Boy, I wouldn’t want to be Kyle Orton.
It’s a little like being Tarvaris Jackson, only with the opposite problem: Instead of having a doddering warhorse like Brett Favre hovering over your job, it’s young and immensely popular Tim Tebow.
And if Favre ultimately decides that the only football he wants to play from here on will be with those guys in the Wrangler commercials, fans will accept the transition to Jackson as the Minnesota Vikings’ starting quarterback, because Favre had to retire sometime.
Yet Orton’s situation is much more unenviable. He is presumably the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. He’s the incumbent. And Tebow was drafted in the first round presumably to strengthen the depth at the position, but also to provide some nifty options with his running ability.
But Tebow is a popular sensation. His jersey is the No. 1 seller in the NFL. Fans are eager to see if he can produce the magic that he generated while at Florida. And he seems to have already reduced Brady Quinn to an afterthought, although Quinn has contributed mightily himself to that effort.
Whenever Orton stumbles in the regular season, fans will be chanting for Tebow. When Orton tosses a pick, cameras will fixate on Tebow standing on the sidelines. When Orton gets sacked, fumbles, or otherwise fails to move the Broncos’ offense, murmurs for his benching will give way to outright shouts for Tebow.
That doesn’t mean Tebow will get the job done, either. His throwing motion is still shaky, he’s slow to deliver the football, and he’s a rookie, which means he will look bewildered when the regular season begins and first-string defenders torment him with complicated coverages.
But this is just an intensified version of that football axiom that says the backup quarterback is often the most popular guy on the field. When you have a player who is popular for that reason, plus popular in general, it doesn’t bode well for Mr. Orton’s peace of mind.
Carmelo will be the anti-LeBron
Carmelo Anthony should thank LeBron James.
James, after all, is a pioneer in the field of crisis mismanagement. He took a decision on free agency, which should be a positive development in anyone’s career, and turned it into a crisis. Then he badly mismanaged the aftermath.
I’m sure now that Carmelo will be determined to be the anti-LeBron when it’s time to make a decision on his own career.
Carmelo told the Denver Post recently that he has not yet decided whether to accept the three-year, $65 million contract extension that has been offered to him by the Denver Nuggets.
But whatever he does, there’s an excellent chance he won’t announce his decision on a ballyhooed ESPN special. It’s likely too that he also won’t make a splashy appearance on a stage in front of adoring fans like some Broadway musical gone horribly awry. And I can’t see Carmelo Tweeting about how he’s going to make a list of all the people who criticized his decision.
Yes, just like it’s important for today’s current stars to thank the guys who came before them for creating a thriving and lucrative NBA, so too should Carmelo express gratitude to LeBron for providing so many teachable moments in the “Don’t let this happen to you” category.