Pressure Point: Orton in no-win situation
First, he had Brady Quinn breathing down his bearded neck. Now, the legend of Tim Tebow looms. And the future of the head coach is tied to the decision of drafting the work-in-progress Tebow. The entire Broncos' quarterback situation is a pressure point.
Scouts Inc. Pressure Point
• Forte must turn up volume
• Chargers counting on Floyd
• Cassel must improve
• Peterson must get a grip
• Is Flacco Super Bowl ready?
• Garrard facing crucial season
• Abraham vital to Falcons
• Rams' Jackson worth preserving
• Can Packers' Harris return to form?
• Orton in no-win situation
• AFC West underachievers
• Time is now for Smith
• Jacobs slowing down
• Moss must raise level of play
• Onus still on Cutler in Chicago
But, much like when former Denver coach Mike Shanahan drafted Jay Cutler and inserted him into the Broncos' lineup during a playoff run over incumbent starter Jake Plummer, Orton -- like Plummer -- is limited and has a low ceiling. Soon, McDaniel is bound to look at this situation in much the same way as Shanahan did years before. So, in a way, Orton is in a no-win situation, which is an awfully difficult pressure point.
He is smart, plays with injuries and clearly values the football, which is more than many starters in this league can say for themselves. But Orton really doesn't have any outstanding physical characteristics, and most troubling is that he is unable to drive the ball deep downfield and hasn't shown consistency attacking outside the numbers on more difficult throws. When you play your home games in Denver, having a strong arm is a must.
With Orton behind center last year, just about every pass that McDaniels called was designed to have the ball come out quickly with shorter, easier throws. Such play calling isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of your starting quarterback. He isn't a playmaker or someone who makes those around him a lot better. Even though, right now, Orton is the best signal-caller on the team, he probably is never going to put the Broncos on his shoulders. That's the business of the NFL.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.
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