Assessing The Broncos’ Quarterback Situation


By Vaughn Carter

Is the glass half empty or half full? Depends on who you ask.

It is clear and evident that Kyle Orton is a professional quarterback who can play well at times, but the current NFL is filled with competent quarterbacks who provide the chance for their team to win each week. Make no bones about it Orton is a good quarterback, but the current state of the NFL has the better teams relying on and being structured around a “top-tier” quarterback. The current Broncos quarterback situation has become a frequently discussed topic, even non-Bronco fans are now giving their take on the situation.

Here is an in depth look at both the current and future state of the Broncos’ quarterback situation:

Kyle Orton- Orton has six wins in his last 26 starts as the Broncos QB. That number alone is frightening and is a cause for a change, or at least a serious consideration for it. Orton is a free agent at the end of this season, so you have to ask yourself, should he be retained another year and continue to be the starting quarterback, or do we begin to move on. I believe Orton is not the future and the Broncos will move in a different direction next season.

Brady Quinn- Quinn has been the consummate team player through all this. He has to think that he is better than Orton, but often is not mentioned because of  the Tim Tebow hype. Quinn, a highly touted quarterback when he came out of Notre Dame had several offensive coordinators in his first few years in the league. Many around the NFL believe that Quinn has not had a fair shot at the starting quarterback spot. Quinn has looked okay at times in the preseason, but we have yet to see him in live action. Can Quinn be considered an intriguing prospect?  What if he were the best option for a QB moving forward? Quinn has enough NFL experience to know what it takes, and both Broncos recent coaching regimes have retained Quinn, which means he does some things right. Can Brady Quinn be the diamond in the rough for Denver, or is he what he has been most of his career – a backup?

Tim Tebow- How can anyone not like Tim Tebow? Tebow appears to be a great person and great a guy, but this is the NFL and guys do not get a job handed to them at any position, especially not quarterback. Tebow has fans screaming for him to play, but have these fans seen the games that Tebow has played in?  Regular season and preseason? Many have not, but express Tebow should start without providing you a clear and logical explanation as to why he should be the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. I am a huge Tebow fan, I am pulling for the kid and think his time will come, but let’s be honest here, he was not ready. Period.

If you watched Tim last year, and then in this year’s training camp and preseason you will understand that Tebow is not there yet.  The Broncos may have to consider playing him to see what he is capable of as a starting quarterback. Can Tebow rise above his critics and lead the Denver Broncos?

Here is the resolution: 

I think the Broncos know that Kyle Orton will not be a Bronco next year. With that being said, the team will not make a move prior to feeling they have no shot at winning the division or a playoff spot. It is a vintage way of thinking, but we must remember there are new coaches in place and veteran players who will quit for the benefit of the quarterback position. It is not fair to the entire team, so John Fox and John Elway will have to find the right time and a reason to bench Orton and make it not only a football decision, but a team decision. You must remember almost every Broncos player, when asked, said that Orton should be the starter. How do you explain to the entire team that you’re going with Tebow or Quinn when “they,” the team, thinks Orton should be the starter?

This is a very complicated situation for a new head coach and Executive Vice President of Football Operations, especially in their first year. So here is what I think they should do. I would let Orton play this week versus the Chargers, and then make an assessment from there. Orton will have been given five games to gauge where he is with the offense. If Orton plays terribly against San Diego, I think this is the perfect time to replace him with Tebow. I would give Tebow a 3-4 game window to play and gauge him from there. If Tebow plays well, he gets more games under his belt and if he plays poorly, replace him with Brady Quinn. I would then give Quinn a 3-4 game window to prove his worth. The point is the Denver Broncos must play Tebow and/or Quinn before the end of this season, otherwise they will go into the offseason with the exact same questions concerning their quarterback situation as they did this year. If all three get a chance to play, before it is all said and done, this organization and fan base will know if the future QB is on the roster or still in college.

Either way, knowing is half the battle.

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