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Broncos’ Sean Payton refers to his three quarterbacks as ‘orphan dogs’: ‘They’ve all come from somewhere’

A member of Bill Parcells’ coaching tree, Sean Payton is known to mimic his former boss by offering a notable line or two during interviews. Payton was at it again Thursday when he used an interesting metaphor to sum up his quarterback room that consists of rookie Bo Nix, Zach Wilson and Jarrett Stidham

“They’re all orphan dogs,” Payton said, via CBS News Colorado. “They’ve all come from somewhere.”

Payton’s not wrong. Nix hails from Oregon, where he threw a whopping 74 touchdowns and completed nearly 75% of his throws after transferring from Auburn. Wilson, a fellow former first-round pick, spent his first three NFL seasons toiling on often out-manned Jets teams before he was traded to Denver this offseason. 

“I need to be consistent every single day,” Wilson said, via the team’s website. “Understanding the offense, understanding what I’m asked to do, taking care of the football and how quickly I can get the ball out of my hands to some of the playmakers that we have, too.”

Stidham is a 2019 fourth-round pick who was a backup in New England before making two starts for the Raiders in 2022 and two more with the Broncos last season. 

“I’ve dealt with this before when I was in New England with Mac Jones,” Stidham said. “It’s a business and I totally understand it, but at the same time, I’m here to compete. I’m not going to just sit down and let someone else walk in here and [just take the role]. I’m going to work my butt off to get the job. I’m super excited about it.”

The Broncos quarterback situation is a fluid one. Payton said the quarterbacks will split reps during OTAs. Payton did offer some encouraging comments about Nix, the sixth quarterback taken in April’s draft. 

“He’s further along than most,” Payton said. “We’re talking about a player who has played 61 [college] games. He’s extremely smart. He’s picked it up very quickly.”

Payton also offered an encouraging review about the overall performance of his quarterbacks during the early stages of OTA’s. 

“I would say — you guys watched the practice — [that] they’re doing well,” Payton said.

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