Shmuck of the Week: Mark Kiszla, sports columnist extraordinaire

You don't expect much from your daily-newspaper sports columnists these days. Sentences that make sense, some well-placed punctuation, maybe a bad pun or two. But while our expectations have been lowered over the years by the likes of Woody Paige and Skip Bayless and whoever else shows up in the corners of our sports pages, this effort by the Post's Mark Kiszla made Paige look downright sober.

After the Broncos' lifeless loss to the Redskins on Sunday, Kiszla somehow came to the conclusion that quarterback Kyle Orton was hiding on the bench rather than reenter the game:

But here's betting that if Kyle Orton is not in the huddle for the upcoming must-win game against San Diego, he is done as the quarterback in Denver.

While you might consider that assessment harsh, the NFL is a brutal business.

Orton cannot lead a reeling team or win a long-term contract from the Broncos by standing on the sideline, as he did during an embarrassing loss to Washington.

Orton, of course, is the same guy that led the Broncos to 6-0 with a dislocated finger -- moving them when he needed to, rarely turning it over, doing everything Jay Cutler couldn't. Kiszla pointed that out. Then he went on to question the way Orton was using his crutches:

But there remained nagging thoughts in my head as Orton leaned on crutches, clearly in discomfort but looking more nimble than I expected, as he made the rounds down the hallway and through a cramped visitors' locker room after Denver's offense disappeared in his absence and the Broncos gave up 13 points to Washington in the fourth quarter.

It's not that the assessment is harsh. It's that it doesn't make any sense. If the Broncos decide to hold out Orton for another week, and he returns on Thanksgiving to lead the Broncos to another win, he's "done?"

Where do these guys get this shit?

Anyway, because these record-setting leaps of logic drive me crazy, and because I suspect Orton's beard is tougher Kiszla ever was, I hereby declare Kiszla the Shmuck of the Week. May he accidentally stab himself with a pen when leaping to cheer a Chris Simms touchdown throw this weekend.

Meet more shmucks in our Shmuck of the Week archive.

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Joe Tone
Contact: Joe Tone