Second in a series taking a look at the Redskins quarterback options. Today: Kyle Orton.
Why it makes sense: Because he’s not Rex Grossman. Because in 71 career games Orton has thrown just 57 interceptions. Compare that to Grossman who has thrown 60 in 54 career games. Orton won’t force as many passes as Grossman, which obviously was a problem last season. He’s not a runner, but he knows how to move in the pocket, something this offense demands. One person who has worked with Orton in the past said, “Mike [Shanahan] would do a good job with Kyle. I really like him. He’s a starter with limitations, but there are a lot of guys like that.” The Redskins were interested in Orton when he was on waivers, but did not claim him. CSNWashington reported it was because of potential locker-room friction with Grossman. One league source said it was as much salary related (Orton would have been owed $3 million for one month’s work). By signing Orton, clearly a cheaper alternative than Peyton Manning, it would enable the Redskins to focus elsewhere in the draft – and still have a good chunk of change to spend in free agency. They likely would still draft a quarterback. If they view Orton as a one or two year guy, then maybe it could work – especially if they upgraded the receiving corps to pair with a less error-prone QB.
Why it doesn’t: Because, in the end, it may be an upgrade over Grossman – but by how much. As one NFL source said, “The guy ultimately makes mistakes. He’s not a great deep thrower. He’s better than what they’ve got, but ultimately he’s not what you want.” Orton would be on his fourth team in five years. Is a guy like that really considered an upgrade? He has played in 71 games and has a passer rating of 79.4. He has thrown 80 touchdown passes to 57 interceptions, but he’s only a career 58.3 percent passer. He averages 6.6 yards per pass attempt and his average of 6.98 yards per attempt last season (in nine starts for Denver and Kansas City) ranked 18th. There’s another quarterback with similar numbers. In 71 games this QB has thrown 74 touchdowns to 50 interceptions; has a career rating of 82.8 and averages 6.8 yards per attempt. His name: Jason Campbell. But both certainly beat Grossman’s numbers in 54 games (54 TDs, 60 INTs, 6.6 yards per attempt, 55.2 percentage, 71.4 passer rating). In the end, as the source said, you’ll still be wanting – and needing – more than what Orton can deliver. “We’ve seen all we need to see of Kyle Orton,” one scout said.
Chance it happens: Decent. They were interested in him when he was waived. If Peyton Manning goes elsewhere, the Redskins could still sign Orton and draft a QB to groom. It’s a strong option. But it should be for a young guy who only needs to sit a year. Shanahan’s quest is to find a QB who can lead him to a Super Bowl. Orton is not that guy, but he could serve as the bridge to the guy who can.
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