INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – Broncos first-year head coach John Fox took to the podium Thursday morning at the NFL Combine with quarterback talk dominating the conversation. Specifically, the status of Kyle Orton was in focus.
As far as Fox is concerned, Orton is Denver’s starting quarterback…for now.
“Right now, Kyle Orton is our starter,” Fox said.
Asked if Orton was also on the trade block, Fox added, “I think it would be pretty hard to be both. As far as I’m concerned, Kyle is under contract and he’s our starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos.”
Speculation has been mounting in Denver all off-season regarding Orton’s future with the club. The Broncos have a first-round investment waiting for a full-time starting opportunity in Tim Tebow and another young quarterback who they traded RB Payton Hillis for in Brady Quinn.
Tebow started the final three games for Denver last season, completing 49.4% of his passes with 4 TDs and 3 INTs. Though Fox declared Orton as Denver’s starting quarterback, the head coach was careful to leave the door open for Tebow and Quinn as well.
“We’ll really figure it out once we start competing,” Fox said. “We’ve got a very young guy and high draft pick in Tim Tebow that got his feet wet last year towards the end of the season, did an outstanding job and has some of those intangibles you’re looking for. And shoot, Brady Quinn, I’m looking forward to see play.”
Specific to Denver’s second overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Broncos could be inclined to go with an impact player on the defensive side of the football.
Fox is in the middle of implementing a 4-3 defensive scheme in the Mile High City amongst personnel suited for the 3-4 system that Denver operated under former head coach Josh McDaniels.
When the Chiefs were undergoing a similar, but reverse, switch in defensive scheme,
“The biggest thing for us is going to be adjusting the personnel,” Fox said. “Like every off-season, it’s a fluid process. We’ve evaluated it and the cupboard is not completely bare, but we have work to do. I’m excited, but we have a lot of work to do.”
Fox has some advantage in selecting second as his former employer, the Carolina Panthers, own the first pick of 2011.
“With the second pick, you’re obviously going to get a heck of a football player, and we’re counting on that,” said Fox.
The last time that Fox owned the second overall pick, Carolina selected All-Pro DE Julius Peppers.