Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm Sorry Kyle

...that you have to put up with this god awful Denver sportwriting. Now, since the Cutler-Orton trade, I've operated, as have most intelligent Bears fans, on the following few assumptions.

1. Kyle Orton is a good quarterback.
2. Jay Cutler is a better quarterback than Kyle Orton
3. The Broncos have a more talented skill set on offense than the Bears.

This has led me to form the opinion that Kyle Orton will put up better numbers for the Broncos than he did for the Bears, but he will not put up the numbers Jay Cutler did in that same offense. Likewise, Jay Cutler will put up less impressive numbers in Chicago than he did in Denver, but will be much better than Kyle Orton was for the Bears last year. This makes any direct comparison between the statistics of the two absolutely pointless. That's why this article by some tool at the InDenver Times (InDenver? What the hell..?) named Hunter Ansley, entitled "The case for Kyle Orton as an upgrade" is a bit...well...terrible. So today I'm going to break this thing down. His quotes in italics.

There is now an unmistakable intertwinement lashing the New England Patriots to the Denver Broncos. When the second-biggest name in Broncos history walked away from the sidelines after an abysmal home stretch that saw the franchise drown in the wake of a possible playoff birth, Pat Bowlen turned to the Patriots and happily plucked their freshest face. From that moment on, there has been no mistaking whose team this is. The Broncos belong to Josh McDaniels.The rest of the rope comes from seemingly parallel circumstances that, on the surface, appeared damning to the future success of each program. For the Patriots it was the sickening deflation of watching Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard clear Tom Brady’s schedule. There’s still no word on the exact amount Giselle paid for all that extra “Tom time.”

I would suggest to anyone who is interested in writing something that will be read by the public that they should first glance at the Six Rules written by George Orwell in "Politics and the English Language," specifically Rule No.2 - never use a long word where a short one will do. "Unmistakeable intertwinement?" Seriously? How hard is it to say "there's an unmistakeable connection" or "they will forever be linked?" Anyways, apparently the euphemism for Pat Bowlen canning the most successful coach in Bronco's history is that he "walked away from the sidelines" The last two sentences of this paragraph are just pure garbage. I honestly can't tell what he means by "The rest of the rope comes from seemingly parallel circumstances that, on the surface, appeared damning to the future success of each program." He says in the next sentence that the damning circumstance for the Patriots is the destruction of Tom Brady's knee, which, given Bill Belichick's intelligence, would seem to dictate that he's probably well on his way to recovery or else they'd not have tossed Cassel away. And is he implicating that Giselle paid Bernard Pollard to take out Tom Brady's knee? Seriously...I have no idea what that lame attempt at a joke was meant to do.

But for the Broncos, the saga was more grueling, more excruciating, and so scintillatingly drawn out. Watching McDaniels and Jay Cutler slowly dig the trench between them was a tedious task. The fans in Denver weren’t afforded the luxury of having a split-second decision forcefully made for them. We watched. And we waited. And we all knew the eventual outcome, regardless of our allegiance. And when it came, the decision to trade Cutler was less painful than the process that preceded it.

Those poor Denver fans. It's not like they've mercilessly attacked every QB from Brian Griese (which I'm totally behind) to a relatively successful Jake Plummer in an unfair comparison to one of the top five quarterbacks of all time, one that, you know, retired a decade ago.

Now there is a new hope, though at first glance his springs seem less eternal. Kyle Orton is the 40-watt to Cutler’s halogen. But if you paid any attention in 2008, the electrician on the scene is tailor-made for the situation. If McDaniels can conjure an 11-win season out of a Brady-less Patriots team, how could anyone else be up to the task of replacing the most talented prima donna Mile High has ever seen?

"His springs seem less eternal." My lord I have never seen someone so bad at trying to make a clever play on words. I don't believe the expression has ever referred to actual, mechanical springs, which he's using here to talk about.....Kyle's....arms...? Also, I forgot Josh McDaniel's conjured an 11 win season out the Patriots. That Belichick asshole probably just took all the credit. It must have been hard to conjure 11 wins out of a team that only had a back up quarterback with four years of experience in the system, one of the best receiving corps in the league, a stellar offensive line, a top of the line defense, and one of the best (and most evil) head coaches ever. I mean he engineered one hell of a turnaround from a team that was a pathetic 16-0 last year.

