Posted Sat Jul 7th by Jon Heath
Since 2008, eight different quarterbacks have passed through Denver. And all three of the Broncos’ top three quarterbacks from last season are now employed elsewhere.
Last summer, Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow were all competing to secure Denver’s starting quarterback position. Orton ended up winning the job and held it mid-way through the season until Tebow finished the year under center. Quinn never saw the field.
This offseason, Orton signed a lucrative three-year, $10 million deal with the Dallas Cowboys and Quinn signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. After those signings, the Denver Broncos went out and signed Peyton Manning and traded Tim Tebow to the New York Jets, where he’ll earn around $5 million through the 2014 season.
To replace Quinn and Tebow, the Broncos signed Caleb Hanie and drafted Brock Osweiler. Second-year quarterback Adam Weber is also back with the team after spending last season on the practice squad.
As was mentioned, Orton is doing pretty well for himself with a large backup contract and an easy reserve role in Dallas. Many believe that Orton is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL, including the folks that write for the league’s official website.
Even so, Orton is not content to earn big bucks for standing on the sidelines and making funny faces. The eight-year veteran still views himself as a potential starter.
“I feel like I’ve played good ball in this league, I feel I’ve got a lot of good ball left in me. I don’t see this as committing myself to be the backup. I’m just committing myself to be a part of the team,” Orton said in early June. With Tony Romo ahead of him on the depth chart, Orton’s idea of not committing himself to being a backup seems a bit illogical, but you never know — injuries happen and Romo has had rough streaks in the past.
Meanwhile, Quinn is fighting his butt off with a fifth-round draft pick to win the backup position to a seventh-round draft selection in Kansas City. Quinn is competing with Ricky Stanzi to backup Matt Cassel. Like Orton, Quinn seems to be confident about his situation.
“Fortunately for me, I have some familiarity with the (Chiefs’) offense being that I was with (Offensive Coordinator) Brian (Daboll) in 2009. That’s helped out a lot.” Quinn and Stanzi have been rotating with the second team in Kansas City and are expected to have a fierce competition during training camp.
And while Orton may be considered the best backup in the NFL, his former backup, Tim Tebow, is certainly the most popular. Tebow is competing with Mark Sanchez in New York, but Jet’s Coach Rex Ryan will emphatically deny that, stating that Sanchez is the starter and that Tebow will be a backup and wildcat player.
For the time being that is true. But it probably won’t take long before Tebowmania and Sanchez’s poor play pushes Tebow into New York’s starting lineup. Before that happens though, Tebow recently stated that he needs to improve “everywhere.”
“I think understanding offense very well, that’ll be a key,” Tebow said. “Being under center, play-action, seven-step drops, being in the pocket, it’s different. I have to continue to work on the fundamentals.”
There likely won’t be anyone arguing with Tebow about those statements. And while he needs to improve in many areas, Tebow may be in the best situation among the three quarterbacks (Orton, Quinn and Tebow) to win back a starting job.
Despite the fact that they are no longer in Denver, we’ll still be watching how the three quarterbacks perform with their new teams. There should be less QB drama in Denver this season with the stability that Manning will provide at the position. The same cannot be said for the Jets.
What are your thoughts on the likes of Jay Cutler, Orton, Quinn and Tebow? Do you wish them the best of luck or enjoy watching them struggle outside of Denver? Let us know in the comments below.