Ever since the hype machine swallowed the Denver Broncos—after the team jockeyed draft picks and rolled the dice on quarterback Tim Tebow in April—the football community has been under the assumption that it’s merely a matter of when, not if, Tebow will take over as starting quarterback. That still may happen, but during the team’s first preseason game of 2010 yesterday, incumbent starter Kyle Orton proved he’s got a firm grip on the starting job.

Despite the team losing 33-24, Orton threw for two touchdowns early in the game, showing he is quite comfortable with coach Josh McDaniels’ system, and offering fans some hope of a dominant Broncos offense in 2010.

“It’s just a start, but it was a good one,” Orton tells The Denver Post. “I’m really excited about our offense. We’re going to have a unit that can dominate a game.”

While Tebow has captured the spotlight so far this summer, Brady Quinn has been listed as the team’s official number two quarterback. Quinn looked generally terrible yesterday, going 6-16 for 68 yards and an interception (via the Post’s NFL box score). Tebow, on the other hand, was 8-13 for 105 yards and rushed for a bone-crushing touchdown late in the game (video below).

Tebow’s play is winning him even more national attention, with The New York Times gathering opinions from across the country on his professional debut. It’s clear Tebow has a long way to go, but Quinn may have a lot more work to do to make sure Tebow doesn’t overtake him as Orton’s backup.