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Broncos QBs deal with draft

Mike Klis
The Denver Post
Vail, CO Colorado

Kyle Orton was just about to leave the bowling lanes, presumably feeling pretty good about how the night went.

The Broncos’ starting quarterback and his wife, Bridget, had attended long snapper Lonie Paxton’s NFL draft party/charity event Thursday night at Brunswick Zone in Lone Tree. There were about 15 Broncos players who attended the event that raised money to acquire sporting equipment for disabled athletes and wounded veterans.

Not only were there laughs and a good cause, Orton rolled the night’s best score with a 268. Who says Orton is not Pro Bowler caliber?



Anyway, Orton and his wife were leaving when there was a commotion unrelated to crashing pins. The Broncos, who had taken receiver Demaryius Thomas with the No. 22 overall pick, were back on the clock at No. 25.

Orton stopped, took a couple of steps toward a television set and watched his team select superstar college quarterback Tim Tebow.



Orton displayed no reaction, and left.

The Broncos’ other veteran quarterback, Brady Quinn, was also was at the bowling lanes, and also did his best not to react.

Check ball. Game on.



Orton still is the 2010 starter as of April 24, 2010?

“Still, no question,” Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. “I can say he earned the respect of his teammates and coaches last year from what he did. It’s a competitive group now.”

The Broncos’ selection of Tebow with the No. 25 pick in the first round Thursday was jolting for several reasons, not the least of which is the team already had two established quarterbacks in Orton and Quinn.

“They absolutely do,” Tebow said Friday after his introductory Broncos news conference at the team’s headquarters. “They’ve got two really good quarterbacks. It’s going to be fun to come in here and get to learn and compete. They’re guys with experience, who have been around and have done good things in their own right.”

Not only are Orton and Quinn experienced, they’re still young. Orton is 27 with a 29-19 NFL record. Quinn is 25 with 12 starts.

Neither figures to be the Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2012, when Tebow begins his third season. So what are the plans for Orton, Quinn and second-year quarterback Tom Brandstater in 2010?

Apparently, the answer will become self-evident after they show up for offseason practices, beginning with rookie camp that will be held next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

With the paychecks NFL players receive, there isn’t much need for reassuring, motivational phone calls.

“They understand what’s going on,” McDaniels said. “This is the draft and they know we’re going to add players and there’s always going to be players we add at their positions.”

Let’s say for Tebow’s first season, the plan is to use him as a gimmick guy. Quarterback runs from the shotgun on third-and-1. Fake run, stop and jump pass on second-and-goal. Wildcat formation mix of pass and run.

Otherwise, take away those four or six special plays a game, Tebow spends the season wearing headsets on the sidelines, observing Orton or Quinn run the Broncos’ offense.

“That would not insult me at all,” Tebow said. “I would go in there and do it. Obviously, that’s not my end goal as a quarterback, and I don’t think that’s their goal for me. If I can help the team, I can make a difference; that’s what I’m here for.”

For now, Orton is the starter. He knows he must win and win now. Or else. Then again, what’s new? Orton led the Chicago Bears to a 10-5 record in his rookie season of 2005, only to be benched in favor of Rex Grossman for the playoffs.

Orton was the Bears’ third-string quarterback the next two years before winning his starting job back with the Bears in 2008 and for 15 games with the Broncos in 2009.

So the acquisition of Quinn last month, and Tebow’s selection Thursday weren’t the first times Orton received a vote of non-confidence.

To keep his job beyond the 2010 season, though, Orton may have to pull off the football equivalent of the 7-10 split. Apparently, he’s capable.


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