“Yep. No question,” McDaniels tells The Denver Post. “He’s earned it.”
The statement from the second-year coach makes sense on its face, but Bronco Nation can be forgiven if they are skeptical. After all, McDaniels said the same thing last year, prior to running young star quarterback Jay Cutler out of town.
At the time, McDaniels told NFL Network that Cutler, despite rumors he was on the trading block, would be the Broncos’ quarterback: “He’s our quarterback…. We want him to be our quarterback” (via ESPN). But then Cutler went to Chicago and Orton came to Denver.
Making the deja vu even more pronounced is the recent trade for Cleveland’s Brady Quinn, who’s young, has a big arm, and is a lot more mobile than Orton. Quinn is also the guy the Post has speculated will take the Broncos to their next Super Bowl. Time will tell if he’s as smart as Orton, but the quarterback situation is definitely fluid, to say the least.
Meanwhile, McDaniels might be making another baffling decision if rumors are true that the team is looking at signing former Tennessee Titans center Kevin Mawae (via NFL News and Rumors). The Broncos cut center Casey Wiegmann last year, citing his old age (36) and diminished performance as the year wore on and the team failed to consistently run the ball.
By all accounts, Mawae is a good guy, but he’s three years older than Wiegmann, and although he’s a former Pro Bowl-player, the Titans will only bring him back in a reserve role. It’s just a rumor at this point, and the Post doesn’t think it will happen, but we’ve all been wrong before on predicting what McDaniels will do.