No snap decision in Broncos QB battle |

No snap decision in Broncos QB battle

Lindsay H. Jones
The Denver Post

Coach Josh McDaniels got right up in Kyle Orton’s face Sunday morning and emphatically instructed the Broncos quarterback on just one facet of the team’s offense.

“Do it again! Do it again!” McDaniels shouted as he stepped back to let Orton run a play. And this was only a drill in which the quarterback handed off the ball to a running back.

The competition to find Jay Cutler’s successor at starting quarterback is underway, and McDaniels now has three days of close observation of Orton and Chris Simms.

As the Broncos wrapped up the first mini-camp of the McDaniels era, the coach said he first is looking for which quarterback best picks up the offensive system.

“I want them to distribute the ball to who we want to get it to. The ability to get in there, call the play, read the defense and understand where they’re going to throw it, that’s a big thing,” McDaniels said. “And then get it to (the receivers) accurately.”

Simms took the first-team repetitions to start the final day of mini-camp Sunday morning, though it was Orton with the starters when the team ran the two-minute drill to close the two-hour practice.

Orton threw the prettiest touchdown on a deep pass to Jabar Gaffney in a drill against linebackers and defensive backs.

Simms was intercepted by linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who was playing with the starting linebackers in place of D.J. Williams, in a 7-on-7 drill.

Both quarterbacks said it is too early ” especially considering each is in the early stages of learning McDaniels’ offense ” to worry about the competition with each other.

“I did some good things. I definitely messed some things up mentally, and definitely missed a few throws physically,” Simms said. “So there’s a lot of areas to improve on, but you expect that, really, at this time of the year.”

Part of that process includes developing chemistry and timing with the receivers, who are also learning the new system. Receiver Eddie Royal, who lined up outside and in the slot position in the three-receiver sets, said Orton and Simms have been putting in extra work with all of the receivers.

“You can just tell by the way they carry themselves in meetings,” Royal said. “They’re staying after. They’re here early. They’re the last ones to leave. Those are always good signs you want to see from your quarterback.”

The left-handed Simms has had an extra month of work with McDaniels and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy because Orton joined the team only two weeks ago as part of the trade that sent Cutler to Chicago.

But Orton said he doesn’t feel at a disadvantage.

“I’ve put in a lot of work since I’ve been here just like Chris has. I’m up to speed,” Orton said.

McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders will hold a private workout with Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez on Tuesday.

It seems likely the team will add another quarterback at some point in the draft, and he would join Orton and Simms at the next team camp in two weeks.

“They’re going to make mistakes every practice. It’s not an easy thing to get this system,” McDaniels said. “They made strides every day too. They competed with each other, and they both can run the huddle. That’s a good thing.”

Lindsay H. Jones: 303-954-1262 or

The unknown factors

Physically, the two quarterbacks battling to be the Broncos’ starter are similar. The competition, which should stretch into training camp, could turn on intangibles.

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