I've been fighting doing another "KyLe ORtoN RaWkz GUiz" post since, well, my last one. I've posted one. I've read about 30, and the comments around here have the same argument on every post. A post that says "jackie battle is out" will get inundated with comments that say either "josh mcdaniels is a dumb dumb" or "kyle orton is the best/worst" or "Let's trade JC, Berry, Tamba, Flowers and every 1st round pick we will ever have for Andrew Luck"
Basically, this post is trying to offer some perspective. After arguing with one of my best friends about what this team should do at QB all season, I've looked into several different scenarios to determine that, unfortunately, there is no right answer. It's a crap shoot. That's why fantasy football is a multi-million dollar industry. That's why Madden is one of the biggest video gaming franchises ever. That's why "Monday Morning Quarterback" is a term. Everyone wants to show that their football mind is better than the real football minds. Better than their friends'.
Make the jump if you want comment fodder.
Random Thing #1a
Remember Trent Green? He's pretty much a local legend, right? He led some of the most exciting
Chiefs teams ever. Well, remember when he was TrINT? His first year with the Chiefs, Green had a TD:INT of 17:24. That's really bad. With the exception of 2004, when Trent was completely lights out (at age 34), Orton's numbers are already right on par with the numbers Trent was putting up regularly. There's no reason that, with more weapons than he's ever had at his disposal, an improved line can't help propel Orton over his career high of 3800 yards while maintaining his relatively tidy TD:INT ratio.
We gave up a first round pick for Green, a 31 year old injury prone quarterback, in 2001. In 2011, we had a 29 year old Kyle Orton-- with a better track record--fall in to our lap. I'm not saying he's an elite QB, but I don't believe Trent Green was elite either. He was a product of a fantastic system, the best O-line in history and some monumental rushing numbers. I'm fully aware that Kyle Orton isn't Aaron Rodgers, but he's also not Trent Dilfer (who, for being the main go to for crap QB play on a super bowl team, was an "all important" first round pick). If Trent Green's Chiefs teams wouldn't have played defense like they were in the Alamo Bowl, they would have been Super Bowl bound. If you don't believe that, I don't know why you're on this site.
Random Thing #1b
While we're on the subject of Trent Green, let's play a quick game of What Might Have Been, shall we? Although I just spent the last two paragraphs saying that Trent Green was completely serviceable and enough to win a Super Bowl, what if we HADN'T made that trade? You know the one where we gave up our 1st round pick in the 2001 NFL Draft for a 31 year old injury prone QB? The same draft in which we'd already given up our 2nd round pick for the right to our 95 year old Head Coach?
Now, this might be a stretch, but it's not outlandish. Michael Vick went first overall that year. The next QB didn't go until the first pick of the 2nd round (32nd overall). Let's just say, for argument's sake, that rather than trade our 1st round pick for Trent Green that year, we take the second highest rated QB in that draft. Well, even if we were reaching by drafting him 20 places earlier than he ended up going, I think pretty much everyone would be ok trading those few magical years with Trent for having Drew Brees for the last 11 years. I mean...I guess that would have been OK. I know it's never fair to look at a draft with such hindsight, but I'm going strictly by the logical argument that we needed a QB and took the best available, rather than trading.
Just a thought.
Random Thing #2a
Let's play a quick game of check the stats, shall we?
|1997||NCAA||Washington State Cougars||21||16||12||227||410||55.4||3968||34||11||8.3||2.7||330.7||9.7||158.7|
Those are the differences between the college stats of Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning in their final season. Let me go on record as saying that I don't think Andrew Luck is going to be a Ryan Leaf type screw up. I don't think he will be a screw up at all, actually, but when you're talking about trading away something like three 1st round picks and two 2nd rounders for an unproven commodity, I find a hard time pulling the trigger on that one.
Random Thing #2b
It's not like we were a few plays short of going to the Super Bowl last year. I think we are a team with an incredible amount of starting talent with little-to-no depth who won a weak division last year and got manhandled by the Ravens only to not be strong enough to win the same weak division the following year. Sure, we had some devastating injuries, but the Packers won the FREAKING Super Bowl after losing something like 528 players to injury last year (not an exact count).
If we can draft a person like DeCastro in the 1st and the best OT available in the 2nd and relegate current starters (Lilja and Richardson) to backup roles, we'll be in much better shape for the future. If we can strengthen our line this year and put them in a position to dominate for years to come, we'll be ready to bet the farm and trade away a chunk of our future to get whoever the 2013 or 2014 version of Andrew Luck is. Which brings me to...
