Fox: Orton is our starter right now

February, 24, 2011
2/24/11
12:30
PM ET

INDIANAPOLIS -- New Denver Broncos head coach John Fox dropped a bombshell of sorts when he met with the media Thursday and said incumbent starter Kyle Orton is still the Broncos starting quarterback.

However, after the mass media session, in a smaller crowd, Fox was asked to clarify that statement. Is Orton the sure Week 1 starter or is he simply at the top of the Broncos’ depth chart as of Feb. 24?

“I can’t predict Week 1, so it’s today,” Fox said. “We’ll see."

It’s important to realize that nothing firm has been decided. Orton said recently that he has no idea about his future and has only had limited discussions with Fox.

Yes, it’s significant that Fox said Orton is the starter for now. But there is a long way to go, and I wouldn’t have expected Fox to have said Thursday that Tim Tebow is the sure starter.

Fox said it will be a competition, and he indicated it could be well into training camp before any decision is made.

However, there is always the option of Orton being traded. There are several teams looking for a veteran quarterback, and Orton could be popular if the Broncos can get a second- or third-round pick for him. The fact that Denver VP of football operations John Elway said last month that Orton was still in the picture and that Fox said Thursday that Orton is the current starter could help give Denver some leverage in Orton trade talks.

If there is a fairly fast resolution to the labor dispute, that could expedite an Orton trade and allow the team to spend as much time with Tebow in the offseason as possible.

I know there is a faction inside Denver’s building that wants to give Tebow a chance and that is the sentiment of the fan base. The start of the Fox regime is the perfect time to start the Tebow era.

I still think that will be the ultimate decision. Fox’s words Thursday were interesting, but as he said, Orton is simply the starter today. That may change in six-plus months.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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