MHR Roundtable - How Does Tebow Affect the Denver Broncos?

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At MHR, the staff will get together to discuss issues of the moment.  Today's discussion is the controversial decision to bring in Tim Tebow with a first round pick.  Was it a good decision?  How might it affect the locker room dynamics or morale?

Below, each staffer gives you his opinion.  The most important opinion is yours, so make sure to put it into the comments section.  Do you agree or disagree with a certain view, or have a new view altogether?  We'd love to hear from you!

This week's question, "What does the future hold for Orton and Tebow?  How will this impact the locker room morale of the team, and the team's future?"

TJ Johnson - MHR Statistician Consultant

We are going to see 2006 all over again.  I believe Tebow will be the starting quarterback by the end of the 2010 season.  And quite frankly, I'm okay with it.  He's the coach and he needs to get the guys in there that are going to run his offense the way he wants.  I think Josh McDaniels meant it when he said he wants to bring an offense unlike anything we've seen before.  He just meant it a year late.  I think this means Tebow and I think it means Tebow doing what he does best--running the shotgun/spread.  In 2007 and 2008, the Patriots (under McDaniels) ran out of the shotgun/spread over 50% of their total snaps.  In 2009, the Broncos were at about 37%.  2009 was an aberration/  It does not reflect what McDaniels wants to do.  Expect a lot more shotgun/spread in 2010.  And expect it with Tebow.   


The main stream media keeps saying that a shotgun/spread QB can't make it in an NFL-style offensive. And they're right.  But the mistake they are making is that they are assuming that McDaniels drafted Tebow to convert him to a pro-style QB.  He did not.  He drafted the greatest college shotgun/spread QB in history to run the hell out of the shotgun/spread in the NFL.  This is nothing against Orton or Quinn.  But Tebow will run the shotgun/spread much better, and for the first time in the modern-day NFL, you'll see a QB punishing cornerbacks and safeties on a QB power off-tackle.  Orton and Quinn will accept the inevitable without much locker-room trouble because they'll be as amazed as we all will be.

Brian Shrout - MHR Senior Analyst

Jeez, let's ask the easy questions.  Not.  The pithy answer is that the future for Orton and Tebow will be whatever they choose to make it.  Yet, that is precisely what it is.  Should Orton continue to demonstrate his previous pattern of improving each year, proves himself to be effective in running the offense, and the team wins, he will continue to hold his position as the team's starter.  Most people don't realize that Orton's 2009 regular season passing stats were better than many of the QBs that played in the last 10 Super Bowls -- in completion percentage (better than 4/10 SB winners, 5/10 SB losers), in yards (better than 8/10 SB winners, 3/10 SB losers), in TDs (better than 4/10 SB winners, 1/10 SB losers), and in Ints (better than 5/10 SB winners, 6/10 SB losers).  Tebow will do whatever he's asked to do and will push Orton to become better.  He will see action late in games that are well in hand.  McDaniels has no reason to rush Tebow's development, barring injuries to both Orton & Quinn, and/or Orton and Quinn both totally tanking.

I think the competition between Orton and Tebow will raise morale in the locker room tremendously.  Both have the reputation of being "I'll do whatever I need to do to make the team better" type of players.  Orton's been through this type of situation before with the Bears -- After leading them to the playoffs as a rookie, he was sat in favor of the returning starter.  The following season a veteran (Griese) was brought in to be the #2 guy and Orton sat.  The next year, he finished the season after injuries and poor performances by the #1 & #2 guys knocked the Bears out of the playoffs.  His last year in Chicago, he won the starting job.  Tebow has eadership that McDaniels wants to see.  They will push each other to get better, and in so doing, lead by example and inspire the rest of the team to emulate them, leading to the on-going success of the team.  I know this wasn't asked, but I think the wildcard behavior that might disrupt the process is more likely to come from Brady Quinn, than from either Orton or Tebow.
Tim Lynch - MHR Senior Staff Writer
I feel bad for Orton.  I really do, but Josh McDaniels did not draft Tim Tebow 25th overall for him to come in for gimmick plays.  2010 is Kyle Orton's year.  It is his year to show any team in need of a quarterback that he is worthy.  Most of us Bronco fans know that Orton is worthy and is a starting quarterback in the NFL, unfortunately, a team can only have ONE starting quarterback.  Lockout or not, Tim Tebow will work tirelessly to put himself into position to start by next season.  For better or for worse, the Broncos will become Tim Tebow's Broncos.

