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Tag:Kyle Orton
Posted on: April 21, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Offseason checkup: Denver Broncos

Posted by Will Brinson



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



Remember when the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls? Yeah, that was a long time ago. But the Broncos were relevant as recently as 2005, which is the last time they won the AFC West. Since then? Well, um, er, you see. Yeaaaaaaah, about that: one winning record (9-7 in 2006) produced a third-place finish in the division, while one losing record (7-9 in 2007) produced a second place finish. Two-straight .500 seasons followed after that and then -- BAM! -- the bottom fell out in 2010, as the Josh McDaniels train derailed en route to a 4-12 finish and his firing.

Enter John Elway, John Fox and the new, "new look" Broncos who appear to be all about transparency. They also appear about to undertake a pretty massive rebuilding project. Fortunately, Fox that's he polar opposite of Josh McDaniels -- methodical, defensive-minded, doesn't care for too much personnel control, likes to run the ball and unlikely to tape anyone else's practice.

The question for Fox is whether or not the system he wants to implement will work with the roster that McDaniels built. The immediate answer is "hell no," but it's not as far off as you think; Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd could be a poor man's Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith (a reasonable comparison, although I feel like it might insult someone, I'm just not sure who), who didn't exactly suffer through miserable seasons, statistically-speaking, their whole time in Carolina.

The defense, rather, is the bigger problem for Fox to address, because it acted like a sieve last season, and even with Elvis Dumervil returning, there's no guarantee that it will instantly become better. 




Defense, Quarterback??

The defensive line in Denver is a disaster, particularly at defensive tackle. That's why the Broncos are mentioning so many different possibilities at the No. 2 pick -- if the Panthers end up taking Marcell Dareus first overall, Denver's suddenly in a nightmare situation where they need to trade out of the second spot and try and recoup some value a few picks later. Fortunately for them, a pair of teams -- Cincinnati and Arizona -- could be interested in playing some hopscotch to try and acquire Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton should the draft unfold in such a manner.

What's even left to say about Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow? Well, actually a lot, I guess -- the two quarterbacks on the Broncos' roster are polar opposites (can you imagine Orton running a draw and/or circumcising babies in a third-world country during spring break?) but they're in similar situations, because no one can figure out whether or not the Broncos actually want  them.  

Could John Fox actually love Orton? Considering he saw -- first-hand -- how Orton can "manage" a game into right into the L-column when the Bears visited Charlotte a few years back, it's hard to believe. But surely he doesn't think the same of Tebow as Josh McDaniels did, right? Well, probably not, but there's always a chance, especially considering that Fox and Tebow got friendly during the draft ... right before Carolina took Jimmy Clausen.



1. Defensive Tackle
If the Panthers draft anyone other than Marcell Dareus with the first overall pick, it's hard to imagine the Broncos taking too much time to wait on selecting the Alabama product with the No. 2 overall pick. They'll definitely still listen to trades, because, well, who wouldn't, but Dareus is a pretty perfect fit with not only what Fox wants to do on defense, but how he wants to do it.

2. Cornerback
Patrick Peterson's there too, and could be a candidate for the No. 2 spot if Carolina goes Dareus and no one will trade up, although you have to think Denver would rather add a DB in the second round, or potentially trade back up to try and snatch a guy like Jimmy Smith if he falls. Of course, the depth at defensive line in this draft could have John Elway thinking he nabs Peterson to mentor under Champ Bailey during the legendary cornerback's home stretch, and then snag a defensive tackle with a later selection.

3. More Draft Picks
That's only a half joke -- Denver's got piles of holes to fill; they need another running back to pair with Knowshon Moreno in Fox's system, they might need a quarterback, they could use a defensive end, they need help at linebacker (making Von Miller a sneaky potential selection at No. 2 as well), they need more secondary help and they also need help across the offensive line. Moving down in the draft and accumulating potentially talented bodies to plug these holes is Elway's ideal scenario.



2011 could be another long season for Broncos' fans. It looks like the division should  improve, though in the AFC West, no one's scared to keep falling back to the pack throughout the season. But it's hard to imagine that Denver will be as successful on offense, numerically speaking, as they were in 2010, and unless the defense improves leaps and bounds, four wins might be a stretch ... again.

But there's hope, at least: Elway's immediate legacy will be somewhat determined by how he drafts this coming year, and it's going to take time to heal the wounds of the McDaniels era. Fortunately for Denver, they've got a coach who's turned around a moribund franchise before, and a front-office guy who knows a thing or two about the city and success. 

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Posted on: April 3, 2011 9:57 pm
 

What if Tebow doesn't start?

Tebow

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla writes an interesting column today and poses an interesting question: if he wanted to, could the Broncos all-time superhero John Elway resist the fans’ obsession and love of Tim Tebow and give somebody else the starting quarterback job?

In effect, if Elway and coach John Fox believes Tebow isn’t the right quarterback to lead the team and starts somebody else, would they face a fan revolt?

NFL Labor
Although Fox said last month that Kyle Orton is his starting quarterback now, that doesn’t mean Orton will be the starter once the 2011 season begins (hell, who knows if Orton will even be on the team next year).

