Broncos Coach John Fox Says QB Spot Still Wide Open

Broncos head coach John Fox has said that there will be an open competition for the team’s starting quarterback job, a position he maintained on Thursday to Woody Paige of The Denver Post.

Fox also listed what he’s looking for in a starter.

“I prefer a gamer to a good practice player,” said Fox. “I want someone who will execute under pressure in a game.”

According to Paige, the team’s depth chart displayed in Fox’s office has Kyle Orton at the top, 2010 first-round pick Tim Tebow in the middle, and Brady Quinn third, but Fox hasn’t had a chance to work with either quarterback in a practice, so that depth chart is not set in stone.

Orton started the first 13 games of the Broncos’ 2010 season, completing 58.8% of his 498 pass attempts for 3,653 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions, resulting in an 87.5 passer rating. Tebow started the final three games, completing 41-of-82 pass attempts for 654 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions for a passer rating of 82.1. Quinn did not play in 2010.

“We’ve got three quarterbacks who have started games in this league,” Fox said of the decision to not bring in a fourth quarterback. “I know that quarterback is the top priority in Denver — and there’s a reason why they are so important because great ones are so hard to find — but I like having the problem of having three.”

When the lockout ends, a team in search of a short-term starting quarterback — Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans — may have an interest in acquiring Orton, who is due $8.879 million salary number ($7.379 million base salary, $1.5 million roster bonus) in 2011. Tim Tebow is due to earn just $405,000 in base salary, but has a $6.2775 million salary advance due between the 2nd and 15th day of the league year and a $472,500 roster bonus for a salary number of $2.4 million. Quinn is set to earn $700,000 in base salary.

With a new salary cap expected to be part of a collective bargaining agreement, Orton’s high salary number may be one the Broncos will look to move off the roster, especially if teams are offering up future draft picks.

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