The locker room situation worries me a little.  Kyle Orton is obviously well respected and liked and I worry how the other veteran players might react to McD's apparent abandonment of faith in Orton.  Though I don't believe this to be McD's intent, perception is everything and players might perceive this action to be a violation of loyalty.  We can all say the NFL is a business, yada yada.  McD is trying to build a TEAM...a FAMILY.  Hard to do now that you seem to have thrown a guy like Orton under the bus.  I think how it all plays out depends largely on Tim Tebow.  How he acts and bonds with his new teammates.  I have a feeling Tebow will win over the guys in the locker room and save McD a major headache of trying to keep moral high.
Kirk Davis - MHR Senior Research Fellow
Kyle Orton's future will be defined by the end of this season. First the poor guy has his best statistical year in the league and literally resurrects his career after being mis-used in Chicago, then he gets paid back be being a victim of the CBA and missing out on what might be his one chance at a decent payday. To me, he has proven himself to
be a better than average QB, and a great leader merely by the examples he sets. We know now, that Tim Tebow is the future leader of theBroncos and that Josh will give him every opportunity to achieve that.  By his statements in one of the Post Draft interviews, it sounds to me like Kyle has at least this year to continue leading our team. The
rest will be decided upon TT's development. I have this subtle feeling, that Brady Quinn is being saved for the likes of Minnesota post-Favre. He will benefit from McD's ministrations and turn into a solid draft pick in return. If not, well someone has to be #2 and even though Kyle seems to be a man of grace, it would be rough on him to be relegated to the bench for a second (or third) time for his second team. So either way, one of them will have to go and whichever gets the higher return IMO, will go.

I am of the opinion that the team has enough character to be resilient as far as morale goes. The team captains have enough charisma and respect (nobody will back talk Dawkins) that they won't let the team suffer.

Sayre Bedinger - MHR Scouting / Roster Specialist

I have no idea the distant future of Kyle Orton, but his immediate future is what we need to concentrate on as Broncos fans.  There is a strong chance he will not be a Bronco in 2011, especially with our recent pickups of Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow.  That said, I think Orton is obviously the most polished of the four QB's we currently have, and in a contract year, I expect him to have a big year for the Broncos and attract big money on the open market from a QB needy team, and the Broncos can take advantage of that by possibly franchise tagging him and getting a few picks or players in return for him.  I think Orton puts up solid numbers in 2010, but nothing too flashy.
 
As for the future of Tim Tebow, I think he's in the perfect situation.  Denver is a great football city, first and foremost, so he will be embraced by this fan base.  I expect to have to fight for a spot to sit this year at training camp, because it's going to be packed.  Tebow's future, to me, is extremely bright.  The guy has never done anything but win, and he is a phenomenal athlete who this team can rally around.  I realize Orton is well respected, but Tebow is a playmaker, plain and simple.  Orton is a game manager, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.  Tebow has all of the intangibles necessary to be an NFL QB.  He has a strong arm, and was accurate in college.  I think with our quarterbacks coaching, this young star will turn into an elite NFL quarterback someday.

Jeremy Bolander - MHR Associate Editor

"Get Better," isn't just a catch phrase.

The future holds a competition, nothing less, nothing more.  Tebow could disappoint, Orton could fail to progress in his second year.  Neither scenario is likely, so we fans can prepare ourselves for the highest level of competition seen at ANY position in Dove Valley in some time.  It should be a lot of fun.

