August 17 2009, 11:43 AM
By now it's well known that new Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton stunk it up in the team's preseason debut Friday night against the San Francisco 49ers. He threw three interceptions on three consecutive drives in the first half, and the only reason the final score was 17-16 was because backup quarterback Chris Simms played pretty well. The Associated Press reports that Orton still has the support of new head coach Josh McDaniels, which isn't surprising. McDaniels hand-picked Orton after McDaniels and former quarterback Jay Cutler realized that their egos wouldn't fit into the same stadium. That support is likely being questioned across Broncos country this morning, but 49ers coach Mike Singletary tells The Associated Press that Orton is better than a lot of people think and the interceptions were the result of good plays by the 49ers' defensive backs. The San Francisco Chronicle's Gwen Knapp writes that the real winners of the game were the Oakland Raiders, who should be celebrating the fact that the Broncos looked so terrible. It's hard, however, to take Knapp seriously. She claims the 49ers were playing against the defense that cost former head coach Mike Shanahan his job, something that could only be written by someone who, at best, isn't paying attention. Only three starters from last year's Shanahan-created 11-man defense are starting defense this year, so it's almost a completely new squad and system. One of those new players is all-pro safety Brian Dawkins, who recently had surgery to repair a broken hand. Dawkins returned to practice yesterday, albeit with a giant cast that made his arm resemble a Q-tip (via The Denver Post). Wide receiver Brandon Marshall also practiced on Sunday, fresh off his acquittal on battery charges in Atlanta and also coming off a leg injury. Finally, somehow we missed a remarkable video posted on the sports blog Deadspin last week. In it, a 10-year-old Broncos fan tells Cutler how he really feels about his recent comments that Chicago Bears fans are more passionate than Broncos fans.