New Denver starting QB Kyle Orton, who was acquired from Chicago in the off-season, threw interceptions on each of his first three offensive series. San Francisco’s offense didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard, but it did do enough to eke out a 17-16 NFL preseason victory before their home fans.
The good news for Orton is that despite his three interceptions and a solid backup performance by Chris Simms. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has been steadfast in his support. Orton appeared thankful of this fact in his postgame comments:
“That’s great. That’s certainly what you need in this league is the support of your coach. I’m not worried about it. I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself. I think my team has a lot of confidence in me. … I don’t want to make those decisions and throw three interceptions.”
Orton was acquired after McDaniels relationship with NFL pro bowler Jay Cutler soured due to his effort”and subsequent denial”that he was trying to move the quarterback. Its been a rough start to Ortons tenure in Denver”he was even booed during a public scrimmage after throwing an interception.
McDaniels put Orton’s struggles and the loss into perspective:
“I feel very confident in where we’re at. There’s no reason to start tailspinning into this and that when we’ve only had one preseason game.”
Even when Orton got decent pass protection, San Franciscos rapidly improving defense was able to disrupt the passing lanes. Niners’ cornerback Nate Clemens in particular was a huge factor, hauling in one of Ortons three miscues. After the game he commented on the play:
“I saw the route and played my responsibility and he threw it. I like seeing all of our defensive backs get interceptions and just making plays because we’re game breakers.”
The Niners have yet to name a starting quarterback with both Shaun Hill and Alex Smith under consideration. Hill spoke of his first preseason action:
“We were able to move the ball and we had a big conversion on third down. That last sack kind of hurt us. That was completely on me. The offensive line did a great job out there. So I’d like to have that play back and I feel like we could have gotten seven out of that.”
Smith was just happy to be back on the field after missing the entire 2008 season due to injury:
“Obviously, I was raring to go when I got out there. It’s been a long time for me, so I was pretty amped up.”
Denver will head to the Pacific Northwest for a game against the Seattle Seahawks next Saturday night. San Francisco, meanwhile, will host their local rivals the Oakland Raiders.
Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and respected authority on football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Southern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.