In March, Josh McDaniels was asked about Kyle Orton’s role after the Brady Quinn trade.
“He is our starter,” McDaniels said. “There is no question.”
Then he was asked again after the Broncos drafted Tim Tebow on April 22.
“Our starting quarterback is Kyle Orton,” McDaniels said.
And again, after the second day of the draft April 23, McDaniels was asked if Orton was the starter.
“Still, no question,” McDaniels said.
And then on May 24 someone asked if Orton was the starter until someone took the job from him.
“That’s usually how it goes,” McDaniels said. “The starter is the starter until somebody beats him out.”
With national television media in Denver for the first day of the Broncos’ mandatory minicamp, they asked McDaniels again.
“Kyle’s certainly got a great grasp on what we’re doing and he’s performing very well right now in the spring and the two younger guys are trying to push,” McDaniels said.
McDaniels isn’t clear on everything – as the situation with Robert Ayers’ benching in practice shows – but he has been clear on Orton’s status. Someone might beat him in training camp, but Orton is the starter. McDaniels usually includes a line or two about every position being open for competition – and that has opened up round after round of (unnecessary) “quarterback controversy” questions.
There is no controversy. Orton is without any doubt the Broncos’ starting quarterback. He’s not guaranteed to start opening day, but as McDaniels says, nobody is.
Yet, he faced another round of questions about Orton and the “quarterback controversy” today, and answered like he has for three months.
“He is the starter,” McDaniels said with a laugh “What do you want me to expound on it? He is the starter. No doubt.”
McDaniels was asked how he could have a quarterback competition but yet, have a starting quarterback.
“That’s how it is on every team in the league,” McDaniels said. “Somebody beats out a starter, they become the starter. Pretty simple to me.”
McDaniels was asked if he likes the quarterback situation to be resolved early on.
“There’s nothing to be resolved really,” 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.”
McDaniels couldn’t be clearer with his words, and what the quarterbacks have shown in offseason practices has backed him up.
Orton has looked sharp in training camp most days, and Quinn and Tebow have had their struggles (although, as McDaniels pointed out, all three quarterbacks looked good today). Orton has done everything he can to create a significant cushion between him and the other two quarterbacks on the roster, after throwing for 3,802 yards and 21 touchdowns last year. If he isn’t the starter for the season opener, it would be a pretty big upset.
“It’s clear Kyle is ahead,” McDaniels said to yet another question about the quarterback competition today. “There’s no question.”