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The Last Defense of Kyle Orton

by Kevin Kelly
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Flickr :: rikdom

Orton isn't a bad option for the ailing Cowboys

Here we go, once more. Here is insane Kevin Kelly backing up Kyle Orton one more time. However, let’s get one thing straight. If he fails against the Eagles on Sunday night, that’s it. No more support coming from this guy.

Being a long time Broncos fan, I know what it’s like to root for Kyle Orton. I know what it’s like to defend him in conversations with every single person who likes football and has half a brain. I know what it’s like to defend his standing as a legitimate quarterback and say he is a top 10 or at least top 15 QB.

Admittedly, at some point it got to be severely irrational, but now I have potentially reached a whole new level of stupidity. On this day, irrational is my middle name.

Orton has always managed to disappoint, yet something inside still urges me to defend him one last time.

The 31-year old is uncomfortably close to his first start in a Cowboys uniform and many have already written off the boys from Dallas after hearing Tony Romo is officially done for the season. The common sentiment seems to be that the Eagles are going to march into North Texas and destroy the ailing Cowboys. I like to think it will at least be a game and that my last defense of Orton will not be all for naught.

Let me get all of the negatives out of the way first and as quickly as possible.

He is not exactly nimble, he is not particularly good at winning football games, he hasn’t played in very many big games, he has only played in 12 games in the past three seasons combined, and he has been sacked a whopping 132 times in 74 games played. Now, he’s not as bad as “Robo-Sack” Rob Johnson in that regard (140 sacks in 48 games played), but he’s not good.

Side note: The Bills should have started Flutie. Stupid Wade Phillips.

Anyway, Orton is going to have to stay off the turf on Sunday night.

On the bright side, Orton is a veteran. He has seen his fair share of NFL games (35-34 in 69 NFL starts) and he has had almost two seasons with Dallas to learn everything he needs to know about the Cowboys’ offense.

On the even brighter side, the Eagles allow 285.2 passing yards per game. That’s awful, and enough for 30th in the league. It just so happens that Kyle Orton is good at racking up large amounts of yards. He threw for 3,802 yards in 2009 and 3,653 yards in 13 games in the 2010 campaign. Look for Orton to throw for a lot of yards on Sunday. He’s capable and the Cowboys have an outrageous obsession with throwing the football.

There is one last major positive for Orton. History has shown that he is good at throwing to good receivers. Back in 2009, he connected with Brandon Marshall 21 times to set the NFL record for receptions in a game. Luckily for Orton, he can air it out to Dez Bryant. Not too bad.

One of the many things you often have to hope for when rooting for Orton is a touch, or a whole heaping pile, of luck. Exhibit A: The Immaculate Deflection (Please ignore the fact that Denver had only scored 6 points up until that point in the game).

Some luck, a good day passing to Dez Bryant, and a lot of total yards could be enough to keep the Eagles out of the playoffs and allow the Cowboys to capture the NFC East crown.

If Kyle Orton finds a way to help Dallas win the NFC East title on Sunday night, he won’t just be silencing his own doubters, but also all of the people doubting the Cowboys. There is a lot on the line for a guy who has hardly provided football fanatics with a single reason to remember his name.

I can only hope that my last defense of Kyle Orton doesn’t turn out to be the most “insanely idiotic” I have ever written. 

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