If you ask a Chicago Bears fan for the four most haunting words they've heard in the past five years, most would reply, "Rex is our quarterback." Of course, that was replaced by the mocking phrase of "Kyle is our quarterback" and ultimately is why the Bears were willing to give up so much to get Jay Cutler.
Three years after a statistically respectable but totally unnoticed season with Chicago, Kyle Orton is preparing to lead the Broncos in the 2011 NFL season. That is according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, who notably is a former Denver Broncos beat writer and one of the prime sources for NFL information.
But for Orton, some things never change.
Despite posting spectacular statistics last season as a breakout fantasy star and single-handedly reviving the career of former Bears teammate Brandon Lloyd, Orton still gets no respect. His biggest detractors point to his lack of red-zone efficiency and his third-down conversion percentage.
However, they almost never point to the fact that Orton has been (un)supported by one of the NFL's worst running games, or the fact that since he has been in Denver, Orton's defenses have been less than stellar.
Actually, with Kyle Orton at the helm when Mike Nolan was the only one making defensive determinations, the Broncos went 6-0 to start the 2009 season. Josh McDaniels began to pry, and then things began to fall apart.
Broncos fans should have a lot to look forward to with the disrespected Kyle Orton under center. The Broncos defense is substantially upgraded on paper and receivers have been singing the quarterback's praises throughout training camp. If Orton's statistics stay similar, the Broncos could be a lot better than expected.
Brandon Lloyd's fantasy value just shot back up.
Fans down in Miami were chanting Orton's name when Chad Henne was showing off his unpolished "skills" during training camp during the past week, according to the Denver Post. Kyle is wanted, not just by the Broncos coaching staff, but also by other fan groups. Is that really enough?
Despite his statistically valuable performances while having little talent around him, Orton has frequently been an afterthought, and not just in the Jay Cutler trade. Most Broncos fans were expecting a different starting quarterback (i.e. Tim Tebow) this year. Will the fans now embrace Orton as their own?
It seems highly unlikely.
No. 15's jersey sales will continue to far outpace No. 8's. Wearing an Orton jersey to a Broncos game might draw jeers from fans of his own team.
Yet Broncos fans might need to realize they have a quarterback who has been steadily developing his skill set over a lengthy period of time and is a statistical beast. Other fan groups are clamoring for him.
So why isn't the best quarterback on the roster wanted by the fans in Denver?