Woody Paige: This isn't the Denver Broncos' first rodeo with dueling quarterbacks

·4 min read

Jun. 19—The Duel at Dove Valley has paused until July 31, but The Great Debate about Drew Lock/Teddy Bridgewater continues incessantly.

And the meaningful matters involving Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson don't disappear.

If four quarterbacks are in the discussion, that quandary wrapped in a predicament shrouded in a dilemma means that the Broncos have no definitive starter.

At minicamp Lock said he will take a few days off, then work out regularly with other Broncos in Denver, and Bridgewater will return to his home in Miami to "chill out" and invite a couple of Broncos wide receivers to join him for beach time and passing reps.

So we wait for Rumble in the Rockies to resume at Camptown '21.

This is not the Broncos' first rodeo, though. They have persevered through quarterback clashes since the franchise's inaugural training camp.

When the AFL team convened in July 1960 at the Colorado School of Mines campus, players practiced at the football field and slept on cots in the field house. Among them were seven quarterbacks. Four others had been drafted, but weren't invited to participate.

Coach Frank Filchock, who had been fired from the Canadian Football League, brought his former, retired quarterback, Frank Tripucka, to coach the Broncos' "Insignificant 7". Five couldn't play dead in a Western and didn't even earn jersey numbers. The 30-year-old Tom Dublinski (Utah) and George Herring, 25 and an ex-Mississippi Southern QB and punter, played in the Broncos' first exhibition — a 43-6 humiliation against the Boston Patriots in Providence, R.I.

Filchock ordered Tripucka to unretire.

The brief competition for the Broncos' first quarterback was over. Tripucka would start 40 games, but the Broncos brought in three challengers in 1963, and the quarterback carousel has revolved — even including Hall of Famers John Elway and Peyton Manning, Ring of Famers Craig Morton and Charley Johnson, and other playoff game-winning quarterbacks Jake Plummer and Tim Tebow.

Welcome to Elitch's 83-year-old merry-go-round in Denver, Drew and Teddy. Nothing new to see here.

Does Rodgers believe he was the first first-round quarterback who had to sit on the sideline for years behind a veteran quarterback (Brett Favre) or endure his team drafting a quarterback (Jordan Love) while he still was a star?

The Broncos drafted Tommy Maddox in 1992 to replace Elway, Brian Griese in 1998 to replace Elway, Jay Cutler in 2006 to replace Plummer, Tebow in 2010 to replace Kyle Orton, Brock Osweiler in 2012 to replace Manning, Paxton Lynch in 2016 to replace Trevor Siemian, Chad Kelly in 2017 to replace somebody and Lock in 2019 to succeed Joe Flacco.

You think Elway was happy about Maddox, Plummer about Cutler, Orton about Tebow, Manning about Osweiler? Peyton wouldn't even allow Brock to go in to play late in a blowout. John acted as if Tommy didn't exist. Maddox and Osweiler had to go somewhere else. Plummer and Orton were dumped.

Lock and Bridgewater are playing nice in the sandbox, it is said. But each is certain he should and will be the starting quarterback.

Unless the infuriated Rodgers is traded to the Broncos. Or maybe all 22 of the allegations against Watson suddenly go away as the erstwhile starting quarterback of the Texans persists in telling his Broncos' buddy, Kareem Jackson, that he would join the Broncos in a Texas second.

Pardon me if don't go gaga over the assesses of QB Thunderball during OTAs and minicamp.

Been there since Charley Johnson and "Colfax Steve" Ramsey in 1974 and a '77 four-way battle royale featuring Morton, Steve Spurrier, Norris Weese and Craig Penrose — when I had to tell Spurrier, the former Heisman Trophy winner, on the team plane after an exhibition that he not only wouldn't be the starter, but would be cut from the team. He was the next day.

Coach Josh McDaniels pulled me into his office during training camp of 2011 and avowed that Orton would be traded and Tebow be named starter. Instead, Orton was the season-opener QB. However, McDaniels would be fired and Orton traded. Tebow did start the last three games.

Everyone assumed in 2000 after Elway retired that veteran Bubby Brister, who had won four games the year before when John was hurt, would be the starter. The week of the first game Griese was selected. Brister was finished here.

Thus, Broncos' buckaroos, yippee-ki-yay. Hold your horses.

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