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Fox: Broncos' QB derby will come down to game execution

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Broncos coach John Fox maintains that a "wide-open competition" for the team's starting quarterback job lies ahead, but he told The Denver Post that "deep down, I have an idea" who will come out on top between Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn.

Fox, in his first season with the Broncos after nine years as coach of the Carolina Panthers, told the newspaper Thursday that "we do have a depth chart," but it's not set in stone.

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Fox, who hasn't even seen his quarterbacks practice, wants to see how all three respond to game situations.

"I prefer a gamer to a good practice player. ... I want someone who will execute under pressure in a game," he told <>The Post. "So much depends on what happens (with the length of the lockout). I honestly can't sit here and tell you when a starter will be chosen."

The team's official website states that the 2011 depth chart "will be released before the first preseason game," but The Post reported Orton-Tebow-Quinn as the current order, which falls in line with Fox's statements at February's NFL Scouting Combine in which he called Orton his starter.

Broncos team executive John Elway echoed that later in the month, telling NFL Network that Orton, not 2010 first-round draft pick Tim Tebow, was the man to beat.

"Kyle is still the starting quarterback," Elway said at the time. "Tim is a very good football player. He's not a very good quarterback yet. We can make him a great quarterback. He's a young guy."

Orton passed for 3,653 yards and 20 touchdowns with nine interceptions last season, and he completed 58.8 percent of his throws in 12 starts.

Tebow, an icon at the University of Florida, generated excitement while starting the Broncos' final four games. He passed for 654 yards and five touchdowns on the year, and he rushed for another 227 yards and six scores.

Then there's Quinn, who was acquired last offseason in a trade with the Cleveland Browns for running back and "Madden NFL 12" cover boy Peyton Hillis -- a deal that has yet to pan out for Denver. Quinn joined his teammates for workouts last month, and said at the time that he sees himself as an NFL starter.

"I want to be No. 1," Quinn said. "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."

Fox told The Post the Broncos have no plans to bring in a fourth arm.

"We've got three quarterbacks who have started games in this league," he said. "I know that quarterback is the top priority in Denver -- and there's a reason why they are so important because the great ones are so hard to find -- but I like the problem of having three to pick from."

The Broncos are coming off a disastrous season that included the midseason firing of coach Josh McDaniels and culminated with a 4-12 record. That led to the installation of Broncos legend Elway as the team's chief football executive and the hiring of Fox as coach.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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