It’s starting to get to the point where all of this Tebow talk is beginning to feel a little futile isn’t it? Every week we fill up the message boards with “Tebow Time” and “Play Tebow Now” and the response is always “Maybe Next Time… or maybe never…” Next week against the Raiders it will be the same story all over again. Any other player and this would begin to get old real quick. But Tebow seems to be like beer, bikinis, Baywatch, bears, beets, and Battlestar Gallactica… you just can’t get enough of them… even the re-runs.
I’m beginning to feel like some of the Tebow rhetoric is becoming very singular, extremely focused, and becoming a little hysterical. I realize and totally understand the rationalization that now is the time to put Tebow into the game. I want to see it, my friends want to see, even my Raider-loving wife wants to see it. Tebow is the biggest NFL icon that never has been. That never was, and possibly maybe never will be. I mean, who can say? A man can hope, and sometimes the power of that hope can help him through the darkest of days. Dark days like today. Imagine for a second the complete disappointment we will feel if we realize Tebow isn’t the chosen one like we have allowed ourselves to believe. That will be our Brokeback Mountain moment. Still, my vote is to play this kid at home during those final two games of the season. As a fan, it's absolutely what I want.
Tebow’s dream of becoming a Bronco QB, like the American dream, is more of a financial one than an ethical one. Perhaps it is also true to suggest, so is OUR dream of Tebow becoming a Bronco QB (I think Tebow has the stones to be good to whichever team values him enough to play him). It’s a show me the money kind of situation and less of a “because it’s the right thing to do” situation. Thankfully I think that works very much in his (and our) favor. It simply doesn’t make any kind of financial sense to deal him for picks. He needs to be developed and we need to be the ones that do it. He needs to stay in Denver for now.
There seems to be this new line of thought traveling through the minds of fans that we need to dump Tebow for a draft pick. We need to use our high draft position and we need to spend other picks and trade away other players to draft another quarterback. Why? I think because as fans even we can recognize that winning teams begin with leadership and what we are lacking RIGHT NOW is leadership and we are willing to spend whatever it takes to get that into place as soon as possible. However, in my opinion,
The Broncos have a leadership problem, not a talent one.
If you had to pick just one critique on Orton’s play this season, even after all his statistical success, wouldn’t it be his leadership? Orton was decent in Chicago because he found a way to win. He led. He wasn’t statistically amazing, but he did find ways to win. That has not happened over the past 20 games here in Denver. When is the last time you saw Orton stand up to the media and straight up say:
“I am going to find a way to win. Whatever it takes I am going to put the work in and I am going to hold my players accountable for their performance. We will not be embarrassed like that again.” Orton will never make a Promise Speech.
The quickest way Orton could have silenced his critics and the Tebow crowing was to simply stand up, take the responsibility on his shoulders as the captain of the offense and say that we are not done. We are going to fight and we are going to win. All I heard was (paraphrasing, somewhat):
“Yeah, I’d like to get some of those passes back. I should have made better plays. We need to go back to drawing board. The coach knows what he’s doing. Hey are those Cheetos?”
That isn’t leadership. Did you see how Manning went after Blair White after he broke up that touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne? White sat by himself on the bench wondering why he wasn't born female so he could have played in the WNBA. And then Peyton throws right back to him on the next series. Leadership my friends. We know it when we see it and we aren’t seeing it right now. I think that is why Tebow is so attractive. The kid is all leadership. He’s got the Saving Private Ryan guts, the Gladiator attitude, and the Rudy quit. He hasn’t played a down in three games and still we all know it. The guy stands on the sidelines every game with his helmet on and football in hand. How can you not respect that? Let me put it this way, if you can walk up to a game and buy a shirt from a successful businessman that says “John Elway wears Tim Tebow pajamas” you just know that this kid has legit leadership potential… or some legit pajamas.
I’ve got tons of respect for Orton. I’ll echo what’s been said, if I were going to hit on Josh McDaniel’s wife I’d totally take him as my wingman… on second thought I may have misquoted that part. Orton is a grinder and a team player. I love that about him. He’s not flashy and he’s not quick but he does have some football smarts and a good arm. He’s accurate and given enough time in the pocket he can win games, which admittedly is like me saying if you stand still long enough in Halo I can kill you. However, it has never been more apparent to me than it has this year that he doesn’t have that leadership factor in him. McDaniel’s was very obviously our team’s leader off the field (for better or worse), but I began to wonder who our leader was on the field.
There’s a little known, extremely scientific scale that speaks directly to this issue. It’s the Chuck Norris Question. It’s a question that simply asks, if you were to insert a name into a Chuck Norris joke would it make sense. For example:
Champ Bailey: “The saddest moment for a wide receiver is not when he learns Santa Clause isn't real, it's when he learns Champ Bailey is.” Yeah that works.
Tim Tebow: “When life gives Tim Tebow lemons… he uses them to kill terrorists.” I believe it.
Kyle Orton: “When Google can't find something, it asks Kyle Orton for help.” Yeah, uh, not so much.
Bottom line, Kyle Orton isn’t our future. All joking aside I really do wish the best for him but he isn’t the answer to our team’s issues. He lacks the leadership to bring this team up from the ashes. People will say that he never had a chance to be the leader after we brought in Tebow, but that is not true. Just like Studesville has a chance to prove his leadership during the interim, Orton had his shot and even though he is having the statistically best year of his career, he also has the worst win/loss record of his career and what good are statistics if you can’t win the game? What good is a perfect season if you can’t win the Superbowl? What good are you as a leader if you can’t hold your players accountable when they make mistakes and then turn around and trust them by throwing right back to them as if to say, Hey, I know you messed up but I need you to step up and be better and I’m going to make you prove to me you can do it.
