The chants came early and often. It was nails to the chalkboard for my ears.
“Te-bow, Te-bow, Te-bow!” Are you kidding me?
As soon as the Denver Broncos fell behind 21-0 just six minutes into the game, the crowd around me cleared their throats and bellowed for #15 to come into the game. It may have been Sunday, but no amount of Mile High Messiah could save this Broncos team.
At that point, Kyle Orton had thrown one interception, Demaryius Thomas had fumbled a reverse pitch, and the Broncos defense allowed Jason Campbell to march down the field as efficiently as Peyton Manning. I’m not sure if people were blaming Orton at that point or if they just wanted to see a change and decided that the game’s most prominent position (QB) could be the catalyst for a comeback. Either way, the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Let’s take a look at Kyle Orton’s performance this year. He’s always been a very accurate quarterback that limits mistakes. He will take the sack instead of forcing a pass that could be intercepted. In training camp, however, Orton showed that he added to his arsenal. He looked stronger and he stood out as a team leader. He promptly took on his role as a captain of the offense and could be seen guiding his receivers in route running, and helping his backs read holes.
His hard off season work has paid off tremendously. Through the first five games of the season, Orton was averaging 346.6 yards per game and was on pace to break Dan Marino’s single season passing record. Wide receiver, Brandon Lloyd, was leading the league in receiving thanks in large part to Orton’s prolific arm. Even in games where Orton was airing them out with great success, the Broncos were still losing. That’s what happens when the offense is one-dimensional. Yet, not many were calling for “Te-bow” then. As soon as Orton has a rough game by his standards (which is still better than many starting QBs this year), many fans jump on the T-squared bandwagon and yell “Timmmmaaay” like they need to be heard from South Park, Colorado.
With one quarter left to play, the score was 59-14 and the Broncos head that’s etched into the seats in the upper bowl of the north side of the stadium was completely visible. The 360 people (ok, more than that!) left in the stadium included Raiders fans and masochists that wanted to see Tebow play more and even throw his first pass in the NFL.
Josh McDaniels, however, decided to let Orton finish the game, and he’s taking a lot of heat because of it. With each snap in an NFL game, all players on the field are at risk for injury. That’s the nature of the game we all love. McDaniels is taking heat because Orton could have been injured during a meaningless play that could have sidelined him for a game or even more.
The other side of the coin shows that if McDaniels had put Tebow or Brady Quinn in, then it would appear that the head coach doesn’t have confidence in his starting QB and wants to evaluate the backup QBs for future games. The media and the fans would have made a bigger deal out of the backups coming into the game than necessary. In fact, had Tebow thrown his first touchdown pass or gone 4-for-5 passing, national media would perceive a situation where McDaniels has thrown Kyle Orton into the gutter.
It was really a lose-lose situation to be in. This season is still too early to give up.
Keeping Orton in the game was the right move. What do you think? Vote and/or leave a comment below.
Make sure to follow Predominantly Orange on Facebook.