Broncos glad to put bad season behind them

By Arnie Stapleton

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Jan. 3 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

"Regardless of what's out there, I want to be here," Bailey said. "(But) I'm not going to shortchange myself at all. I want to win. If I feel like I have a better opportunity to win somewhere else, that's what it's going to be."

Denver's roster needs a major makeover and the Broncos have just six selections in the draft to repair a defense that was the league's worst. McDaniels didn't use any of his 19 draft picks on an inside linebacker or defensive tackle and the Broncos ranked better than only Buffalo in defending the run in 2010.

The lowest point of the Broncos' season was the suicide of former Denver wide receiver Kenny McKinley, who killed himself with a gun he'd bought from a teammate.

Safety Renaldo Hill said the team couldn't really mourn until now.

"Kenny was a good guy. He was a father. Just tough things to think about," Hill said. "This is my family here — and for all these guys — and losing a part of that is definitely a hole in our hearts."

The Broncos' next coach might step right into a quarterback controversy.

Tebow started the last three games, going 1-2 but providing some much-needed energy and excitement to the team, the organization and the city after supplanting prolific passer Orton, who lost his starting job when he suffered bruised ribs and two poor performances in December.

Orton threw for 3,653 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions, his biggest beneficiary being Brandon Lloyd, who caught 77 passes for an NFL-high 1,448 yards and made his first Pro Bowl in his eighth NFL season.

Tebow completed half of his 82 passes for 654 yards with five TDs and three interceptions and also ran 43 times for 227 yards and six scores.

Orton's future in Denver is up in the air even though he signed a contract extension in camp that will pay him $8.8 million next season.

"I really don't know what's going to happen next year," Orton said. "I just know wherever I'm going to be, it's going to be a good thing for me."

Tebow said his three-week audition gave him confidence and game reps to study in the offseason, but he refused to say whether he considers himself the incumbent starter now.

Orton complained last month that he didn't deserve to lose his starting job and reiterated that sentiment Monday, insisting he deserves to start next year in Denver or elsewhere.

"They're going to make a decision based as an organization on what they want to do," Orton said. "But certainly with my play, I don't feel like I opened the door for anybody."

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