Kiszla gives some background for those of us who don’t live in Denver and are not caught up in the Tebow-mania:

Whatever Tebow is selling, Broncomaniacs want two for themselves, three for their kids and a spare in the garage.

Shop the team's official website for a predominantly orange jersey, and it's the No. 15 of Tebow rather than the No. 24 of cornerback Champ Bailey and his 10 Pro Bowl appearances that the Broncos display in the front window. The never-before-told story of Tebow's life will soon be available in bookstores everywhere, because he couldn't wait until his 24th birthday to release a memoir. While the league will shut down for business after the draft to hammer out labor peace, the Tebow money machine never sleeps.

Would it be sacrilege to ask: Isn't this a little bit too much fuss for a quarterback with one NFL victory on his resume?

Tebow is so earnest he's easy to tease. But he's also impossible not to like. Florida did not adequately prepare him for the pros. His 11 touchdowns as an NFL rookie, however, were ample reason to believe he is a project worth developing.

Kiszla also writes Elway is “straining awfully hard not to get bullied” by those who want all-Tebow all the time. I guess the real question is this: what if Tebow is chosen to start – and the perception is that the fans forced Elway’s hand – and then simply isn’t good enough to win football games? How much does that destroy your credibility as a coach (Fox), a senior executive (Elway) and as an organization?

How much longer does that keep you in the Dark Ages of the NFL?

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Posted on: March 22, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Finnegan vows to change bad-boy ways

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Titans CB Cortland Finnegan isn’t one of the most popular guys in the NFL.

He’s the one who got into a knockdown, drag-out fight with calm-minded Texans star WR Andre Johnson (video below), though his former coach, Jeff Fisher, defended Finnegan afterward.

This didn’t receive nearly the attention the Johnson brouhaha did, but Finnegan also got into it last year with Broncos lineman Chris Kuper (which led Kyle Orton to call Finnegan “ridiculous”).

Basically, Finnegan is generally regarded as one of the dirtiest players in the NFL (if not, THE dirtiest).

Now, Finnegan says he needs to change his persona.

“It’s the last year of my contract and I’ve got to be on my `ones and twos,’” Finnegan told the Tennessean after a voluntary Titans workout at a local high school. “A leader needs to step up for this team. I feel like last year, due to certain circumstances, I wasn’t that guy. So I need to be that way now – to the reporters, to everyone, man. I need to be more accountable.”

Finnegan said there was no catalyst to why he figured he needed to change. Just felt like it was time, I suppose.

“For whatever reason, sometimes we can get selfish, and sometimes humility and talking to the right people (who have that) is good,” Finnegan said. “So I apologize to the media and all of that. I just need to be ready for the good times and the bad times.”



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Posted on: March 20, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 4:45 pm
 

Hot Routes 3.20.11: Light upset with Kraft



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Here’s an update on former Patriots DE Jarvis Green and whether he’s going to continue playing football. Right now, he says he’s “in between.”
  • Should Broncos QB Tim Tebow (or Kyle Orton, for that matter) be worried that Denver’s front office – which holds the No. 2 pick in next month’s NFL draft – is checking out Jake Locker, Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Mallett? Maybe, but probably not.

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Posted on: March 13, 2011 6:17 pm
 

Could lockout help veteran quarterbacks?

Posted by Andy Benoit

If there is an extended lockout that winds up wiping out the offseason, veteran quarterbacks are going to become extremely valuable. Teams with needs at the position would be looking for guys who could step in and play right away.
M. Hasselbeck (US Presswire)
Obviously, this concept would seemingly make re-signing Matt Hasselbeck an even greater priority for the Seahawks. But should the 35-year-old not return to the Pacific Northwest, Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean believes he could land in Nashville.

I have no doubt Matt Hasselbeck is one name on the Titans’ radar,” Wyatt writes. “The long-time Seahawks quarterback, scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, has ties to a Titans front office that includes GM Mike Reinfeldt, VP of Player Personnel Ruston Webster and Director of Pro Scouting Lake Dawson.”

Wyatt makes clear that Carson Palmer is at the top of Tennessee’s wish list, and that other available quarterbacks with less mileage than Hasselbeck (namely Kyle Orton and Kevin Kolb) could be in the mix.

This segues into a larger issue: how valuable will veteran quarterbacks be if there is no offseason?

Free agency will likely open up before the lockout concludes. Thus, teams will have to make their decisions based in part on predictions about when a new CBA will be reached. If the hunch is that a deal won’t be reached until late August or September, look for veteran quarterbacks with on-field playing experience to command more than their normal market value.

NFL Labor
Given the experience factor, a longtime starter like Hasselbeck would be more valuable than a young quasi-starter like Kolb. But perhaps more valuable than Hasselbeck would be a more traveled starter like Orton. Think about it: Hasselbeck has spent virtually his entire career in a West Coast offense. Orton learned multiple offenses in Chicago and Denver. He’d likely have an easier time picking up a new system on the fly.

