Give Chris Simms A Shot!!!
By Woody Paige
The Denver Post Posted: 11/11/2009 01:00:00 AM MST
All we are saying is give Simms a chance.
To give themselves a jump-start, the Broncos should give Chris Simms the start against Washington on Sunday.
The last time we saw Simms, in the first two exhibitions, he was completing 16-of-24 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns, without an interception, and looking sharp, more like a starter than the other quarterback. Then Simms sprained an ankle and hasn't played since.
Change would be good for the Broncos' soul-searching.
Kyle Orton hasn't performed awfully (except for the three interceptions Monday night). Yes, the Broncos still have won six games - but he is what he is - the 18th-best quarterback in the NFL. And the Broncos are a reflection of that number. They are 22nd in scoring (18.8 points per game), just ahead of the Titans, and behind, ahem, the Bears. They are 19th overall in offense, 17th in passing, 18th in rushing.
The Broncos are third overall in defense. Add the 18 and the 3 to get 21, divide by two for 10.5, and that's about where the Broncos realistically rank in the NFL after back-to-back defeats to Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
The Broncos were off to an unbelievable start this season but haven't gotten off to a distinctive start in any game. The field goal at the end of the first drive Monday accounted for their only opening-drive points of the season.
Josh McDaniels was intent on improving the Broncos' missing-link production of a season ago inside the 20-yard line. He has, but the problem is, they aren't making enough visits. The Broncos were in the ruby region zero times against the Steelers and the Bengals and once in the Ravens game. The offense scored three, 12 and seven points in those games.
It has been suggested, wisely, by my columnist colleagues at Postmortem that the Broncos start Correll Buckhalter at running back, which they did against Pittsburgh, and open up the offense, which they didn't do. It doesn't matter who starts at running back, and McDaniels can't unleash the offense with Orton.
McDaniels showed me his "War and Peace"-sized offensive playbook before the season, but he's able to use only a section that's about the size of the pamphlet "Popular Lawyers And Journalists."
He has to try Simms, and what's a more appropriate occasion than after two losses and in a game against the most politically incorrect and football-inept team in America? Washington: First in war, first in peace, last (again) in the NFC East.
When I suggested this move to a rather large cheese at The Post, he said: "Simms hasn't played since early in the 2006 season."
Orton only played three games in 2006-07 after being benched, following 15 starts in 2005, before the Bears went on to the Super Bowl. Simms has started 15 NFL games.
"Simms' spleen was ruptured. What if he gets hurt again?"
Simms can't hurt his spleen again. It was removed.
"The Bucs got rid of Simms."
The Bears got rid of Orton.
"What did Simms ever do when he was a starter?"
He started a postseason game, which is more than Orton has done.
"Yeah, but . . ."
Yeah, but Simms has a stronger arm. Orton's lack of arm strength was revealed twice against Pittsburgh when he tried to make throws off his back foot and couldn't get the ball to open receivers. And, Simms can scramble better than Orton, who can't get outside the rush, can't run the quarterback draw and can't throw back across his body.
"Simms is left-handed."
So were Steve Young, Ken Stabler and Boomer Esiason, who took their teams to Super Bowls.
And Simms looked stronger in training camp than Orton, and better in the exhibition games (until he got hurt), and McDaniels thought so much of Simms he gave him more money to sign here than Orton makes.
McDaniels told me he doesn't care to switch quarterbacks in midgame or midseason, but, then, he had Tom Brady as his quarterback at New England, and who's going to remove him? Last year the Patriots' quarterback was Matt Cassel, and there was no backup. (Name him for 10 points.)
Let's see what Simms has. The Broncos gave a chance to another quarterback whose father had won a Super Bowl. And Brian Griese, the Broncos' radio analyst last Sunday, has played with both Orton and Simms, and knows that Simms got a raw deal at Tampa Bay, and would be the starting quarterback for the Bucs now if they kept him.
Simms can't play any more awfully than Orton on the first drive and in the first quarter at D.C. And if he's terrible, McDaniels can return to Orton at halftime.
There's only one problem with this sensible solution: McDaniels, who traded a quarterback, won't have the inner workings to do it.
Woody Paige: 303-954-1095 or firstname.lastname@example.org