Is the Denver Broncos quarterback situation a two-man or a three man competition? Kyle Orton is clearly the most experienced, consistent and respected QB on the roster. He has a 32-30 record as a starter, which is mediocre, but the train wreck of a season that was 2010 dragged that record down. He is accurate, reads defenses fairly well and has the chutzpah to lead an occasional late-game scoring drive (his 98-yard marathon against the Patriots early in 2009 is a prime example).
Tim Tebow is unproven as a starter, but has the physical tools and leadership acumen to be great. Despite a strange throwing motion, he typically connects on hot reads with his receivers and is an explosive runner with the football. He has built-in fame and a unique personal story (stemming from his fantastic college career and his outspoken Christian beliefs) that endears him to fans.
The third (and mostly forgotten) QB in the shuffle is Brady Quinn. With a career passer rating of 66.8 and little success to his name to date, he seems relegated to a career as a backup. A known workout hound with a stellar career at Notre Dame under the tutelage of Charlie Weis, Quinn seems to have untapped promise. He clearly thinks that he has not gotten his chance with the Broncos, saying to the media a few days ago that, “I feel they (Orton and Tebow) both had a chance last year, and I didn't get an opportunity. I'd love to get an opportunity to help us win games and get this team to the playoffs and see what happens from there."
Read more: Broncos' QB Brady Quinn practices with team in Denver, via The Denver Post.
Which potential starting quarterback would be most effective for the Broncos in 2011? Part of the answer is shrouded in the minds of John Elway and John Fox. Is 2011 a rebuilding year with the Broncos adding pieces over a two or three year period in order to compete by 2013? Or do they have designs on winning right away?
Of course, any of the following speculation would be moot if the Broncos decide to trade Orton (who seems to be the most likely trade-bait). But no matter what ends up happening during free agency and before the trade deadline, it’s helpful to break down the current options for the most crucial position on the field for the Denver Broncos.
Orton provides a steady diet of smart reads, good progressions and accurate throws. It is hard to imagine him having less help from the running game in 2011 than he did in 2010, so predict a solid season out of Orton.
With him at the helm, the Broncos will win a few games they shouldn’t and can pull out a couple of come-from-behind victories.
Tebow is a dynamic player who can win a few games by his power of will and athleticism. His throwing motion and skills at reading defenses are not quite ready to do more than keep the Broncos treading water.
Give him a couple years, though, and he may become a Pro Bowler. A subpar 2010 as "seasoning" may be worth it for Tebow's development into a star of the future.
Quinn just doesn’t seem to be a starter-quality player. The speed and physicality of the NFL game is too much for Quinn. Due to languishing on the bench in 2010, he hasn’t been able to develop any rapport with the receivers.
Most likely the only way that Quinn will see the field is if Tebow and Orton are either traded or get hurt. If he does play significant minutes, the Broncos will be in for a long and woeful season.