The most interesting quarterback case to follow this offseason could be Donovan McNabb. He’s an experienced veteran with a stacked resume. Yet, the reason he’ll likely be available is because the Redskins didn’t think he did a good job learning Mike Shanahan’s unfamiliar system in 2010. If that stigmatizes McNabb in this uncertain offseason environment, he could suddenly find himself structurally unemployed.


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Posted on: March 6, 2011 10:37 am
 

Confusion over Joe Webb's future

There are questions about the readiness of J. Webb to be a starting quarterback (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We mentioned a few days ago in Hot Routes that the Vikings didn’t offer a tender to QB Tarvaris Jackson, because the coaching staff apparently was satisfied with the play of second-year player Joe Webb and was willing to let Jackson walk away.

Well, that might not totally be the case.

In a little snippet in this St. Paul Pioneer Press notebook, Charley Walters writes that a source told him Minnesota considered trading for Broncos QB Kyle Orton but then “backed off.” The original idea came because, the newspaper explains, Webb is “nowhere close to being an effective starter.”

You’ll recall that we saw a little bit of Webb last season, and he was up and down. But he showed potential* as well – which, honestly, is more than Jackson has shown in a Minnesota uniform – and though it seemed clear he wasn’t immediately ready to jump into Brett Favre’s position, you could see that Webb has talent and could eventually grow into an effective starter.

*In fact, I wrote in December that Webb, playing against Philadelphia, showed he belonged in the conversation, because of his poise and multi-dimensional skills under center. In fact, this is what coach Leslie Frazier had to say after Webb led the Vikings to an upset of the Eagles: “It'd be hard for me to say that I knew that Joe would play at such a high level so consistently.”

So, yeah, it’s hard to figure how the coaching staff views Webb since we’re receiving such contrasting messages. Some say the coaches like him, some say they think he’s not ready.

Trying to trade for Orton would make sense on some levels for the Vikings. Even if he was nothing more than a one-year stopgap until Webb really is ready, Orton could have contributed to Webb’s growth as a quarterback (remember, Webb was expected to be a WR after Minnesota drafted him in the sixth round in 2010, and it was surprising that he beat out Sage Rosenfels for the third QB spot at the beginning of last season).

But since that trade for Orton didn’t work out, the Vikings staff will have to figure out what to do about Webb. Considering his backups would be Patrick Ramsey and/or Rhett Bomar, maybe Webb is the guy right now, whether or not he actually IS ready.

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Posted on: February 20, 2011 10:49 am
 

Where will Orton go?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

New Broncos coach John Fox, at least when he was in Carolina, seemed to favor using veteran players instead of rookies.

That just seems to be his coaching philosophy (and you could see why, perhaps, with the play last season of Jimmy Clausen and the fact Fox called upon a guy who had been out of the league the week before (Brian St. Pierre) instead of starting rookie Tony Pike).

But, in Denver, with a second-year player in QB Tim Tebow – especially if the wonderkid has the support of the Broncos front office and John Elway – Fox might want to use him instead of solid veteran Kyle Orton.

Orton, you’ll recall, got off to a hot start last season (he was among the passing leaders at one point with a ridiculous number of passing yards), but he fell off a little bit and then missed the last three games because of injury and Tebow-itis.

When asked by the Denver Post about playing in Denver next season, Orton said, "Don't know, to be honest with you. Everybody can make choices. I'm happy. I've been playing as good as I ever have."

If Elway and Fox really feel like Tebow is the way they want to go, it should be noted that Orton would make pretty good trade bait.

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Posted on: February 9, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Hot Routes 2.9.11 football world carries on

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit


Former Jets quarterback Ray Lucas is in rehab for an addiction to painkillers. He’s sharing his experience via Facebook.


America’s most prominent liars (White House party crashers) managed to get into Jerry Jones’ suite during the Super Bowl, only to be promptly escorted out.


Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith have been spending lots of time together at the Niners’ Santa Clara facility. Their relationship is strictly platonic. Or business-related.


A Bill Parcells Hall of Fame debate is understandable. But Drew Bledsoe?


The Ravens will likely be looking for a new backup for Joe Flacco this offseason.  


The Buffalo Bills are getting new uniforms in 2011 (perhaps the old ones weren’t busy enough?). On Wednesday morning, the team devoted its entire homepage to the announcement. (Which is actually an announcement about an announcement, given that the unis won’t be revealed for another few weeks.)
/

Cornerback Renaldo Hill is reportedly getting a tryout with the Ravens. (What veteran corner HASN’T tried out with the Ravens in the past 12 months?)


Never too early to look ahead to next year – Super Bowl champions included.


Pro Football Weekly doesn’t think the Broncos will bring Kyle Orton back.
http://www.profootballweekly.com/st
ory/permalink/22456

The Bucs recently hired two co-defensive coordinators (head coach Raheem Morris calls the shots on defense). One of them, Kevin Millard, received an endorsement from Warren Sapp. The legendary defensive tackle got on the horn with GM Mark Dominik.


Former Raiders linebacker Greg Biekert is now current Raiders linebacker coach Greg Biekert.


The Patriots are losing a few assistants. The guess here is they’ll still be fine.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com