The Bears mortgaged part of their future to get Jay Cutler, but the Broncos will suffer very little in the short term with Kyle Orton as their new quarterback. In fact, if Orton wins the starting job – which isn't a certainty -- he'll throw more touchdowns than Cutler in 2009.
While throwing more touchdown passes wouldn't mean Orton is better, you'd still think if a team gives up two first-round picks for a QB, they'd at least get more points out of him. Here are five reasons Orton could out-score Cutler:
1. Receiving Corps: The Broncos' Brandon Marshall is a bona fide No. 1 receiver. Like Terrell Owens, Marshall is the kind of target that helps any quarterback bolster his stats. And the speedy Eddie Royal is the perfect No. 2 guy. The Bears need to do something to improve in this area. Cutler will have a hard time getting the ball to wideouts Rashied Davis, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester consistently.
2. Offensive line: The Broncos kept Cutler's jersey very clean all last season (11 sacks all season), whereas Bears' QBs had little time in the pocket last season. Chicago added Orlando Pace, but there's a lot of risk with the injury-laden 33-year-old left tackle, and overall the Bears still aren't strong up front.
3. Defense: The Broncos didn't do enough to fix their sieve-like defenses, and Orton could be racking up numbers from a couple touchdowns behind all season. Even though the Bears' defense has lost a little of its ferocity, coach Lovie Smith wants to play ball control offense and win with stout D.
4. Josh McDaniels – The offensive wunderkind didn't seem to have any interest in running the ball in New England. And he has no one to run the ball in Denver anyway. McDaniles should go to the air as much as he did with the Patriots the last two seasons. Meanwhile, the Bears will try to establish running back Matt Forte as one their primary offensive weapons.
5. Orton is underrated: Orton looked very good until he hurt his ankle last season in Chicago. He may not have Cutler's arm strength, but he has a stronger arm than Matt Cassel, who looked pretty good in McDaniels' offense. Orton probably just gets a bad wrap for having playing in the QB vortex that is Chicago.
Let me know what you think. If I'm wrong, don't hesitate to let me know this Fall.