Last season he averaged the most passing yards in his NFL career and had a career best passer rating. Yet the crowds and media continues to insist that Kyle Orton should be playing somewhere other than Denver and that he has an extremely short leash. Given the choices that Denver has to choose from, there's simply no reason that the Broncos would ever go with another starting quarterback in the 2011 season other than Orton.
Last year, Orton had a strong statistical season despite playing on a horrible team that dwelt at the bottom of the AFC West. At season's end, he'd passed for 3653 yards and 20 touchdowns against 9 interceptions in 13 starts. He also had an 87.5 passer rating.
Not only this, but Orton has always been a winner despite a reputation to the contrary. There's no denying the fact that quarterbacks are ultimately measured on their wins and losses, and to that end, Orton should be viewed as a successful NFL starting quarterback. Even after surviving a 3-10 record last year, his career record still stands at 32-29. In fact, last year was his first ever neutral or losing season at all. Now only 29, Orton has the experience and ability to still lead an NFL offense for quite some time.
Orton will never be mistaken for a Tom Brady level of elite quarterback. But most NFL teams cannot boast such assets. Every team tries to draft the next one year after year, but the majority of NFL teams hope to have decent quarterback play week after week. Orton is a quality starter in a league with too few of them and it's amazing to see just how quickly people are chomping at the bit for him to fail. He's not the sexy choice to lead a team, perhaps, but there's no reason to think that turning over the team to Tim Tebow or Brady Quinn for that matter would lead to any greener pastures.
In fact, there's every reason to think that times would be worse in Denver. Maybe that's what fans are hoping for -- that the team can tank and finally select a top shelf quarterback in the draft next fall. Maybe they're aiming for Andrew Luck or Landry Jones one year from now. Other than that, there's no reason at all why Kyle Orton should ever be replaced as the Broncos starter in 2011.