Denver Broncos: Why Possibly Starting QB Brady Quinn Is a Two-Way Street

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 15: Brady Quinn #9 of the Denver Broncos calls out a play at the line against the Cincinnati Bengals during a preseason game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 15, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 33-24. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It’s only been three months since the Super Bowl ended, but already I’ve received enough Tim Tebow emails to fill a lottery machine and start my own game of angry fan bingo.

“Calling Ted from Florida!

But before I could even respond to the flurry of questions and concerns towards my pro- Kyle Orton stance, John Elway and head coach John Fox threw a wrench at my head. Yes, it hurt. Although it got me thinking long and hard once I recovered from my headache. 

So here it is: Apparently…it’s time to consider Brady Quinn.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t pondered the possibility of Quinn starting in Denver. When I ruled in favor of Orton a week ago I certainly had Quinn in mind, yet only as the backup option if the plane should go down and the black box is somehow destroyed in the process.

Maybe Denver is already in that position though. You just have to look towards the pile of gap-toothed quarterbacks standing near the burnt fuselage to come to that conclusion.

But if you listen to what Elway and Fox have to say, a new ray of hope may shine upon your day.

After finally arranging team workouts late last week, Elway and Fox believe the chances of Quinn starting in Denver aren’t entirely out of the question. This leaves the Broncos with a quarterback waltz until the lockout lifts. Yet it also leaves Denver with another long term option when the dreaded rebuilding process is finally understood by Bronco fans.

Hold on, this isn’t a two horse race?

Nope. It’s two and a quarter.

Since day one, Quinn has received the short stick. He somersaulted out of the first round in 2007 and landed with an optimistic Cleveland Browns team. Those plans hit the fan, and now Quinn sweats away his days in Denver waiting to find out if his name will be ridiculed with JaMarcus Russell’s in the downtown welfare line.

That’s not all.

Quinn also has the problems that keep today’s one dimensional quarterback awake at night. Right now he is about as accurate as a 90 cent pregnancy test. His mobility in the pocket resembles that of an elderly man with arthritis. And when it comes time to evaluate his stats, even the numbers gave up and lit a cigarette in frustration.

Now you know why seven eight nine. (Lame joke, I know).

But Elway and Fox seem intent on keeping the Broncos quarterback competition parallel so long as the fans get what they want. Suddenly Denver’s coaching staff have become the NFL’s leading mediators - if only Josh McDaniels took on the same responsibilities a season ago, perhaps Denver wouldn’t find themselves between a rock and a guy named Tim Tebow.

In 2010 Quinn was always confident that he’d be given a shot in Denver. Heck, he expected it, especially when telling prior to Tebow’s name being called in April that “Whether it’s Tom Brandstater, Kyle, or myself, we’re all quarterbacks. We’re going to be team players first, but we all want to be out there playing.”

That was last March though. Now, 14 months down the track, Quinn hasn’t improved at all. And again, we continue to play two steps forward, five steps back, until the Broncos reach that glorious .500 mark and take baby steps toward reliving their 2005 postseason success.

But I can’t fault Quinn on everything. All of Denver’s potential starting options are far from flawless, although starting Quinn would baffle Mile High beyond their wildest dreams, and only further encourage fans to egg on Tebow.

If there is one thing Quinn has going for him, however, it is experience (kind of). Is this factor enough to hip-check Orton out of the way? Probably not. But while Tebow practices his open mic skills and verbally motivates his fans, Quinn is silently earning votes toward starting in Denver.

Here’s how to look at it: Orton has seven years to his name, Quinn has 14 games. Tebow has just three. Try to look past the fact that, added up, all of this experience amounts to that of a high school quarterback.

As long as you’re thinking numbers, don’t forget that Quinn threw for 1,339 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009. He’s been sacked 20 times in his career, that’s a dampener, but he can get the job done when an offense helps him out. I guess it’s just a shame McDaniels sent Brandon Marshall and Peyton Hillis on their merry way.

Not even a thousand hail Mary’s could rid the Broncos organization of that sin.

So, you could consider Quinn as the heir to Orton’s ringless hand. Convincing Pat Bowlen of this may be like talking to a spoon, but if the Broncos can somehow talk their fanbase out of this bind with Tebow, Quinn can become the second option to Orton if things flow smoothly.

Still, I understand that some of you Broncoheads are a little worried about taking the same path the Carolina Panthers took last season. It’s a long detour, I know. And with guys like Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert now entering the league and offering up an unknown interpretation of skill, perhaps the last thing Mile High wants to see is Quinn at the helm.

Try and ignore that if you can.

You can look at Quinn as a player who has many faults: accuracy, passing ability, mobility just to name a few. Or you can look at Quinn as a guy who offers the Broncos a second chance, someone who is young enough to uncover his explosive side and revitalize his entire game plan.

I guess it depends on how optimistic you are.

And that’s why it’s a two-way street when it comes to Quinn.

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