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Chris Simms should start at quarterback for the Broncos? Ha!

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Behold: The talent-evaluating acumen of one Woody Paige, Denver Post columnist and ESPN yukmeister, who last week called for backup Chris Simms to be given the starting quarterback job for the Broncos in place of Kyle Orton.

Be careful what you wish for, Woody. Because what you got blew.

Yesterday, Orton had a very strong first half against the Washington Redskins, going vertical twice with Brandon Marshall and consistently making smart decisions with the ball. Were it not for the defense inexplicably allowing the 'Skins to score on a gadget play they'd telegraphed before a time out (!), the Broncos would have had a comfortable halftime lead. But Orton wrenched his ankle shortly before intermission -- and afterward, Simms had a chance to prove what he could do.

Which turned out to be nothing.

Simms looked as if he wasn't sure what a football was, let alone how he should throw the damn thing. Even short outs proved to be beyond his current talents, at least on this day -- and realizing this, the Redskins were able to overload the line of scrimmage and shut down the running game, which had shown some legitimate signs of life during the first two quarters.

Lapses from the D, which is returning to earth following an incredibly fast start, certainly didn't help matters. But once again, they were left on the field too long, and Simms deserves the lion's share of the blame. For a while, he seemed as if he was going to find a way to actually register a negative quarterback rating. No such luck: He wound up with a 7.5 -- ineptitude on a cosmic level.

Today, the Post claims that Simms was doomed by a lack of practice time -- an excuse so weak that it couldn't bench-press a toothpick. As for Paige, who clearly has some 'splaining to do, he doesn't have a column this morning. Coincidence or conspiracy?

Whatever the case, the Broncos had better hope Orton recovers quickly -- because after their victory over the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday, the San Diego Chargers, Denver's next opponent, are poised to take over first place in the AFC West and send their rivals into an even deeper shame spiral.

As for Orton, who actually sheared his neckbeard prior to yesterday's matchup, demonstrating his commitment to the cause -- well, how do you like him now?

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