October 14 2009, 8:57 AM
Home-state fans of the Denver Broncos have known since preseason that the team would be better than it was last year, even if we were worried about all the changes. On the national level, critics have been singing a different tune, claiming the Broncos wouldn't even sniff a decent record this season. Now they're eating their words, with the team sitting at 5-0 and improving every week. Orton earned the AFC offensive player of the week award for his performance Sunday against the New England Patriots (via Mile High Report). "For all those Denver and [quarterback] Kyle Orton detractors, the time has come to eat some crow," writes Chicago Now, pointing to Orton's 26-12 record as a starter and his 18-2 record when starting at home. Orton's also getting love from Cold Hard Football Facts, which writes that they'd take Orton (pictured) over a "gunslinger," like former Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, any day. One former quarterback who knows a thing or two about winning over fans, especially in Denver, gives Orton a ringing endorsement. John Elway tells CBS4 Orton outplayed three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday and is doing "great things." Rookie head coach Josh McDaniels is also getting some praise. Westword writes that it's time to trust him and the personnel decisions he's made, which seemed downright idiotic at first, but have worked out well. ESPN has also had a change of heart, listing the Broncos fifth on its weekly power rankings, after starting them at 27th at the beginning of the year. We'll see if all the love leads to a win over the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football, a win that could put the Broncos on top of the AFC West by four games before Halloween.