McGahee to detractors: ‘Get over it’
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Fans may clamor; callers may chatter; message boards may crash; boycotts may be organized. But Kyle Orton will still be the starting quarterback for the Broncos next Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
“We opened it up for competition. It’s not something where we took a fan poll or we took a vote,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “We watched practice, watched the competition, and we’re four games into that. I don’t know that we’re at any place different that we were all along.
“Anything is possible, but there are no ‘what-ifs’ at this point. Kyle Orton is our starting quarterback.”
With that established, the locker room is closing ranks behind one of its offensive captains.
“Kyle’s our guy. That’s who we’re rolling with,” said running back Willis McGahee, who has a pair of 100-yard rushing games in the last three weeks. “Whoever doesn’t like it, it is what it is. He’s leading the Denver Broncos football team. He’s running the show.
“I think everybody just needs to get over it.”
McGahee’s were the strongest words yet offered on the record in the locker room regarding Orton and the fan reaction to his presence in the lineup, which resulted in boos and chants for backup Tim Tebow during a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter of the season opener against the Raiders. With the two losses that followed in the next three games, the cacophony has grown louder.
That accomplishes nothing for the team, maintains starting middle linebacker Joe Mays.
“The most important thing (is) we want support from the fans,” Mays said. “I think we need more support for Orton, as well. I’m pretty sure he feels like no one wants him out there. But us in this locker room, we know what he is capable of doing. We know that he can lead this team.
“We’d much rather have the fans show him support than calling for Tebow to come into the game.”
Orton’s plight drew empathy from McGahee and Mays.
“I just know it would be tough to play for a team and not really get the support that you want, that you need,” he said. Us in the locker room, we support him 100 percent. But when it comes to fan support, that’s huge.
“These are the people that pay to come to see the games, and they’re our support system as players. We just need the fans to support all of our players.”
Fan sentiment matters, Fox said. But they don’t have the same access to watching every throw the quarterbacks make in practices as the coaches do.
“It’s hard to say you don’t care what fans think because you do, but I think in the decision-making process you have to evaluate what you see,” he said. “I’ve got to make those decisions based on the people who do it every day, and that’s the players and coaches and people in this building that do it full-time, not part-time.”
McGahee’s advice to Orton would be to use the chatter as fuel.
“People want to count you out. I think it’s a great motivation for him, just to go out there and prove people wrong. That’s how I approach things,” McGahee said. “I’m going at it as, ‘You don’t want me here? You don’t think I can play? All right, I’m going to stick with somebody that’s outside the Denver Broncos. Case closed.’”