Making sense of Denver's backup QB job

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
4:00
PM ET
It was a topic on “SportsCenter” earlier Wednesday, and it will likely make headlines again in the coming days.

Some folks are in a tizzy because Denver coach John Fox doesn’t plan to say whether Brady Quinn or Tim Tebow will be his backup quarterback to starter Kyle Orton. New NFL rules will allow three quarterbacks to be active on game day, so teams won’t have to announce who the No. 2 quarterback will be. The lack of announcement will be for perceived competitive reasons.

Here are some thoughts on this storyline:

There will be a No. 2: Whether Fox announces it or not, the team will know who the No. 2 quarterback is. It will be the player who gets second-team repetitions in practice and it will be the player who replaces Orton if he gets hurt. All recent signs point to Quinn being that player.

Tebow can still hit the field: While Quinn will likely be the backup, there is a chance Tebow will play in 2011 and Quinn won’t. If Orton stays healthy, Quinn won’t hit the field. Yet, the team has some short-yardage packages planned for Tebow, so he can get some playing time.

How Tebow can become the starter: Last year, Tebow played the final three games after the Broncos started 3-10. If the Broncos falter again and the team decides to play for the future, Tebow could play again if Quinn doesn’t get a contract extension soon. With Quinn a free agent and Tebow under contract for several more years, taking a look at Tebow at the end of the year would make more sense.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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