To say the Kyle-Orton-for-Jay-Cutler trade has thus-far failed to live up to expectations in Chicago is an understatement.
The blockbuster deal hasn't worked out so well for the Broncos, either. If they remained as pleased with Orton's play as they were during the team's 6-0 start to the 2009 season, it's unlikely they would've sent fullback Peyton Hillis, a sixth-round pick in 2011 and a conditional 2012 pick to the Browns in exchange for ex-Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn on Sunday.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post, citing an NFL source, reports that Orton will remain the starter. However, a strong performance by Quinn in training camp, coupled with a poor performance by Orton, could change things heading into the season or set the stage for an in-season switch. Put it this way: Orton's grip on the starting job appears less vise-like in the wake of Sunday's deal, a development he's handling with aplomb.
""We've made a lot great moves this offseason and this is another one,'' Orton told Klis. ""He's a great player and I'll be happy to work with him.''
The Broncos lost eight of their last 10 games, casting doubt on everything from first-year coach Josh McDaniels to Orton to a defense that collapsed along with the team. McDaniels did give Orton a vote of confidence after the season. Orton also told the Post that he talked to McDaniels before the Quinn trade, which is unofficial pending physicals.
""I will keep that private but I do have total confidence that I'm the guy there,'' Orton told the Post when asked about his conversation with his coach. "Just like every year I'm going in to try and earn my starting job. I don't think I have anything to fret.''
(We interrupt this post to ask the following questions: Fret? When was the last time an athlete use the word "fret?")
Orton also took a indirect shot at the Bears, who anointed Rex Grossman the starter without letting Orton compete for the job heading into the 2007 season.
"'Whether you trade for a guy, or draft a guy, or you sign a guy in free agency, all you ask for is a chance for competition,'' Orton said. ""I've been in situations where that wasn't the case and that's the most frustrating deal. If you get beat out by a guy you can handle that. If you never have a chance to compete then that's a whole different story.''