Few NFL quarterbacks can prosper without a strong system of support in place.
For Kyle Orton, recognizing that the Broncos offered that system took a matter of minutes.
“I thought that from day one, this was a great fit for me,” Orton said. “I had a lot of confidence when the trade happened. I was excited about the trade and excited for what I and we could do in this system.”
The “we” he was referring to was his relationship with Head Coach Josh McDaniels. Like Orton, McDaniels had few doubts regarding what his new quarterback was bringing to the table.
“Put on any film of Kyle Orton and you will see a smart football player that has always had a lot of responsibility at the line of scrimmage identifying the defense, getting his team into the right situations,” McDaniels said. “That is what we ask him to do here, and he has done a nice job of it.”
With that confidence in tow, the Broncos are seeing results on the field.
On August 14, Orton had a rocky preseason debut against the 49ers, finishing with three first-half interceptions. Some naysayers were born in the process, questioning him as he worked to learn a complicated offense.
Two months to the day, Orton addressed the media regarding his title as AFC Offensive Player of the Week. His 330 passing yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots yielded the first such honor of his career.
Orton called the award “the topping” to a special win, adding that the most gratifying part was seeing his productivity off the field emerge on the field.
“Just the excitement that we had after the win and all the hard work that we put into the week and all the preparation, it was certainly great to get the results that we did,” Orton said.
That preparation has not stopped since his first day in Denver. Traded to the Broncos on Thursday, April 2, Orton said his bond with his new playbook began the following morning and has lasted ever since.
Part of that process was eased along by his teammates, including Brandon Marshall, who were also learning a new offense. Through five games this season, Orton has connected with Marshall for a team-high 24 catches, 283 yards and four touchdowns.
“He’s doing a great job just throwing the ball,” Marshall said of Orton. “Just hats off to Kyle, man, but it all goes to how he prepares himself. He puts in a lot of work.”
Much of the motivation to put in that work has stemmed from McDaniels’ unwavering support. Orton said he’s never had a coach demonstrate such trust in his skills.
The result so far? Five wins in five games, with a continued emphasis on getting better.
“Just looking back, I’m happy that he stuck with me and had confidence in me,” Orton said. “That obviously does a lot for a quarterback.
Here are some more photos from the start of today’s session, including Correll Buckhalter, who was out on the practice field.
– Chris Gentilviso, DenverBroncos.com