Broncos Update Insider - 6/25

One story that will receive far more attention leading up to training camp than it should is a perceived quarterback controversy in Denver.

The quarterback position always draws interest, and the Broncos have some big names in reserve roles, but there's really no controversy. Kyle Orton is the starter and it's not a close competition at the moment.

"There's nothing to be resolved really," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. "We've got a guy who's going to go into camp as the starter, no question about it and he deserves it and if somebody comes in there and plays better than he does then that player will play."

The final sentiment is a major reason why the controversy talk hasn't died. But those who have been around McDaniels understand it's his way of doing things -- he constantly promotes competition at every position, even when it's obvious there is no real competition. But he wants his veteran players to remain sharp, so he pushes a culture of competition.

With the quarterback position, the reality is that Orton is not only coming off a better season than people generally give him credit for (3,802 yards and 21 touchdowns), but Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow haven't shown they are ready to clearly beat him out. Both Quinn and Tebow are learning the system. Although Quinn's experience puts him ahead of Tebow for the second spot on the depth chart, he has yet to outplay Orton in practice.

While it's possible that Quinn comes to training camp and makes things interesting in August -- and, the coaching staff does like Quinn, and its affection for Tebow is well documented -- it would be an upset.

"It's clear Kyle is ahead," McDaniels said. "There's no question."

Another reason Orton's hold on the starting spot has been questioned is because the Broncos didn't give him much of an endorsement as their long-term starter by acquiring Quinn and Tebow this offseason. While Orton, at the moment, is not considered the quarterback of the future -- that would be Tebow -- he is the quarterback of the present.

His knowledge of the offense puts him in a good position. While the coaching staff is hopeful Quinn and Tebow will know a majority of the offense by the end of camp, Orton already has it down. That knowledge has shown during offseason practices.

"I'm really happy with the way I'm playing and just really have more confidence right now than I've ever had," Orton said.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Britton Colquitt's ascent to being the unquestioned No. 1 punter for the Broncos -- he's the only one left on the roster after the team cut A.J. Trapasso -- is surprising only because of what the Broncos ask of their punter and their seeming desire to have a veteran handle it.

Denver does a lot of directional punting, and decided very early last year that Brett Kern was unable to handle that. The Broncos signed a veteran, Mitch Berger, to handle all of those responsibilities. Berger struggled, but it showed the Broncos are probably more comfortable with a veteran. Colquitt has never punted in a NFL game.

While Colquitt has a lot of talent, it's possible the Broncos could again look into bringing in a veteran if he struggles right away.

--The Broncos moved rookie Zane Beadles from tackle to guard for the final few practices of the offseason, but they said a decision on Beadles' permanent position hasn't been made.

Denver could use some depth at tackle, with Ryan Clady and Ryan Harris coming back from injuries, but might also need a starting left guard.

"At some point, we will make a determination at where we think he has to stay, so we can focus on him improving and competing for a position," McDaniels said.

--Linebacker Darrell Reid didn't practice this offseason, coming off a knee injury, and the injury is a blow to Denver's depth rushing the quarterback. The timetable for Reid, who played extensively on passing downs last year, to return is uncertain.

"He may be one of the few that goes into training camp and can't really participate right away," McDaniels said.

--There will always be some struggles for a new quarterback in Josh McDaniels' offensive system. Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow each had some tough days in the offseason practices, so the coaching staff kept on them about correcting mistakes.

"You know I'm going to yell at them when they make mistakes and we're going to coach them hard," McDaniels said. "Right now we're showing them so many different things out there on defense, and a lot of times it's their first time seeing something. If that's the case, you're going to make some mistakes. That's what we go into the film room and work through.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think it's a no brainer he'll be here, because they know what they have." -- Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey on the prospects of a long-term extension for linebacker Elvis Dumervil.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Broncos have been quiet for most of June. Their interest in running back Brian Westbrook has waned and most other free agents have been picked through pretty well.

Denver's main focus before training camp will be on internal matters. Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil is looking for a long-term deal, and the Broncos have said they want to lock him up. Also, the Broncos will try to avoid a rookie holdout, but that will be challenging with two first-round picks: receiver Demaryius Thomas and quarterback Tim Tebow.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--P Mitch Berger (not tendered as UFA).
--S Vernon Fox (not tendered as UFA).
--OT Brandon Gorin (not tendered as UFA).
--CB Ty Law (not tendered as UFA).

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (*indicates restricted because of uncapped year): None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED
--C J.D. Walton (3/80): $2.588M/4 yrs, $798,500 SB.
--CB Perrish Cox (5/137): Terms unknown.
--CB Syd'Quan Thompson (7/225): Terms unknown.
--LB Jammie Kirlew (7/232): Terms unknown.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--S Josh Barrett: ERFA; terms unknown.
--*OLB Elvis Dumervil; RFA (tendered at $3.168M with first- and third-round picks as compensation); $3.168M/1 yr.
--LB Nick Greisen: UFA; terms unknown.
--G Russ Hochstein: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--*G Chris Kuper: RFA; (tendered at $2.521M with first-round pick as compensation); $2.521M/1 yr.
--WR Brandon Lloyd: UFA; terms unknown.
--*QB Kyle Orton: RFA; (tendered at $2.621M with first-round pick as compensation); $2.621M/1 yr.
--K Matt Prater: ERFA; terms unknown.
--*DE Le Kevin Smith: Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--RB J.J. Arrington: FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Akin Ayodele: FA Dolphins; terms unknown.
--DT Justin Bannan: UFA Ravens; $22M/5 yrs, $6.3M SB.
--DE Jarvis Green: UFA Patriots; $20M/4 yrs.
--CB Nate Jones: UFA Dolphins; $4.33M/4 yrs.
--QB Brady Quinn (trade Browns).
--RB Kolby Smith (waivers Chiefs).
--NT Jamal Williams: FA Chargers; $16M/3 yrs, $7M guaranteed.

PLAYERS LOST
--QB Tom Brandstater (rleased).
--LB Andra Davis (released).
--OG Mitch Erickson (released).
--OG Ben Hamilton: UFA Seahawks; terms unknown.
--FB Peyton Hillis (traded Browns).
--DE Vonnie Holliday: UFA Redskins; terms unknown.
--RB LaMont Jordan (released).
--WR Brandon Marshall (traded Dolphins).
--OG Matt McChesney (retired).
--DL J'Vonne Parker (released).
--DE Kenny Peterson (released).
--TE Tony Scheffler (trade Lions).
--QB Chris Simms (released).
--C Casey Wiegmann (released).



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