chris Simms (Acquired via Free Agency/Tennessee)
Projected 3rd string quarterback: Tom Brandstater (Acquired via 2009 NFL Draft)
2008 Quarterback Grade: B+
Roster spots occupied by QB: 3/54