Kyle Orton and Donovan McNabb Walking Down Similar Path


I sit here at approximately 32,000 feet above sea level, about six times higher than where I live, in a crowded airplane packed with flustered holiday travelers, salty packaged peanuts, and what smells like the beginnings of a dirty diaper.

Speaking of dirty diapers, Kyle Orton is sitting in one of his own.

In the latest episode of As the World Quarterback Turns , Kyle Orton spoke out about his displeasure with the Broncos’ decision to stick with Tim Tebow for the remainder of the season.

Orton told Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post that his rib injury would not have prevented him from playing the rest of the season out, and that he’s disappointed that the Broncos opted to move in a different direction.

"“You never want to give up your job, you know?” Orton said. “We’ve worked hard as a unit for a number of months, and you’d like to be able to finish that out with your guys. It’s disappointing not to be able to do that.” – Denver Post"

We have to believe that Orton’s career in Denver is as good as over. The formal curtain call will not come to fruition. The spotlight is on Tebow and it has been since he was drafted.

Orton is Josh McDaniels’ guy. He performed very well in McD’s system, placing himself on the runway for beating out Dan Marino’s single season passing record. However, there was no takeoff. A steady decline in performance while the Broncos were in the midst of missing another playoff appearance has the young coach unemployed at the moment, and Orton seemingly out the revolving Denver QB door.

With the Broncos bringing in new management and preparing for a major roster overhaul, the theme is “out with the old and in with the new.” It’s a particularly fitting theme this time of year with 2011 right around the corner, and for a city that just swallowed a heavy dose of constant losing, big change is needed.

Orton is in the same sinking boat as Donovan McNabb right now. McNabb is (tail-between-the legs) in Mike Shanahan’s doghouse. The former Broncos coach is putting his faith in Rex Grossman for the remainder of the season, and maintains that McNabb has not earned the right to continue as the Skins’ starting quarterback.

Orton and McNabb signed large contracts this year, yet both find themselves riding the veteran QB bench. McNabb and Orton have shown a lack in backbone as far as speaking out about the demotion. They’ve played the “I’m disappointed” card, but neither has really challenged their respective coaches and organizations.

Perhaps, they know that they’re at the point of no return and they’re trying to play Mr. Positive for the next team that’s interested in them (Ahem, the Vikings).

In McNabb’s case, he’s led his Eagles’ team to the Super Bowl and performed at a Pro Bowl level in six of his twelve years in the league. This season, however, he’s thrown 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in the Skins’ 5-9 season. He had the respect in Philadelphia and expected that same kind of appreciation in Washington. When the pick is Grossman over McNabb, it’s D.C. career over.

For Orton, the Broncos sit at 3-11. If the record were reversed, we would still see Josh McDaniels fist-pumping along the sidelines, Orton would still be under center, and mum would be the Tebow word. Success breeds stability while failure spawns frustration, and the Broncos are the classic example of that.

As Orton and McNabb hit the off season wires, looking for a starting job, they will remember their time in Denver and D.C., respectfully. The NFL has a steep learning curve, even for veterans. For these two QBs, they’ve learned that no job is safe even with the stats and history to back their credibility.

When it comes down to it, only one thing matters – the team’s overall record.

Donovan – discharged and done. Orton – over and out.

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