Random Thing #2c
Every god damn year someone is the next (fill in the blank). Andrew Luck is the next Peyton Manning. Andrew Luck is the best prospect since Elway *gag*. RG3 is like Michael Vick, but bigger, smarter, stronger and more likely to cure cancer. For their sake, I hope that's true. I hope they both have Hall of Fame careers, and RG3 single-handedly cures cancer. If we made a move to draft either of them--despite the point of this post--I'd be ecstatic.
However, we mustn't forget the fact that every year players come out. Every year there is hype. Every year there are arguments. Andrew Luck isn't our last chance at this. This is why I, currently, support Kyle Orton. He is B- to B+ quarterback who is capable of being a top 10 type of guy with the the right situation. He's good. He may have glimpses of greatness, but he's completely disposable. We can love him, and he can lead us, until an Aaron Rodgers, Big Ben or Drew Brees slip to us in the draft. I have nothing against trading up a few spots, but when we're talking 5 picks of top 2 round talent, no thanks. I'd rather draft 5 QBs with those picks than risk that many on one player. I've got to think one would pan out before I used them all up (not that I would actually be in favor of doing that).
Random Thing #2d (I hope I don't make it to 2z)
I've always been a David Carr fan. I'm using him as an example because I like him and can't help but wonder what might have been. A cautionary tale of taking a QB without the proper pieces around him. A quarterback can definitely make those around him better, but he can't do that from a supine position (and rookie QBs are gonna need that extra tick).
I understand that Fresno St isn't Stanford, but Carr led them to an 11-3 record and beat Colorado, Oregon St and Wisconsin. He took them as high as #8 in the polls. I know these things because wikipedia tells me they are true. I also know that he is/was handsome with a live arm, and I would have loved for him to be the face of the Chiefs. Here's a quick side-by-side of his senior year compared to Luck's (up to this point).
|2001||NCAA||Fresno State Bulldogs||22||14||344||533||64.5||4839||46||9||8.6||1.7||345.6||9.1||165.9|
Carr was a first overall pick, and he deserved to be. He was also sacked
7,000 76 times his rookie year. No one will know for sure if he could have been a success under different circumstances, but it's hard to believe he didn't just have PTSD.
No one is a sure thing, and it helps a whole hell of a lot to set up a young QB for success. Again, I'd be giddy if we got Luck or Griffin III. Maybe my cynicism is based on the fact that I'm a realist who doesn't expect for Pioli to do what it takes to move up and get one of these guys, but I'm completely OK with putting together all of the other pieces and seeing what we have before we sacrifice being able to draft up and coming talent for 4 years to come. We would be setting ourselves up to miss out on kids with elite talent who AREN'T EVEN IN COLLEGE YET.
Is Andrew Luck really guaranteed to be better than Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford, Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers (Yes), Eli Manning, Michael Vick, et al? These are all QBs drafted in or around the first round since 1998 (Peyton). That's leaving out under the draft radar guys like Brady and Romo. Even if Luck is the best playing the position for his whole career, there will be alternatives. Picking between Brady, Rodgers, Brees and Peyton has been being picky about which Victoria Secret model to bed. Why would we believe that one will QB will be so head and shoulders above his competition?
There are a LOT of young QBs in the league. This gives us more of an opportunity to jump up and grab one in the next few years. Stay on target.
Random Thing #3 (finally)
To me, Cassel v Orton is a moot point by now. Even the people who would rather throw themselves in traffic than not be playing a rookie next year agree that Orton does everything--that doesn't involve mobility--better than Cassel. I'm fine bringing them both in next year, but we have to go with the guy with the more complete game.
Orton makes things work. I've heard a lot about Kyle Jeckyll and Kyle Hyde, but as documented in this wonderful post, it's apparent that the most Heinous, Drunken Kyle doesn't compare to a Non-Come at Me, Bro Cassel. Basically, if Cassel can be a Pro Bowl Alternate Cum Laude, Orton can make it without people dropping out. I'm not delusional. Neither option is elite. I get that.
Most importantly, Palko needs to never sniff a Chiefs uniform again. If that means Orton, Stanzi AND Cassel, so be it. I don't dislike Cassel. He just has a lot of shortcomings.
When it comes down to it, Orton finds the open man. He doesn't stare down his intended receiver and either a) force it if it's not there b) check to the flat. Next year, we're going to have a lot of weapons. If we're going to have a QB on our roster from this year starting, I want him to use all of the tools provided.
Regardless of what we do now, we need to at least be window shopping for a Franchise QB to draft sooner than later.