Better Luck Next Year: Sorting Out the Denver Broncos' QB Conundrum

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Better Luck Next Year: Sorting Out the Denver Broncos' QB Conundrum
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway needs to get over his man crush on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, plain and simple.

Elway and general manager Brian Xanders were in Palo Alto this past week on a scouting trip of potential prospects. The apple of their eye was the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck.

With their third victory of the season on Sunday in Oakland, the Broncos are all but out of the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes. The Manning-less Indianapolis Colts remain winless and the Miami Dolphins finally won a game, much to the dismay of their fans. Neither one of these futile franchises will be winning three games in 2011. Meanwhile the Broncos (3-5) are one game back in the volatile AFC West.

Elway still says that starting quarterback and fan favorite Tim Tebow is on a week-to-week basis. Sure, Tebow isn’t the typical drop back passer that Elway would want, but he is a winner. The Broncos are 3-3 in games Tebow starts. Tebow is still very inaccurate, only completing 46.4 percent of his passes. That obviously needs to improve if Tebow wants to keep the starting job in Denver after the 2011 season.

Tebow’s play can be atrocious at times, but he has managed to win two of his three starts this season. The critics and Tebow Bashers need to realize that Tebow only has six starts under his belt in the NFL. That is less than a half a season, so Tebow is still a rookie based on experience.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Broncos' front office needs to see what they have in Tebow. Can he improve as a pocket passer? The only way to find out is to let him play the remainder of the season. Kyle Orton won’t be back with the Broncos next year, especially after being pulled at halftime for Tebow in Week 5. Brady Quinn more than likely won’t re-sign in Denver, where he is rotating back and fourth from No. 2 on the depth chart to the inactive list.

The best thing for the Broncos to do now is to just let Tim Tebow finish out the season and see if he makes some significant strides as an NFL quarterback. Denver is still looking at a Top 10 draft pick in April, but will miss out on Luck unless Elway mortgages off several picks or players that the Colts or Dolphins can’t refuse to get his quarterback.

The Broncos will probably miss out on USC quarterback Matt Barkley and Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones as well, if those two choose to forgo their senior years. Both Barkley and Jones are projected to be high draft picks along with Luck. What Denver needs to do is draft the best available offensive tackle, either Stanford’s Jonathan Martin or Iowa’s Reily Rieff because USC’s Matt Kalil will be gone by the time the Broncos pick.

If the Broncos' front office feel that Tebow isn’t the quarterback of the future, they can look for a quarterback in the early rounds of the NFL Draft. There are some viable quarterback prospects such as Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M), Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State), Kirk Cousins (Michigan State) and Nick Foles (Arizona) that could be drafted in the second, third or fourth round.

This offseason will not provide any decent free-agent quarterbacks for the Broncos to sign. Jason Campbell isn’t much of an upgrade over what Kyle Orton does, Donovan McNabb’s best years are behind him and Matt Flynn is Aaron Rodger’s backup who might draw interest from some NFL teams.

Maybe the Broncos will be able to make a trade for Patriots third-string quarterback Ryan Mallett if they can’t address their need via the draft or free agency. Mallett, was a highly-touted prospect in last year’s draft, but had some character concerns that dropped him to the third round. Mallett has first-round talent and third-round character, but could be trade bait if the Patriots re-sign Brian Hoyer.

That is all speculation and rumors, but I guess we’ll just have to take the Denver Broncos quarterback situation on a week-to-week basis. Until then the Broncos need to set their watches to Tim Tebow Time.

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