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Kyle Orton winds up under the bus again

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Another day, another dopey Denver Post sports column about Broncos QB Kyle Orton.

First, it was Woody Paige arguing that Orton should be benched in favor of backup Chris Simms -- an idea whose stupidity was proven by Simms' ineptitude after coming in for an injured KO against the Redskins. And now, Mark Kiszla argues that if Orton doesn't play against San Diego this weekend despite an ankle injury, "he is done as the quarterback in Denver."

Are you kidding me?

I admit that I, too, had grave doubts about Orton when the season began, likening him to the second coming of Brian Griese -- not a good thing. But as the season's gone on, he's proven himself to be smarter and more capable than I'd anticipated -- and his first half against the 'Skins was as good as Simms' was putrid.

So why the lack of love? Granted, Orton's got limitations -- enough to suggest that he's probably not the long-term solution at quarterback in coach Josh McDaniels' eyes. But he's an ideal caretaker should McDaniels want to draft the future of the franchise next year -- someone who can keep the team running until the new guy's ready and provide steady support through the transition and beyond. And if such a player isn't available or doesn't develop as expected, Orton's a solid option to remain in a starting role.

In other words, throwing Orton out with the garbage if he can't play against the Chargers, especially considering that he had zero to do with the team's most recent loss, is flat-out moronic. If he's not well enough to play, he shouldn't play and risk further injury: period.

The Broncos have at least three more likely victories on their remaining schedule if Orton's under center: two games against Kansas City, one against Oakland. And would they win with Simms starting? Not if he performs anything like he did this past weekend.

Bottom line, Orton isn't getting nearly enough respect -- and although he's probably used to it by now, that's no reason to prematurely punch his ticket out of town.

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