There was an aftershock of dismay when the fans around Denver learned that divisional rival Kansas City had landed McDaniels’ golden goose, Matt Cassell. And when Orton, the man who had unselfishly charged himself with bringing the neck beard into the public eye, donned a different shade of orange and blue, the discontent blossomed.

Actually, I bet the dismay was more along the lines of "why the fuck are we going after Matt Cassel when Cutler is better?" And don't try to get on our good sides by mentioning the glorious neckbeard.

But what exactly did the Broncos get in Orton?

He’s certainly no Cutler. His arm won’t team with the ball to leave welts on receivers’ stomachs. But it is strong. Strong enough to battle the winds that whip through Soldier Field on a weekly basis. He won’t scramble like a bat out of hell to pick up a 3rd and 10, but he can move. He has consistently shown the ability to listen to his internal clock and evade pressure long enough to avoid statue status.

Other quarterbacks whose arms have been strong enough to throw in the overrated wind at Soldier Field- Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Brian Griese, Chris Chandler, Craig Krenzel, Steve Walsh. All textbook examples of strong arms. I want you to note in this paragraph how he dismisses Cutler's ability to run for first downs and praises Orton's ability not to get sacked. It'll be important later.

Perhaps more important, he won’t force passes into triple coverage because of a fallible sense of hubris in his arm strength. Orton has been labeled a “safe quarterback.” While that stigma may cause cringes in the guts of those used to watching a take-no-prisoners gunslinger whip the ball across the field, it should be viewed as an upgrade.

This is my favorite myth ever- the caretaker quarterback. Proponents of this theory usually point to Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson and say that you don't need a good quarterback to win the Superbowl. Its mostly crap. True, you can make the quarterback far less important if you happen to have one of the greatest defenses of all time, but for the most part a working offense is necessary to get anywhere in the NFL. Kyle was not a "safe quarterback" for the first half of the year he was flinging it with the best of them and made smart decisions. Then the ankle injury occurred, and while it slowed him briefly, it cannot be the sole reason for the incredibly poor decisions, and I really hate saying this, that he made down the stretch last year during his 121-221, 54.8%, 1,195 yd, 170.7 ypg, 5.4 YPA, 8 td, 8 int, 67.2 rating second half. Some of the awful interceptions thrown in the game at Minnesota, the miracle win against Green Bay, and the poor game against the Saints were just plain terrible passes.

There’s no denying the fact that Cutler was forced to pass more often than Einstein in elementary school, but the sidelines exist for a reason. There is a back to each end zone that provides more intelligent quarterbacks with a safe haven for the ball when the receivers are hidden behind defenders. Cutler ignored these areas more times than not. His 18 interceptions were second only to the aging Brett Favre’s. Orton and his 12 picks took a back seat to Cutler. His numbers had him tied with Peyton Manning and ahead of Tony Romo and Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger.

Actually Albert Einstein didn't speak until he was four and was mostly a poor student in his early years, and a few teachers actually described him as mentally slow, so there goes yet another of his lame attempts at wordplay. Also, way to point out, while apparently making the argument that interceptions are just the worst team destroying thing ever, that the Super Bowl Champion Quarterback had more of them than Kyle Orton. Also, I'll take 25-18 vs 18-12.

I know what everyone is thinking. Cutler may have turned it over at an accelerated rate, but he sure scored more. But take a look at the seasons both were having before Orton injured his ankle in week nine. Through eight games, Cutler had found the end zone 15 times through the air, but he’d also found an opponent on 10 occasions. Orton was looking like his team’s MVP with an efficiently productive 10-4 ratio. The Broncos were 4-4, having just dropped three straight contests. The Bears were 5-3 coming off of back-to-back victories.

Everyone is thinking that because its true. And logical. And its why Jay Cutler is a better quarterback. And apparently, the fact that Bears were 1 game better than the Broncos at the half is proof positive that Kyle is better than Cutler....how? Whether the Bears had won two in a row the Broncos had lost 3 in a row is irrelevant...it's one game.

And before you tell me the Bears defense was light years ahead of Denver’s, I’ll remind you that a mere 40 yards per game separated the two statistically. Is it just me, or is Orton’s facial hair looking a little less unkempt and a little more chic?

Wow. This is just an awful use of statistics. For the record that "mere" 40 yards difference was the difference between the Bears 21st ranked defense and the Broncos 29th. Hell, if its just a mere 40 yards, lets subtract 40 yards from the Bears and see where that puts them...oh, apparently that makes them a top 10 defense. Which they clearly weren't. Also, the Bears allowed 21.9 ppg, the Broncos allowed 28.0 ppg. So yeah, as crappy as the Bears defense was last year, they Were light years ahead of the Denver.

Now factor in the truth that in Chicago he played behind a line that allowed 29 sacks while Cutler roamed free behind the NFL’s best blockers and was only taken to the turf a dozen times. And the weapons around each passer? It’s not even close. Kleenex Jay was gifted with Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal and Tony Scheffler. Gillette Orton had . . . Devin Hester. When you get right down to it, bringing in a guy who enjoyed even a deli slice of success with perhaps the worst receiving corps in the country is a good move when you consider the skill-spike in playmakers he’ll now get to utilize. Orton will only get better with upgraded talent fighting beside him. Yes, he will miss Matt Forte in the backfield, but the Broncos just plucked Knowshon Moreno with the 12th pick. There wasn’t a more talented runner in the draft who catches the ball as well as the newest face of the Denver ground game.

See this is why I told you to pay attention earlier when he ignored Cutler's mobility but praised Orton's ability to avoid the rush. Here he points out how many times Orton got sacked and ignores the possibility that Cutler's mobility contributed to the low number of times he was sacked. You know what's a better move than bringing in a guy who had a little amount of success last year with a less talented offense than the one he's moving to? Keeping the guy who had a Lot of success with that same offense.

Pat Bowlen works in mysterious ways. Though it may have been viewed as literally dropping the ball, missing out on Cassell was the best thing that could have happened to this franchise. If Cutler’s departure was a foregone conclusion, and it was, then bringing in a quarterback who fits McDaniels’ system as well as his former New England protégé was a coup.

Ho. Ly. Shit. Did this guy literally just switch gears in the middle of an article about Orton being an upgrade over Cutler into Orton being an upgrade over Cassel...who was never a Bronco? That's just horrible writing.

Orton has been playing in a Chicago system that stressed his weaknesses. He was never a smooth fit in a vertical scheme. Finding a round hole for a circular quarterback is paramount. I don’t care how good of a kayaker you are, you’ll always lose to a cyclist in a road race. This is a quarterback who put up 31 touchdowns against only five interceptions in a collegiate offense that more closely resembles what McDaniels will do than any other offense in the league. And what was Cassell doing during Orton’s spectacular senior season? He was in his final year of modeling Trojans ball caps while studying the moles on the back of Pete Carroll’s neck.

Wait. The Bears have a vertical scheme? Is that why Orton only attempted 59 passes longer than 20 yards out of his 465 attempts for a whopping 12.6%? You're right, Ron Turner's a regular Air Coryell. Also, I can say that whatever Orton or Cassell did in college is irrelevant now, given that they're both in their 5th year in the NFL and Cassell performed well (albeit as a system quarterback) last year, proving his lack of college experience was probably mitigated by three years learning the system behind one of the best quarterbacks in history.

So, while Cassell may have been the popular choice to replace Cutler, this season will see Brady’s former backup work to avoid a sophomore slump for the first time since his second year of high school football. Orton, on the other hand, will be settling in as a fifth-year veteran of the league. While Cassell gazed at his cuticles grasping a clipboard on so many sidelines, Orton was learning by doing at the highest level in the world. His arm is stronger. His active career has been longer, and his future is brighter because you cannot inject experience into a player. I don’t care what Major League Baseball says.

Orton was drafted in 2005. Cassell was drafted in 2005. Meaning...wait for it, yes, Cassell is actually Not a sophomore, and is in fact also a fifth year veteran, one with 30 career games vs. Orton's...33. Orton has been a full time starter for two of his four previous years, and sat the bench the two years in between, Cassell has been a full time starter for one year. The difference in experience between the two is hardly that extreme. Also, way to end with yet another horrible, horrible joke. This guy's so horrible at his job I'm astounded he doesn't work for the Sun Times.

Well, Kyle, good luck in Denver, just don't answer any of this guy's questions.