Brandstater a backstory in Broncos QB race
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – When Tim Tebow moved ahead of Tom Brandstater to take the third-team quarterback repetitions at the Denver Broncos’ passing camp Thursday, the least known of the team’s four quarterbacks shrugged it off.
“The order doesn’t matter to me,” Brandstater said. “The reps I get, I need to make them count, and that goes for every guy on the team.”
With all the questions raised about incumbent Kyle Orton’s hold on the job after the drafting of Tebow, a former Heisman Trophy winner at Florida, and the acquisition from Cleveland of former first-round pick Brady Quinn, it has been easy to overlook Brandstater.
A sixth-round selection out of Fresno State a year ago, Brandstater flashed potential at training camp last season, starting the team’s exhibition finale in place of the injured Orton (dislocated finger) and Chris Simms (ankle) and throwing for 187 yards in about three quarters of play in a 19-0 win over Arizona.
The next week, Brandstater nearly had to start the Broncos’ season opener at Cincinnati but Orton fought through the finger dislocation on his passing hand to play. That was as close as Brandstater came to playing during his rookie season, spending most of the year as the third quarterback.
Even though Orton remains at the top of the team’s depth chart and Brandstater returned for a second season, the offseason has brought dramatic change to the Broncos quarterback corps.
Quinn is working hard to revive his career after a disappointing start and Tebow, with his mobility and reworked passing mechanics, has brought a level of intrigue, not to mention star power.
All Brandstater said he can do in response is put his head down and keep working.
“When everything first happened, like I told a couple people, man, that’s different, that’s going to change you,” Brandstater said, referring to the additions of Quinn and Tebow.
“But at the end of the day, every position is going through the same thing,” he said. “This league is all about competition. Every position has to separate themselves if they want to be on the field. It’s no different for the quarterback. I haven’t taken any offense to things that have happened. I know Josh (McDaniels) is trying to make this team win and that’s my goal and my point of view as well. I want to help this team and if I get better, that’s going to be the best way to do it.”
McDaniels said not much should be read into the quarterback rotation, especially at a spring passing camp practice in May.
“Kyle is definitely getting the most and he deserves to,” McDaniels said. “Brady goes in there (next). We’ve been flopping them all. The only thing that’s really consistent is that Kyle is in the first huddle.”
McDaniels said it’s important to mix it up, in terms of repetitions, with his other quarterbacks.
“Some of that is they need to get work with different players,” he said. “We’re trying to make it so that they don’t take all their reps with the same two receivers or the same center.”
Though he hasn’t had much of a chance to show it yet, Brandstater said he’s much improved as a quarterback, benefiting from the experiences of his rookie campaign.
He’s also improved physically, displaying quicker, more nimble footwork, a strong arm and more precise passing during practice sessions. He said that’s a result of his offseason workouts, along with being pushed by the intensified quarterback competition.
“I do feel like I’m getting better,” Brandstater said. “Obviously, you’re never satisfied with where I’m at right now. You want to improve. … The best guy is going to be on the field at any position. That’s my mindset, and if I can control what I can control and make myself better, then the rest of it will take care of itself.”