Orton wins Denver starting job; No. 2 up for grabs
August 22, 2011
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Denver Broncos coach John Fox has seen enough to name Kyle Orton his starting quarterback.
What he hasn’t determined is who’s No. 2.
Fox said Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn have two more preseason games to win the job as Orton’s primary backup.
Because the league’s new rules don’t mandate teams designate their quarterback rotation on game day any more, the winner of that QB competition might remain a mystery, however, barring an injury to Orton.
The Broncos began training camp trying to trade Orton but when no teams made an offer, they opened the competition and Orton quickly showed he was the best of the bunch.
He’s gotten almost all the work with the starters.
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“Well, we’ve talked to the quarterbacks, in particular Kyle,” Fox said after practice Monday. “We’re going to name him the starter for the opener against the Raiders (on Sept. 12). We’ve not really reached a conclusion on 2 or 3 yet, and won’t, probably, until after the preseason games.”
Orton’s starting status hasn’t really been in doubt since the first day of training camp, when he showed the gulf between him and the others was still enormous.
“He’s played very well. He has great command of the offense, I think he has the most experience in this offense, and I think that’s been evident,” Fox said.
Tebow, who started the final three games last season and thought he’d be coming into camp as the incumbent, might slip to the No. 3 job as he continues to struggle with accuracy and mechanics while Quinn shows vast improvement from last year, when former coach Josh McDaniels didn’t play him at all during the regular season.
Here’s how the QB competition breaks down:
-Orton has a 110.0 passer rating in the preseason. He drove Denver to two touchdowns in three drives Saturday night and has completed 12 of 19 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
-Quinn has a 95.1 QB rating. He’s completed 18 of 30 passes for 250 yards, two TDs and an interception against Buffalo that looked like it hit the ground and should have been ruled an incompletion. The play ended the half and wasn’t reviewed, however. He drove Denver to a field goal and a touchdown after that.
-Tebow has the best passer rating of the three at 113.4, completing 7 of 9 passes for 101 yards with no TDs and no interceptions. He’s been sacked twice and was relegated to mop-up duty Saturday night when the Bills’ ground game chewed up the clock in the fourth quarter.
During practice Monday, Orton spent a good deal of time tutoring Tebow on what looked to be mechanics and motion.
Rookie quarterback Adam Weber, who hasn’t taken a preseason snap, said that wasn’t surprising.
“I think it just goes to show that there’s a lot of respect in the quarterback room for each other,” Weber said. “We’re all professionals. We’re all trying to just get better at our own game and I think everyone understands that each person brings something different and it’s all about the team, the focus, and that’s what Coach Fox is all about.
“And I think Kyle has taken on that role as a leader and saying, ‘It’s not about this quarterback competition and this controversy; it’s about helping out another player, another Bronco.'”
Weber, an undrafted rookie from the University of Minnesota, has a unique perspective on the Broncos’ quarterback competition that seems to make national news on a daily basis even though Orton weeks ago squashed any drama about who would start.
Weber said the popular notion that Orton gives Tebow the cold shoulder is actually fictional.
“I think it’s just a lot of hype, trying to feed this QB controversy,” Weber said. “I think all the quarterbacks take on the mindset of: ‘I’m going to control what I can but I’m also going to help the team out so we can be the best team possible.'”
Notes: Among the no-shows at practice Monday were S David Bruton (concussion) and LB Mario Haggan (shoulder sprain), both of whom were hurt Saturday night against the Bills. … TE Daniel Fells (lower leg) and S Brian Dawkins (ankle tendinitis) were limited. … Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen on rookie S Rahim Moore’s vicious hit on Bills WR Donald Jones’ chin that drew a flag and might ultimately result in a hefty fine: “Player safety is at a premium and the NFL is really cracking down on that and so we’ve got to understand that the strike zone has got to be a little lower. I love his aggressiveness, I love the way that he went after it, but we’ve got to be smart about where we’re hitting guys.”
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