Orton says he’s sore but not injured

Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton says he’s sore but not

injured.

”I don’t have a dead arm,” Orton insisted when asked about his

poor play the last two weeks. ”I was throwing the ball 70 yards

last week in practice, so my arm’s feeling fine.”

Other parts of him are bruised and battered, though.

Orton suffered bruised ribs against the Cardinals on Sunday but

stayed in the game, leaving rookie Tim Tebow on the sideline

again.

Interim coach Eric Studesville reiterated Wednesday that he’s

sticking with Orton as his starter when the Broncos (3-10) visit

Oakland (6-7) this weekend.

Orton has gone from a prolific passer to a pedestrian one in

losses at Kansas City and Arizona sandwiched around the firing of

his biggest booster, former coach Josh McDaniels, who was sent

packing amid the team’s worst skid in four decades and the Spygate

II videotaping scandal.

In the first 11 weeks, Orton averaged 306 yards passing. Over

the last two, he’s averaged just 141.

He’s been sacked a career-high 34 times already and it shows.

He’s spent plenty of time in the training room this week and was

more than a half-hour late to his weekly news conference Wednesday

because he was getting treatment.

”Just sore,” Orton said, declining to say which body parts

were bothering him.

Orton refused to blame his poor play this month on all the bumps

and bruises, and Studesville said that while everybody is banged up

this time of the year, he didn’t believe his quarterback was

hurt.

How then does he explain Orton’s drastic dive the last two

weeks?

”That’s the question we’re trying to answer and that’s why

we’re working at it, the coaches are working at it, he’s working at

it,” Studesville said. ”We’re all taking great pride in

(recognizing) that it has been a problem the last two weeks. And

we’re trying to solve those problems.

”And the best way to solve it that we know is to go to work, is

to keep working and trying to get everybody on the same page,

everybody doing what they have to do: offensive line, the backs,

the tight ends, the receivers and the quarterbacks.”

Tebow warmed up Sunday after Orton hurt his ribs in the second

half and had trainers look at him on the bench between series. When

the Broncos got the ball back, Orton trotted back onto the

field.

How close did he come to staying on the sideline?

”They asked me and I said I wanted to keep going, so I guess

not too close,” Orton said.

Like many a banged-up starting quarterback who refuses to allow

that he’s hurting, Orton’s main motivation to stay in the game may

have been to prevent Tebow from getting a crack at taking his

job.

”Well, we were getting beaten pretty bad and if my teammates

are going to be in there getting their butt kicked, then I’m going

to be in there getting my butt kicked, too,” Orton said. ”That’s

my approach to it, I guess.”

Orton did a good job of hiding from the public just how bothered

he was by his two bum ankles last season, and he acknowledged that

even if he were injured, he wouldn’t say so to the media.

”Would I tell you? No, I wouldn’t. No, I wouldn’t,” he said.

”That’s for coaches and trainers to know.”

Orton said he doesn’t pay attention to the fans clamoring for

Tebow to get more snaps or even a start as this lost season winds

down with the Broncos standing at 3-10.

”No, I don’t listen to it. I guess their opinion doesn’t have

any factor in the way I play. I don’t think it has any factor on

the way my teammates think of me and so that’s pretty much how I go

about it. I don’t really have an opinion on it,” Orton

insisted.

Surely, he can understand the fascination with Tebow, a two-time

national champion and former Heisman Trophy winner whom McDaniels

stunningly selected in the first round of the draft in April.

”I can’t understand it because I don’t think about it,” Orton

said. ”So, I don’t have much to say about it.”

Since winning his first six starts in Denver, Orton has presided

over just five wins in Denver’s last 23 games.

”It’s been tough. It’s been a tough season,” Orton said. ”I

would imagine for everybody in the locker room it’s been a tough

season. You know, unless we start playing better, these three weeks

are going to be tough. So, I’d love to go out and play well and

finish the season on a positive note.”