Gut Reaction: Week 5 - Broncos vs Chargers

After five games, I've seen enough.  The Kyle Orton era is over in Denver.

Orton may very well play more games this year as the starting quaterback.  Today, though, things broke bad--really bad.

Today's NFL is about making plays, whether they are scripted or not.  The Broncos simply don't have enough time build the perfect offensive line around Orton so he can become the next Troy Aikman.  They've barely got enough draft picks to fix the defense.

I've said this before: In a vacuum, Kyle Orton is the perfect quarterback.  If he has time to sit in the pocket for four or five seconds, he'll rape and pillage.  Unfortunately, that's not the game of football.  You can't call max protection on each and every play.

The game is messy.  Half of the plays the offensive coordinator calls are going to bust.  In short, the vacuum Kyle Orton needs doesn't exist.  It never will.

It's got nothing to do with Tim Tebow.  Tebow may or may not be the answer.  This is Kyle Orton evaluated against Kyle Orton.

He might be the best quarterback on the roster.  But he's not the quarterback 11 games from now.  He's probably not the quarterback in two weeks.

Let's get to the Positives, the Negatives, and the Who The Heck Knows? 

The Positives

1. A tipped pass and a pick six.  Give it to me, baby, uh huh, uh huh!  The only thing funnier than watching Philip Rivers get housed is seeing the look on Philip Rivers' face when he gets housed.

2. During the Kyle Orton Show today, Orton had this piece of advice to solve the Broncos' woes: Run the football.  The Broncos responded with 75 yards in the first quarter.  Unfortunately, you can't throw interceptions to go along with that running game.

3. When Joe Mays gets to you, he gets to you--undertaker style.  It's the getting to you part that he had a little trouble with today.  When he comes on the zone blitz, though, and it's a north and south affair, he's going to bury you.

4.  Tebow extends plays.  When he extends plays, he finds busted coverages.  When he finds busted coverages, he has the chance for a big play.  If Tebow had been anything approaching accurate today, he would have made some big plays in the passing game (see Negatives below).

5.  Speaking of Tebow, I need to elaborate on him a bit more. He may not be able to hit water while aiming for the ocean, but it's not the point.  A defensive back can't stick with even an average NFL receiver for more than four or five seconds.  This is especially true when the quarterback is running around outside of the pocket like a chicken.  Now, picture Tebow.  He's the chicken, except he's a chicken with arms.  It doesn't take but an average arm to hit a receiver who's got five yards of separation.  Sorry about the chicken metaphor, but if you've ever chased a chicken, you know what I'm talking about.

6. Speaking of Tebow again, how much better can he sell a screen pass than Orton?  The points speak for themselves.

7. Amazing but true: Willis McGahee broke 125 yards today. 7.8 yards per carry?  Terrell Davis called. He wants his body back.

8. So the fourth quarter was how it's supposed to be as a Broncos fan?  I didn't realize I still had orange and blue blood coursing through my veins.  How about you?

9. If Britton Colquitt doesn't make the Pro Bowl this year, it will be criminal--not pot smoking criminal, but grand theft auto criminal.  Colquitt boomed six punts for an average of 53.7 yards.  He's an EPV (expected points value) machine.

10. The Andrew Luck / Matt Barkley / Landry Jones Countdown just fell to 11 games.  After another game or two, they might even control their own destiny.

The Negatives

1. I already miss you, Al Davis.  Halloween--that is to say, everyday for the miscreants that inbreed in the Black Hole each Sunday--won't be the same without you.

2. The game couldn't have started any worse for the Broncos--a dropped pass (Eric Decker), followed by horrible field position (special teams), followed by bad angles (Joe Mays) and mental errors in coverage (Von Miller).  Luckily, the Broncos employed their typical bend-but-don't-break defense in the red zone.  Wesley Woodyard's tackle on third down to force the first field goal was as much a mental stop as it was a physical one.

3. Kyle Orton's interception was bad by any standard, but let me count the ways: 1) The footwork was abysmal; 2) The decision was defective; 3) the result scared the children three weeks early.  By the way, that look you saw on Orton's face at the end of the first half?  It's the look of a guy who knows there won't be a long-term contract offer coming at the end of the season--no, not even from the Dolphins.  What else can I say?  The guy's QB rating was 21.0 for the day.

4. We have to call them as we see them.  Von Miller's confusion on his coverages today cost the Broncos dearly.  He either misread the plays or he was confused on his responsibilities.  Get ready for the copycat league that is the NFL to test him after the bye week exactly the way the Chargers did today.  Dennis Allen could make all of it moot, however, if he decides to send Miller, you know, like all the time.  Later in the game, Miller got a sack, so you won't hear me bitching too much.

