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10-16-2009, 08:29 AM
Orton’s confidence growing with Broncos

By Brian Howell
© 2009 Longmont Times-Call

Kyle Orton didn’t get off to a great start with the Denver Broncos — at least in the eyes of the fans.

When Orton became a Bronco on April 2, he instantly had something to prove, since he was acquired in the trade that sent young, Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler to Chicago.

Then he was booed by the home fans during a intrasquad scrimmage. And then he threw three interceptions in his preseason debut.

Through it all, the Broncos never lost faith.

“I know there was a lot made out of our first preseason game and everything, but just looking back, I am happy that (head coach Josh McDaniels) stuck with me and had confidence in me,” Orton said. “That obviously does a lot for a quarterback.”

Five games into the regular season, Orton is proving his worth. He has the Broncos at 5-0 and is playing as well as he’s ever played during his career.

“He has played better and better in (the Broncos’ system) each week,” McDaniels said.

Orton was named AFC offensive player of the week after his performance Sunday in a 20-17 overtime win against New England. He completed 35 of 48 passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns.

This season, he’s completing 63 percent of his passes (104-of-165) for 1,236 yards and seven touchdowns. His only interception came against New England on a Hail Mary pass to close the first half.

Orton said he can get even better because he’s still learning the Broncos’ offense.

“It was the most that I have worked in the offseason,” he said. “I think the trade happened on Thursday afternoon, and since that Friday morning, I haven’t really stopped putting myself in the playbook.”

After four seasons with the Bears — two as a full-time starter — Orton said he loves being in Denver.

“I thought that from Day 1 this was a great fit for me,” he said. “I was excited about the trade and excited for what I, and we, could do in this system.”

Can Orton become an elite quarterback? McDaniels isn’t sure, but he’s not concerned about that.

“All I really care about is that he can help us win,” McDaniels said.