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Broncos’ Sean Payton knows his deadline for picking QB1, won’t rush decision of naming a Week 1 starter

The Denver Broncos have yet to name a starting quarterback and there is no sign of a decision coming. Head coach Sean Payton is not putting a timeline on naming a QB1, as all three options have split first-team reps in practice. 

Payton has given no indication as to which quarterback he is more impressed by out of Bo Nix, Jarrett Stidham and Zach Wilson. The head coach is giving himself right up until the 2024 season begins — if it takes that long — to fully evaluate which QB should lead the Broncos’ offense in Week 1. 

“I would say I have an end date — that would be the week before the first game — but I don’t have a set date (to name the starter),” Payton said Wednesday (via NBC Sports).

The Super Bowl-winning coach believes that taking time to choose the right guy is better than making a quick choice. He added that he has a “gut” decision. 

Right now, Nix, Stidham and Wilson are all getting an equal chance and are having a “good competition,” according to Payton. It will come down to who gives the team the best chance to put checks in the win column. 

As the offseason progresses, Payton predicts the decision will become more clear. 

“I still think we always talk about the locker room and the players in the locker room,” Payton said. “I think when we get into training camp and we get into the preseason games, I think oftentimes the decisions take care of themselves, but the object is to win. In our league, it’s year to year. Man, we’re competing to win this year, and we’re going to make the right decision relative to who gives us that opportunity.”

The three options have varying levels of experience. Nix was the No. 12 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, so whether they feel he is ready right away or not, his draft number shows the Broncos expect him to eventually take over. 

Stidham has only started in four games in his career, with a 1-3 record. He has played in 16 games total between his time with the New England Patriots, the Las Vegas Raiders and the Broncos, who he joined ahead of the 2023 season. He split his two starts in his first year in Denver, throwing for 496 yards with two touchdowns and one interceptions in three total games.

While Nix is younger and has more potential, Stidham has one year of learning the Broncos system.

Wilson has fewer years in the league than Stidham, but more starting experience, leading the offense 33 times in his three years with the New York Jets. He went 12-21 in those starts, with 6,293 yards, 23 touchdowns and 25 interceptions in his career. His struggles in New York certainly raise a red flag. 

Whether to start a rookie right away is a big debate in the NFL, with some feeling it is best to throw them right under the bright lights and others feeling they need time to develop instead of putting them in too soon and negatively impacting their career. Nix is the popular choice, but may not be who is put out there right away. Payton wants to win this season, so even if he feels Nix is the future, unless he is confident he will win now, the first-rounder will sit. 

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Author: Shanna McCarriston
June 11, 2024 | 5:50 pm

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