Broncos-Raiders: John Fox era looks like Josh McDaniels era, Kyle Orton revives QB debate

Categories: Sports

kyle orton training camp small.jpg
Kyle Orton.
Question for all those optimists expecting to see the Denver Broncos leave the Josh McDaniels debacle behind them: How are you feeling this morning? Depressed, probably -- because all the flaws that led to McD's ouster were still on view in their 23-20 home loss to the dreaded Raiders, including a beyond-anemic running game, terrible run defense and QB play by Kyle Orton that will only amplify those calls for Tim Tebow.

Watching the first half of the nationally telecast Monday Night Football contest was like being subjected to unedited footage from Big Brother -- painful, awkward and seemingly without end.

Early on, the Raiders looked accommodating, coughing up the ball in the red zone thanks to Von Miller's well-placed helmet. But Orton once again showed a chronic inability to cash in, eventually leaving the Broncos with a field goal -- their only three points of the first half.

Not that there weren't opportunities for more. But Denver seemed intent on matching the Raiders tit-for-tat when it came to penalties (what the hell was going on with Chris Kuper?), and Orton repeatedly failed to respond to such mistakes with steady leadership and consistent play. For every crisp throw, an errant one followed, with the worst of the batch being a pick heaved in the general direction of Brandon Lloyd, who wasn't even looking for the ball, just before halftime.

Granted, the entire weight of the offense was on Orton's shoulders, since Knowshon Moreno was once again Know-show Moreno and Willis McGahee definitely didn't pick up the slack. With the ground game grinding to a halt, Orton had no choice but to keep chucking. He was under plenty of pressure, too, thanks to a Raiders front four capable of generating a pass rush even without sending a blitzer -- wouldn't that be nice to have?

KO still had an opportunity to quiet the boo birds in the second half, thanks largely to more Raiders ineptitude and Eric Decker's thrilling punt return for a touchdown. But his chances kept slipping away, just like the ball early in the fourth quarter, when his fumble led directly to a 47-yard Darren McFadden run and a Jason Campbell plunge that pretty much put the game out of reach.

This was hardly McFadden's sole highlight. If he only played against the Broncos, he'd already be Hall of Fame-bound. The defense was once again susceptible to big runs -- and the pass rush, supposedly so much improved, was spotty. Miller had a few moments, but Elvis Dumervil dinged his shoulder early on and was essentially invisible from that point onward, and the rest of the reconfigured lineup seemed as undisciplined and ineffectual as the previous version.

The final score made the game seem more competitive than it was -- and certainly more palatable than last year's 45 point loss. But while both teams displayed rough spots aplenty, the Broncos were by far the most discombobulated -- and Orton's performance was so dispiriting that Tebow lovers can almost be forgiven for imagining a better future with their boy at the helm. Unless something changes fast, all fans will be left with is their dreams.

More from our Sports archive: "Denver Broncos Cheerleaders behind-the-scenes calendar shoot art gallery (PHOTOS)."

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Brian Martinez
Brian Martinez

Orton wasn't good, but he was really the least of the Broncos' problems.  Their offensive line STINKS.  (Where's Alex Gibbs when you need him?!)  This is especially problematic for a coach who supposedly stresses fundamentals on offense.

The Raiders did what they always do, give the refs a million reasons to hand the game over to their opponent, and the Broncos *still* couldn't capitalize, at home no less.  If they don't improve in a big hurry we'll be lucky if they repeat last year's 4-12 record.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Strong post, Brian. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


We knew going in there's very little talent on this team. That to win the opener, against a team simply better, everything had to fall perfectly into place, plus something good we didn't expect had to happen.

The unexpected happened...........Decker had a punt return that shattered any remaining illusion that this guy isn't head turning fast.

Everything else was just like sought its' own level.

A Raiders team that has better offensive and defensive linemen than Denver's team came in here and absolutely throttled the Broncos.

The best player on the field last night was McClain, but really no Raider defensive player had a bad night. Oakland's got better players and the result will be just like last night untill that changes

 When every draft choice but one makes the team, when 3 rookies start, when every defensive tackle is a guy that used to be somebody else's problem, this is simply not a good team.

When defensive backs have the green light to manhandle the other team's receivers and eat the PI that results, it means that the defensive coaches don't believe the other team can line up and beat them........even with the field position and 1st downs that result from the penalty.

The Broncos were physically manhandled by a team that committed 15 penalties in a game that was never close.

The dearth of talent on this roster is stark.

As an Orton fan, I say he was awfull. No excuses.

So was everybody else for the most part. Von Miller was really fun to watch. Fells is a huge surprise. And the team will improve as they draft out into these upcoming years. But now is now.

Fair enough.

People dropping 78 bucks a game want results now.

Whether it's Orton or Brady Quinn or Tebow isn't the question. The specter of the guy being chased by bees won't be any more successfull than the image of a guy that isn't mobile enough to succeed behind an absolutely incompetent offensive line or the guy that's only played 15 games as a pro.

We're years away, but we were years away in 1968.


People dropping 78 100+ bucks a game want results now.

That should be branded into the desks of Messrs. Bowlen, Xanders, and Elway to remind them on a daily basis.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Love your take, Eric. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats.


The real highlight was with 1:25 left in the second quarter, the announcers were heaping praise upon Mr. Ed, the cameras panned up and there he was with a  "where the hell is my check so I can go home" kind of look. They quickly panned away and changed the subject. It starts at the top.....

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Funny you should mention that, Larry. If I recall correctly, they were talking about how excited and energized he was, and he looked to me like someone had just dosed him with Thorazine. Thanks for the post.

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