DENVER – Midway through the Broncos’ scrimmage Saturday, the Invesco Field crowd wasn’t booing Tim Tebow; they were yelling, “Dooooom” for defensive end Elvis Dumervil.
But a few moments earlier, when Kyle Orton slid three yards short of the line to gain on a third-and-9 from the defense’s 11-yard-line there was no defender with an “oooooh” sound in his name when a similar sound rattled through the 17.982 on hand for the Broncos’ intra-squad scrimmage.
The boo birds were flocking, and Orton’s teammates noticed.
“(I) really wish fans (would have) stopped booing Orton,” defensive end Robert Ayers tweeted not long after the two-hour session ended. “He is our QB and our coach thinks he gives us the best chance of winning … fans, please respect that.”
The derision seemed an appropriate coda to an odd first half of training camp for Orton. It began with rumors of an imminent trade to the Miami Dolphins, continued as he outplayed backup quarterbacks Tebow, Brady Quinn and Adam Weber by an undeniable margin, and even saw Miami’s fans chant “We want Orton!” during a Dolphins practice in which their quarterback corps was led by Chad Henne.
Orton finished his scrimmage period with 83 yards on four-of-seven passing and led the first-team offense to a pair of Matt Prater field goals against the No. 2 defense.
He would have thrown a 10-yard touchdown to Eric Decker had the second-year wide receiver gotten his feet in-bounds. Orton lofted a well-placed pass to Decker, who was running a fade route, but Decker failed to tap both feet inside the sideline.
After Tebow struggled a few minutes later, Quinn led a 10-play drive against the third-team defense, but nearly threw an interception just outside the red zone. Safety David Bruton failed to hang onto the errant pass, and four plays later Quinn located rookie tight end Virgil Green for a one-yard touchdown.
Rookie Adam Weber closed the session by throwing an errant pass that was intercepted by cornerback Brandon Bing.