The locker room morale will prove to be just fine, because it is a "no-fail" proposition.  Both players will be the epitome of "team-first attitude," and the face they present to the locker room will be one of quiet confidence in themselves, understanding of the coach's goals, and trust in their teammates, all while maintaining the highest levels of graciousness with their rival.  This is practically guaranteed.  Why?  Because the first player to stray from that line, whether from a sense of entitlement, or simply self-pity, will find themselves back at the end of the line.  What McDaniels is about to ask of these two men, indeed about to ask of this whole team, boils down to being the essence of the ever-constant need to build trust with teammates.  If one of these guys doesn't build that trust, no one is going to care what happens to him...  no matter how well he seems to be playing.

Ernesto Ruiz - MHR Draft / Roster Analyst

When I look into my "crystal ball" and ask it about Orton, Tebow and the Broncos locker room, I get three-pronged replies on each: what I know, what I suspect and what I hope.

When it comes to Kyle, I know that he is the starting quarterback for - and the unquestioned leader of - the 2010 Denver Broncos.  I suspect, however, that this will be his final season in our Orange and Blue.  I can only hope that he finally gets elsewhere what he has doubtless earned: an unchallenged starting spot on an NFL roster for
years to come.  As for Tim, I know that he has a lot of work to do before he can take complete control of this football team.  I suspect, however, that it won't be nearly as long as most seem to think it will be.  Nevertheless, I hope that he doesn't get rushed onto the field so that he can develop into the paradigm-shifting player in the NFL that
he was in the SEC.

Finally, I have no concerns about the locker room, at least not as far as a QB controversy is concerned.  Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders have done a remarkable job of filling the ranks with team-first, high-character, hard-workers throughout and the veteran leadership at key positions is strong; moreover, Orton and Tebow are the perfect personality-types to handle this situation appropriately.  As for the team's fortunes, I think Kyle will spearhead another run at playoff contention in 2010 (hopefully successful) and Tebow will lead a sustained Super Bowl contender from then on out, with at most a year of Brady Quinn as the gate-keeper in
between.  The future is bright, my friends; go Broncos!

Steve Nichols - MHR Resident Coach

Denver traded up and down the boards on draft day, and managed to still end up with many picks and an extra first rounder.  This was achieved by trading down at first, than back up.  In my opinion, Tebow's pick was an extra pick, and worth a gamble.  If Tebow becomes great, he can be our future.  At worst, we solidify our back-up situation. Denvers picks of 3 OL, 2 WR, and a QB go a long ways towards building a future and sustainable program.  This requires patience ("win later, but win for longer" instead of the often used "get what we need right now" approach).  As good as Orton is, I don't see him taking us to a SB.  That's why we picked a QB in the first round.  If one wants to quibble with which QB we took, consider that everyone else passed on the alternate QB at least once.  I didn't advocate taking tebow in the draft (in fact, I remained pretty neutral on the issue).  However, it must have been apparent (even to Tebow's detractors) that the pick made sense; folks were complaining that we would pick him well before we did.  It just seemed to make sense on several levels.

Tebow has won the Heisman, championships, and holds better completion percentages and wins than most other famous 1st round QBs through history.  He also has some mechanics issues (but heck, so did Elway and Manning coming out of college.  Most QBs do, as the game requires different mechanics at different levels, such as a quicker release at the pro level - neccessitating throws made from closer to the QB's head).  His personal views (strong faith, high character) are issues that coaches love, but some fans love to hate (we love to tear down "beautiful" people).  In the end (as always) if there are any locker issues, it will be because someone's role is diminished on the team, and that individual isn't putting the team first.  I consider Tebow and Orton to be team players, so I don't forsee a problem.

 Matt Dierking (special guest) - Staffer Emeritus

Tim Tebow will be the future at QB for Denver.  With that said, I do not see Tim Tebow starting this season.  The only way he will start this season is if Orton and Quinn completely fail.  Barring any setbacks, Tebow will be the starter in '11 or '12.  While there are some similarities to the 2006 season, I think Orton will handle the situation as best as he can.
 
I think Tebow will have a positive impact in the locker room, but as a rookie he still has to earn his team's respect.  It will come soon enough.  If there is a QB controversy, it will be more of a MSM driven issue than anything else.  While I am on the record as not being fully sold on Tebow, I sincerely hope he can lead us back to championships again.

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