Broncos vs. Cardinals: Brady Quinn, Tim Tebow Take the Reins

Christopher Smith@MileHighMentorCorrespondent IIISeptember 1, 2011

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 20:  Quarterback Brady Quinn #9 of the Denver Broncos throws against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos face the Arizona Cardinals Thursday night for their fourth and final preseason outing. The starters are expected to take the entire night off, and Denver fans get their best opportunity to see Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow run the offense.

Quinn played almost all of the preseason game in Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills, while Tebow was awarded with all the second-team time during the Week 3 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.

It's been made fairly clear that Quinn will indeed be the Denver Broncos' backup quarterback. This week, he has the chance to further cement his place in the No. 2 spot.

Quinn has looked polished so far and has had his best preseason of his career. He's hardly had a chance in his short career with Denver (or with Cleveland, for that matter) to have a shot at a starting position, whereas this year he had the chance and certainly delivered. Although he hasn't done quite enough to earn a job over Kyle Orton, he's definitely displayed he's capable of coming in when he has to, and Denver fans won't have to fear too much if he's required to take over a game.

Tebow, on the other hand, has looked great at moments and unsure at others. He's improved on his accuracy over the last few weeks and made some impressive plays last week against Seattle.

Although Tebow does get credit for leading the Broncos offense to the game-winning field goal, he didn't produce enough offense to make the final field goal unnecessary. Of course, the second- and third-team defense are responsible for the points scored against Denver. However, it was certainly concerning that Tebow couldn't keep up with Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst.

What's more exciting about the fourth preseason game for Denver is seeing all the young players and free agents play for a spot on the team.

Rookie tight end Julius Thomas will need to seal the deal on his preseason and beat out Virgil Green or Dante Rosario. It seems Daniel Fells will most likely make the team, and Dan Gronkowski is expected to make the cut as well. Thomas must continue his great play and persuade the coaching staff to keep him on the payroll.

Another interesting battle to watch is who will make the final depth chart in the running back slot. Lance Ball, Jeremiah Johnson and Brandon Minor all have bids in this contest, and so far there's no clear winner. Johnson has displayed some incredible speed, and is my personal favorite to make the team. Ball may stay on as a fourth tailback, leaving Minor as the odd man out.

Denver also has a lot of questions to answer on its defensive line. With the injuries piling up in camp and in the preseason, somebody needs to answer the call and prove that they can provide some depth on the line.

Thursday night's exhibition will be the players last chance to work for a job, with some hoping just to make the practice squad. With or without the starters playing, this should be an exciting contest for the fans.