What good is it if you can’t own the fourth quarter in football? The last two minutes in basketball? The final three outs in baseball? As much as it pains me to admit it, Kobe Bryant is the greatest player in basketball because he is clutch. Because when it counts he is great. We need a QB that is great when it counts, not great when we are down by 30 and our opponent is playing vanilla D. A leader makes, no demands, that everyone be better. Especially when your team is gassed, down by 6 with 45 seconds and fourth and the sag wagon back home left to go.
Does Tim Tebow have the answer to this problem? Who can say for certain? Yet fears are being silently guided (purposefully or not) into our minds by his coaches and front office staff that he will never get to play another meaningful down in a Bronco uniform and we are beginning to look for alternatives. We are looking to the draft to save us. We need to, in other words, dismantle this team from its roots and begin again. I get this sentiment. I feel it in my gut and my greed is tweaked, but in my opinion this is awful strategy for a number of reasons.
We will not get equal value for Tim Tebow… right now.
What I don’t really understand is this Tebow trade talk. First of all, he wasn’t our highest draft pick yet we seem to think he is our most valuable bargaining chip. I don’t hear the fans calling to trade Thomas , who, by simple numbers as a higher draft pick and actual NFL playing experience you would think is a better choice to deal. No way. We realize what Tebow cost us as a franchise in terms of draft picks and players so to us he is far more valuable than Thomas. Unfortunately that is a value only we as fans share at the moment. To trade Tebow at this point would be the equivalent of trading in that Shelby Mustang you rebuilt by selling your Accord, Word of Warcraft account, and risque pictures of your ex-girlfriend to acquire, only to turn around and give it up to your Dad before you had a chance to turn the key.
Let’s consider the facts for a moment by assuming Luck enters the draft this year. First we have to ask ourselves if it is even worth keeping a 2nd year, small use QB like Tebow around if we are serious about drafting Luck. Surely not. However, unlike Tebow, Luck won’t fall to #25. He will go top 5. Maybe #1. Have you taken a moment to consider what those kinds of contracts look like? We will be spending a fortune, nearly as much as say a top two, 9-time Pro Bowl corner in the league, to get Luck into a contract. Tebow is, for all the hype, sales, excitement and low-ish contract value, a proverbial steal to the Broncos organization. Why dump his contract? If we can’t get the equivalent picks we spent on him back from trading him, we are simply selling him at a loss. We don’t even get to turn the key. A poor financial move by any reasoning.
First round picks are always investments. Both in time and resources. To view them as anything else means you need to be trading out of that round to the bargain bin. We are in a situation, like it or not, where the most financially viable thing to do with Tebow is to hold on to him and develop or play him. Either way, dealing him at this point in time is not intelligent stewardship of your raw talent. I believe that Bowlen and his staff understand this. Trading Tebow for draft picks simply won’t happen.
We need to consider using our high draft pick to trade down in the draft.
This is where the draft prowess of a Belichick type might be missed next draft. If we do have control of a very high draft pick, and we have as many holes on our team as we seem to be showing, it might be a better use of that pick to trade for a later first round pick and perhaps pick up a another 2nd or 3rd+ pick. We avoid those ridiculous top draft rookie contracts, and draft a deeper pool of talent. Perhaps we can find a way to save money and provide a deal to Champ or deal Champ for a great draft pick. I really hope we don’t deal Champ. I love that guy.
Dismantling our team by trading away all our raw talent right now admits to complete failure.
Perhaps this is attractive to McDaniel’s haters. The complete destruction of the team he built. Kind of like one final huge middle finger saying we want nothing to do with the Broncos of your watch. Thankfully, I don’t get the sense that this is the general sentiment of most fans and probably just Mark Kizsla whose columns have become like cheap booze. Every time you consume it you remember how bad it was the last time and swear to move on to Tecate… but then you get un-hungover and suddenly 40 stones makes a lot more sense again because you’ll still have money for Taco Bell and the cycle starts over again.
To trade away the talent that McDaniel’s brought here as bargains to organizations like the Patriots, Packers, and Cowboys, and then replace them with new rookie talent sends the message to the fans and players that this organization is in chaos. That we have no idea what we want. That we can’t build and we need successful players right now.
Obviously we have realized that as an organization this season is, as far as the ultimate goal of a SuperBowl is concerned, a lost one. Yet, 30 other teams will experience the same type of failure, perhaps just not quite as poignantly as we will. The key in terms of success in a losing season becomes what did you take away from your losses? What have we learned as an organization? What can we change to make next year better? Obviously our move to get Elway back into the mix is a real back to the future moment. I love the guy so I can’t complain but I can’t stress enough the need for our rebuilding to start right now. For us to move on. To forget the past. Let’s not waste any more time.
Tebow time should be soon and it should be hyped.
I have to think the Broncos FO feels the same way. There is something extremely attractive about a sellout crowd after you’ve gone 3-11. Look for Tebow to get the nod in two weeks, at home with a week of media hype and practice to build to his first start. Look for every other jersey to be #15. Look for the loudest Tebow chants you’ve ever heard. Look for ESPN to analyze every part of that game, and pray that somehow Tebow finds a way to breathe life back into a leaderless organization that has the talent, but lacks the development.
Which is exactly why I have purchased tickets to the Texans game in two weeks right now, before they skyrocket after the announcement… which on the other hand if it does not happen means I’m definitely going back to my 40 stones and Taco Bell plan.
All I want for Christmas this year is:
One Tebow chance,
Two new team coaches,
Three more months till draft day,
Four more wins than last year,
Five more years with Bailey
Six… decent draft picks..
and a PARRRR-ISH IN A PENI-TEN-TIAR-EE!
Merry Christmas MHR. Let’s Go Broncos!