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Kyle Orton: ESPN's Jason Smith thinks you shouldn't get too comfortable as Broncos' starting QB

Yesterday, Kyle Orton appeared at a press conference for the first time since the Broncos obtained the services of former Cleveland Browns hunkster Brady Quinn. Among his comments: He appreciated that coach Josh McDaniels confirmed that he remains the starting quarterback.

Which is all very nice, but as we noted last month, this nicety means nothing in the grand scheme of things -- and ESPN Radio's Jason Smith agrees.

During his overnight broadcast, he referenced Orton's comments before noting that Quinn has been the Broncos' biggest offensive acquisition of the off-season to date. Smith feels that should send KO a message about how comfortable he should be in the starting role: not very.

Presumably, Orton understands that -- but perhaps not too clearly. Instead of focusing on the competition with Quinn during the press conference, he said that he would concentrate on improving in Joshie McD's system.

In some ways, these remarks are laudable. One of the most important tools in any quarterback's arsenal is confidence, and Orton is demonstrating that he's well equipped in this regard. But McDaniels appears to view Quinn as the Broncos' QB of the future, and Orton will have to do something pretty spectacular -- or Quinn will have to be downright dreadful -- to change his mind.

The odds that Quinn will underperform are better than chances that Orton will take his play to the next level. KO's finest attributes are steadiness and discipline when it comes to his own limitations. That makes it unlikely that he'll suddenly bloom into the lost Manning brother.

Of course, Donovan McNabb would almost certainly have been an upgrade over both of these guys -- yet McDaniels allowed his predecessor, Mike Shanahan, to snap him up. Even without McNabb in orange, though, Orton faces an uphill struggle to start for the Broncos, as ESPN Radio's Smith rightly emphasized overnight.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts