Seems everyone, from Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, to Denver’s receivers and even to the oddsmakers in Las Vegas, is taking the “wait and see” approach when it comes to Kyle Orton.
Denver’s quarterback limped off the field with an injured left ankle on his final play of the first half of Sunday’s 27-17 loss at Washington and did not return.
It is too soon to know if the ankle will keep Orton out of Sunday’s crucial game against AFC West rival San Diego at Invesco Field at Mile High, though the team remains hopeful that Orton will be ready, McDaniels said.
The Broncos won’t hold their first practice in preparation for San Diego until Wednesday, at which point Orton will get his first real chance to test the ankle.
“We’ll have to see if and when Kyle is ready to go, whether that’s Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, not at all, we’re going to see how that goes,” McDaniels said. “He’s definitely not out for the game. We’re certainly hopeful that we can get him ready to go. If he can’t practice, then it will be Chris (Simms), for sure.”
Don’t expect McDaniels to issue any definitive declarations on Orton’s status — or Simms’, for that matter — until later in the week.
And until McDaniels does, or at the very least until the Broncos issue their first injury report after Wednesday’s practice, the oddsmakers at the Las Vegas sports books have pulled Sunday’s game off the betting board.
Before the Broncos lost to Washington and the Chargers beat Philadelphia on Sunday, Denver was a 2.5-point favorite in the AFC West match-up this Sunday. That line is likely to flip in favor the Chargers, by as many as 3 or 3.5 points, if Simms is the expected starter, or 2-2.5 points if it appears likely Orton will play.
Simms will receive plenty more work with the first-team offense in practice this week than he has in months, since Orton was named the starter in June. Like most teams, once the team has a definitive starter, that player receives most, if not all, of the meaningful work in practice.
McDaniels and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy admitted Simms struggled during the second half Sunday when he replaced Orton, but both said the blame for the offense’s failure in those two quarters isn’t only because of Simms’ play. Simms completed only three of 13 passes for 13 yards, with one interception. His final passer rating was 7.5, while Orton — who went 11-of-18 for 193 yards and two touchdowns in the first half — had a rating of 134.7 in the first half.
“(Simms) missed a couple of plays that he wants to have back, but so does everyone else in the game,” McCoy said. “You’re not always going to be perfect, and it’s something he can learn from.”
Neither Orton nor Simms was available for comment Monday and neither was in the locker room during the 45 minutes it was open to the media.
But teammates said they were hopeful that Orton would make a quick recovery.