5. The defense made some mistakes today, but the offense helped them very little in the first half.  Allen's crew was absolutely gassed by the end of the first half after watching San Diego keep the ball for almost 20 minutes. It didn't hurt that Quinton Carter decided that two-deep coverage meant one-deep coverage.  Brian Dawkins may not be great in coverage any longer, but he makes that play due to recognition alone.

6. Two Tebow snaps on his first possession.  Two horrible quarterback-center exchanges.  It was a theme that continued throughout the second half. I'm just sayin'.  His accuracy also left a lot to be desired.  No, this comment has nothing to do with this ability to run (see Positives above).

7. Despite his incredible athleticisim, D.J. Williams is rarely in the right position.  The defense was probably better off when he was on the sideline.  His personal foul penalty late in the game was, how should I put it, ill advised?  Actually, I know exactly how to put it.  It was completely stupid.  I'm not sure if he'll apologize to his teammates for giving the game away like that, but he should give it serious consideration.  As Bill Belichick would say, "One stupid play can make all the difference."  Williams again had a lot of tackles, but why do I always feel like he left double the numbers on the field?

8. The Broncos had 53 yards in penalties today.  The Chargers had zero.  The dividend yield on that John Fox discipline?  I'd be better off with a treasury bond.

9. Mike McCoy smartly ran the offense to fit Tebow's strengths once he entered the game.  Yes, that was the spread option appearing before your very eyes, my friends.  If the Broncos settle on Tebow as their quarterback, they should continue to put him in the gun and let him do what he does best.  Let Tebow be Tebow.  Don't force him to be what he's not.

10. The Andrew Luck / Matt Barkley / Landry Jones Countdown just fell to 11 games.  After another game or two, they might even control their own destiny.

Who The Heck Knows?

1. Orton said today, "Just like you don't lose any game in the first quarter of the game, you don't lose the season in the first quarter of the season."   Sorry, Kyle, but the season has been lost already, unless you plan on going 11-0 the rest of the way.  While you are not technically eliminated during the first quarter of the season, the games still count the same in Week 1 as they do in Week 17.  In other words, Week 17 is not the equivalent to the two-minute drill at the end of the 4th quarter.  

2. When I grow up, I want a voice like John Fox's.  Before the game, he used the term "bugaboo" to describe the Broncos' turnovers.  It sounded gritty and poetic all at the same time.  It's hard to fire a coach who sounds more like the Marlboro Man than Josh McDaniels .  His voice alone will probably buy him an extra year or two, although I'll have to get to those probability calculations another time.  Fox, like most coaches, is well known for talking but saying absolutely nothing.  Sometimes, though, his voice fools you into thinking that nothing is something.

3. John Elway on the sidelines during Stanford's game yesterday?  You don't say.  Dave Krieger asked Elway before the game if his focus was on the long or short term.  Elway said his view was "broader ranged" than John Fox's.  Make of this what you will, friends.

4. As expected, Von Miller is beginning (in the last several games) to see extra running backs and tight ends blocking him on the rush.  This is either good or bad, depending on how well Elvis Dumervil plays.

5. I've never seen an all-world cornerback look as irrelevant as Champ Bailey has looked in the last three years.  I wonder if he'll look back on the end of his career with fondness or as "the lost years."  At this pace, he's going to want to go into the HOF as a Redskin.

6. Now that you've crossed the Tebow bridge, there's no way you can go back, can you?  Can you?  No, really, can you?

7. Odds of cutting Kyle Orton to eliminate the distraction during the bye week?  Odds Brandon Lloyd switches positions again on the quarterbacks and proclaims Tebow "ready?"

8. You giving Robert Ayers any credit today?  If big plays count, he made them.  I'm not saying they didn't come to him, I'm just saying he "made" some big plays today.

9. Danger?  Excitement?  A Broncos fan craves not these things.  Bull.  Crave away.

10. It will take exactly one game for the rest of the NFL to adjust to Tebow's running game.  Let's hope Tebow adjusts as well.  All any sensible Broncos fan ever wanted, however, is to determine if Tebow is the answer at quarterback.  It appears as if we'll have 11 games to see.


You want some more?  Huh? You want a little?  Do ya?  Email TJ Johnson: tjthedudejohnson@gmail.com. Or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  Or come get some sugar at It’s All Over, Fat Man! on Facebook and Twitter.

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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