FBO: Orton's uphill climb to the top

QB may have struggled early in his career, but it was to be expected given his situation

Originally Published: November 9, 2009
By Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders
Kyle OrtonUS PresswireBroncos quarterback Kyle Orton's career has been anything but dull.

This week's "Monday Night Football" game features a 27-year-old quarterback coming into his own as a professional, one who took over as a rookie and rode an excellent defense to a gaudy record only to come up short in the playoffs. After dealing with some off-the-field issues, he's emerged as the bona fide deal, a legitimately superb quarterback with the ability to carry his team to victory through thick and thin.

Ben Roethlisberger? Yeah, he's good too. We'll take Kyle Orton for $995,000 this year, thanks.

In light of his success as the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback, it's time to re-evaluate Orton. Is he a game manager who relies upon his defense? A journeyman in the right places at the right times? A secretly effective quarterback who just wins? Let's go back to the beginning and give him a fair shake.

Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) is a staff writer for Grantland.