With Tim Tebow starting for Broncos in Miami next week many have said that they are not confident that Denver is confident that the future of the Broncos will be playing. There is a voice that says the search must continue and hope for a shot at the blue chip quarterback prospect out of Stanford Andrew Luck who is projected and in all likelyhood to be the number one pick in next year's draft.
St. Louis 0-5
Denver is not a very good football team this year, but they are not the worst team in the NFL. With Week 6 nearly in the books there are three teams that are currently ahead of Denver in the title race for NFL worst that are winless vying for the number one pick in next year’s draft. I can't see the Denver winning less games than the Colts who are going with Curtis Painter at QB, or St Louis who have been blown out in 3 out of 5 games this year.
Even if Denver loses to Miami next Sunday there are still four other teams besides Denver with one win. It is not certain that Denver is the worst of the single victory club which include Carolina, Jacksonville, Arizona, and Minnesota . Of these teams only Carolina has been a team to really say that they are better than their record hanging with two Super Bowl Contenders in Green Bay 30-23 and New Orleans 30-27.
Other Teams with 1 win
Minnesota 1- 4
Denver’s defense has shown some life and promise. Even though big plays have been given up the defense has played much better than last year. Are they a top 10 defense? No. They are better though than at least 7 other defenses in the league including Indy and St Louis. They did play the number one offense in the NFL which hurts their average a bit in the Packers. Denver is able to make stops and does have the ability to rush the passer with Miller (tied 5th in NFL in sacks with 5) and Dumervil.
Points 19th (21 points per game)
Now this is where there is a difference with the Tebow change that would help the Broncos win and extra game or two. Prior to the San Diego game the Kyle Orton lead 2011 Denver offense scored 13, 24, 14, and 16 points. (I’m not including special teams punt returns and interception returns.) The average points scored per game by Orton were 16.75. In the first half against San Diego Orton had only lead Denver to a field goal. Tebow was able to lead Denver to two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. In his three starts last year with a similar cast Tebow was able to 23,24, and 21 points for an average of 22.66 points per game which is 6 points more than Orton. That’s an extra touchdown. An extra touchdown per game would have won the Oakland and Tennessee games.
Records of Teams with the #1 pick in last 10 years
Looking at the trend over the last 10 years Denver would have to lose every game, but one to even have a shot at the number one pick. Three of the last four years the team to pick number one only had one win.
2010 2 - 14 - Carolina - QB Cam Newton
2009 1 - 15 - St Louis - QB Sam Bradford
2008 0 - 16 - Detroit - QB Matt Stafford
2007 1 - 15 - Miami - OT Jake Long
2006 2 - 14 - Oakland - QB Jemarcus Russell
2005 2 - 14 - Houston - DE Mario Williams
2004 2 - 14 - San Fran - QB Alex Smith
2002 2 - 14 - Cincinnati - QB Carson Palmer
2000 1 - 15 - San Diego - QB Michael Vick (Trade w/Atlanta)
Denver’s remaining schedule
at Miami (1-4)
at Oakland (4-2)
at KC (2-3)
NY Jets (2-3)
at San Diego (4-1)
at Minnesota (1-4)
New England (5-1)
@ Buffalo (4-2)
What once looked like a brutal schedule now has some rays of light. 5 of Denver’s remaining 11 games are against teams with losing records. The game at home against the Jets looked like a guaranteed loss. Now it looks like a very winnable game. Miami is practically a home game and Denver looks like they should be able to win at least one of their games against the Chiefs.
Denver should be able to get at least another four wins this season and perhaps with a little Tebow magic finish 8-8. If Tebow can lead Denver to a record of 7-4 in the remaining season I think that the need to draft a QB will be less and more of an afterthought. However, even if Denver doesn’t do that well with Tebow under center the number one pick in the draft seems completely out of reach with Denver likely to win at least a handful of games putting them at 3 or 4 wins for the season.