With the Chiefsputting in a claim on Kyle Orton, several questions jump out. How does this move impact the AFC West race and the overall playoff picture in the conference? Is this a good move or bad move for Kansas City? Will the Broncos regret releasing Orton now that he ends up with a division rival?
As if the Broncos didn't have enough twisted drama for one season, they've somehow found a way to create more. The decision by the Chiefs to claim Kyle Orton makes perfect sense for them -- and it's for that reason that Denver could have easily predicted this scenario. You know, the one that will include Orton heading to Denver in Week 17 to play for what easily could be a playoff spot.
John Elway has done little to disguise his suspicion about Tim Tebow's potential, and while I'm not suggesting this is some conspiracy to lessen Denver's chances at the playoffs, I can't imagine a team with confidence in its postseason aspirations making a similar move. If Orton manages to ignite the Chiefs to a late-season run (it isn't likely, but it IS possible), the Broncos better use the money they saved on him to provide the necessary spark to defeat the Chiefs in that final game. Otherwise? This is going to look terrible.
The Chiefs' acquisition of Kyle Orton does little to impact the AFC West. Although he's been moderately successful as a starting quarterback, he rates as a marginal player with limited abilities. He lacks the arm strength to excel in a vertical attack and is prone to turning the ball over at inopportune times. While he posted good numbers over the past two seasons, defenses quickly figured out his game and he struggled making adjustments on the fly, which significantly contributed to the Broncos' woes.
In Kansas City, Orton represents a slight upgrade over Tyler Palko, but I would argue that it would be better for the Chiefs to see if the young guy could be a solid player. While the Chiefs probably believe they still have a shot at the division, I don't think Orton has the talent or leadership to get them over the hump. They will soon find out that he's strictly a .500-caliber quarterback incapable of delivering wins in the clutch.
The move by Kansas City can do nothing but help. For the Chiefs to have a shot in the wide-open AFC West, getting an NFL-ready QB was a must. As game as Tyler Palko is, he's not the answer.
Will the Broncos rue the day that they let Kyle Orton go, and see him picked up by a division rival? The thing they'll definitely regret is turning down any potential offers for Orton in the preseason.
I'm not surprised the Chiefs claimed Orton. They are only two games out of first place and have a 2-2 division record. It would be very interesting if it comes down to the last game of the year in Denver. What happens if he tears it up and gets the Chiefs a division title? They could always put a transition tag on him and retain his services if they wanted to.
The Kyle Orton move doesn't mean much in the broad scheme of things, at least if you view it in the prism of the AFC playoff picture. The Chiefs are two games back in the division and, at this point, a non factor regarding the wild-card chase. You can't expect Orton to start vs. the Steelers on Sunday. So, that said, if the Chiefs fall to a solid Pittsburgh team, they'll drop to 4-7. Meanwhile, the 6-4 Raiders face a Chicago team with Caleb Hanie starting for the first time in his career. There's a very good chance that, after this weekend, Kansas City is three games back with five to play. Barring something out of the ordinary, I don't see the Chiefs being relevant come the postseason. Also of note: The Chiefs have one of the toughest schedules in the league over the next six weeks.
Besides, so many of Orton's numbers the last couple of years came in garbage time. The bottom line: Denver was 1-4 with him starting this season. I don't believe Todd Haley has ever been in Matt Cassel's corner. If Orton plays well, perhaps the Chiefs attempt to retain him, a potential playoff berth notwithstanding. Otherwise, outside of a couple of wins down the stretch, this could very well be much ado about nothing.