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In the saddle: Orton over Tebow on Broncos' QB depth chart

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Tim Tebow might be winning the popularity contest, but Kyle Orton has -- for now -- won the starting quarterback job for the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos released their depth chart Monday in advance of this week's preseason opener at Dallas, and there was no change in the order from a year ago: 1. Orton; 2. Tebow; 3. Brady Quinn.

Orton has taken almost all the first-team snaps in training camp, with Tebow and Quinn sharing work with the second and third units.

The crowds at the team's Dove Valley headquarters are dotted with Tebow jerseys -- his No. 15 is one of the league's best-sellers -- while it's hard to find an Orton jersey. Even the team's pro shop had 60 adult Tebow jerseys for sale Monday and just five of Orton's No. 8 jerseys.

There's a similar disparity in the stands, and Orton was asked after Monday's nearly three-hour workout about Tebow being the people's choice.

"Thank God the people don't make the decisions (on who's starting)," Orton said. "That's really all I've got to say about it."

Orton said his job is to win over his teammates and the coaching staff, and "my last goal is to win over the fans."

And winning football games, "that's how you win over everybody," Orton said.

As for Thursday night's preseason opener against the Cowboys, Orton said he doesn't necessarily want to play more than usual, given the lack of team work during the 4½-month lockout.

"No, I think you want to go out and play successfully, and once you've had some good success, get off the field," Orton said. "And whether you had the OTA reps or not, still your No. 1 goal is to get your best players into the first (regular-season) game. So, hopefully we can go out, have a little success, get a little confidence going and get off the field."

Tebow, who started the Broncos' final four games last season, told reporters Friday that statements he made to The Denver Post about the starting quarterback job being taken away from him were "a little bit out of context." He clarified that he never was promised the starting job by the Broncos' coaches or front office.

"(The Broncos) never said anything to me like that at all," Tebow told the team's official website. "The plan all the whole time was to come in and compete ... that's what I love doing.

"I don't feel like anything was taken from me, and I don't want anything given to me, also," Tebow said. "I want to work for anything that I get, that's for sure, and I've always been like that."

While the quarterback competition plays out, plenty of rookies will see some meaningful snaps against the Cowboys.

Von Miller, the second overall pick in the draft, is listed as the starter at strongside linebacker, and rookie Rahim Moore is the starter at free safety. Rookie Orlando Franklin is listed atop the depth chart at right tackle.

"My whole life, I've been blessed and fortunate to be able to be thrown into the fire," Moore said. "I always realize that you've got to grow up someday."

Miller, who grew up a Cowboys fan in Dallas and attended Texas A&M, said he was especially eager for his NFL debut. He said no one should be surprised, either, that so many rookies are seeing meaningful snaps after just two weeks of workouts.

"We put in work over the offseason. It wasn't like OTAs or anything like that, but we were all working," he said. "Everybody started from the same spot. We've got a new coach and a new playbook, so everybody's on even ground. So coming in, it gives everybody a fair chance."

Notes: Rookie Julius Thomas has enjoyed a solid camp but isn't listed as a starter at tight end. ... The Broncos placed RB Mario Fannin (knee) on season-ending injured reserve. ... DB Syd'Quan Thompson (groin), DT Mitch Unrein (knee) and RB Brandon Minor (unspecified) didn't practice.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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