Rookie Brandstater to start Broncos pre-season finale |

Rookie Brandstater to start Broncos pre-season finale

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – With the Denver Broncos’ top two quarterbacks sidelined by injuries, rookie Tom Brandstater will start the team’s preseason finale Thursday night against Arizona.

Brandstater, a sixth-round pick out of Fresno State, played more than a half in Sunday’s 27-17 loss to Chicago, leading the Broncos to two touchdowns after coming on for the injured Kyle Orton.

Orton gashed and apparently dislocated his right index finger when he struck a defender’s helmet with his passing hand during a follow through.

The Broncos were already without backup Chris Simms, who suffered a left high ankle sprain during an exhibition game the week before at Seattle.

Brandstater saw his first action as a pro when he replaced Simms on short notice and looked overwhelmed, taking four sacks and completing one of his four throws for 1 yard against the Seahawks. But he appeared much more poised in his most recent outing, completing 8 of 12 passes for 110 yards, including a long of 54 yards to fellow rookie Kenny McKinley.

Coach Josh McDaniels said he remained hopeful that both Orton and Simms would be able to return to practice next week and be available for the Broncos’ Sept. 13 opener at Cincinnati. But he also said there was no set timetable for their return and left open the possibility that one or both could miss the first regular season game.

Neither Brandstater nor fourth-stringer Ingle Martin has had a meaningful snap during the regular season.

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