Kyle Sloter has become The G.O.T.E.
Greatest Of The Exhibitions.
Sloter was signed on May 11 as an after-thought by the Broncos, an unheralded, undrafted free agent.
Four months later, On Sept. 11, he will be the Broncos’ backup quarterback for the regular-season opener.
He was supposed to be camp fodder, a young man thrown in to throw during OTAs and minicamps and training camp, a four-stringer while Trevor Siemian returned from off-season surgery, while Paxton Lynch developed to become a potential starter quarter, while Chad Kelly, the last selection in the draft, rehabilitated from knee and wrist injuries. He was expected to clean up during garbage time of a couple of exhibitions, sit idly by for the third game and possibly play in the meaningless final exhibition, then be cut, and possibly signed to the practice squad or replaced by a more experienced quarterback from another team.
After all, he was a J.A.G. (Just Another Guy) who hadn’t even played quarterback in college until 2016, and was a wide receiver had had his scholarship yanked by Southern Mississippi.
People didn’t even know how to pronounce his name properly.
Slouter, Slooter, Slutor, Slother, Slaughter.
He had a name only his mother said right. He might as well have been a man with no name, who rarely spoke, in an Italian Western.
Following two rather impressive appearances late at Chicago and in Santa Clara, Calif., against sloths and street free agents, Sloter received faint praise from Vance Joseph.
But the coach said: "We will have two quarterbacks on the (regular-season) roster."
They would be Siemian and Lynch, who were dueling to be starter and substitute. Sloter was the young man on the outside.
Then, Siemian was named the starter as Lynch struggled.
Paxton entered at the beginning of the second half against the Packers and promptly was shoved on his shoulder, which was later diagnosed as a strain. He would be sidelined for weeks.
Sloter immediately was in, then played the entire game on Thursday night. After a shaky start, Sloter was special.
The 6-foot-4, 218-pound, 23-year-old young man from Georgia has made a name for himself with the Broncos.
Kyle is relegated to page 204 of the Broncos media guide, back where the "others" are listed, and he is at the bottom.
"Named to the Conference USA’s Commissioner’s Honor Roll in all three years (2012-2014) at Southern Mississippi."
Sounds very smart and very unnoticed otherwise.
"Sloter played 35 games (13 starts) with Northern Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado, beginning his career as a wide receiver before becoming a quarterback full-time in 2016" after UNC, only after being rejected by a new coach at Southern Miss and only after the starting quarterback at UNC was injured.
Sloter has been the best of the trio of quarterbacks with Denver for four games.
He has completed 31 of 43 passes (72.1 percent) for 413 yards (9.6 yards per attempt) for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has a 47-yard touchdown pass and a passer rating of 125.5.
He has more touchdowns than Siemian and Lynch combined (1), fewer interceptions than the duo (1) and more yardage, a higher percentage and a much loftier QB rating.
Of course, he has played against scrubs and street agents, and a majority of the defensive players from those four teams will be cut on Saturday. But this isn’t touch football or seven-on-seven, and, as former Broncos coach John Fox would say, “”they get paid, too’’, although not much, and the opponents weren’t Abilene Christian or Cal Poly, teams Sloter shined against when he was in Greeley.
But the Packers are pretty, pretty good.
Consider this achievement: While Sloter played, the Broncos outscored their foes 61-19.
In the Arizona game, Sloter was responsible in reality for all 32 points. He was sacked in the end zone at the outset for a safety (the only points the Cardinals ended up with), then guided the Broncos to three touchdowns and two field goals the rest of the way. On the sideline, he was hugged by more than two dozen teammates. He is accepted.
Sloter shouldn’t be the starter, but he certainly shouldn’t be cut on Saturday, and he certainly shouldn’t be demoted automatically to the practice squad or oblivion when Paxton returns after two-four games. He certainly has earned his spot on the roster.
Slotermania has broken out.
Not since Tebow.
Sloter choose jersey "1" when he arrived in Denver. The only players who have worn that number in Broncos history were punters and kickers.
"Mile High" Kyle is a quarterback.
And when he now enters a "Cheers" bar in Denver, everyone will know his name.