Sports Illustrated’s Peter King checks in this morning with some pretty lofty discussion of Denver and QB Kyle Orton’s prospects for the future:
As impressed as I am with Josh McDaniels in the wake of his 20-17 overtime victory over his mentor, Bill Belichick (I detailed much of that in last week’s column), I’m just as impressed with Orton. Will it last? I don’t know. Will the bubble burst? I don’t know. But right now, he’s every bit the surprising find to McDaniels’ Denver team as Tom Brady was to the Patriots in 2001.
Underline this and put it in your mental bold print: I’m not saying Orton is as good as Brady or ever will be; what I am saying is that he’s doing for the Broncos in 2009 what Brady did when Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury in 2001. Brady led the Patriots to a Super Bowl win no one saw coming. Can you sit there right now and say Orton might not do the same thing?
Could it really shake out like that? Yesterday afternoon I was discussing the Bengals on here, and mentioned that when a team has “it”—an intangible quality that obviously needs a better name—there’s no telling how far they can go. When a team wins a few games they’re not supposed to, the momentum tends to snowball, and suddenly the collective is far greater than the sum of the individual talents, and you’re talking about a group of average players that have the potential to beat just about anybody. The ultimate example, of course, is the 2001 Patriots team that Peter King compares the Broncos to this morning.
Could it be? Are we looking at a potential Super Bowl contender? It’s unclear, so far, and I think the skepticism of Kyle Orton and Josh McDaniels is still pervasive enough—if momentarily latent—so that most in the NFL don’t take the Broncos seriously as a title contender. Yet.
Because again, there’s no telling who a team can beat when they have that intangible quality working for them. And if the Broncos can keep winning, stay healthy, get home field advantage… Who knows where this run might take them? When a team has “it,” look out.