As many of you may know, I have had my fair share of Tim Tebow debates. Since before the 2010 NFL Draft started, I have believed that Tim Tebow would be the quarterback to lead the Broncos out of mediocrity and back to the top of the NFL. I still maintain that view, and after John's post this morning (which I fully agree with), I opted to share with you my thoughts of what's going on, because I have not written a Tebow post on MHR for a while.
We know going into this week's pre-season game that the Broncos are likely not going to play Tebow very much once again, that is, unless he plays the whole fourth quarter and the Broncos are able to sustain a couple of long drives. Obviously, that is because the starters are usually slated to play three quarters in the third pre-season game, sort of the final "tune-up" before the first regular season game.
If and possibly when Tebow doesn't see a lot of action, the media is undoubtedly going to pounce on that lack of playing time as an indictment of Tim Tebow's ability, but we need to get a few things straight before all this madness continues, which it inevitably will.
The whole reason that people are ragging on Tebow right now is because he proved them all wrong last year in his three starts, which were markedly better than start quarterbacks like John Elway, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady in their first three starts as professionals.
Tebow helped bring the Broncos back from a 17 point deficit against the Houston Texans, but that's not enough, because the Texans had the worst pass defense in the NFL. He helped the Broncos average more than 24 points per game, including a very impressive 28 points against San Diego (6 of which came on a Cassius Vaughn kick return).
I am not saying Tebow should be the starter this year. In a year where the lockout significantly hindered the development of young teams breaking in new coaches and new systems, it's for the best that the Broncos at least start off with Orton. There is no point in setting up your first round quarterback to fail. Thus, I agree with the decision to move forward at the start of this season with Kyle Orton. He is a veteran player, and while there were no OTA's or mini-camps in which to compete, I feel like right now a veteran presence is probably for the best.
That being said, we are only four or five weeks removed from the NFL lockout being lifted, and if this were a normal NFL offseason, we would still be waiting for the draft to start. Keep that in mind when these people are criticizing Tebow for his practice performance and even his pre-season outing against Dallas where he only threw one incomplete pass, that the Broncos would still be going through their first, second, maybe third mini-camp as a team.
I know that looks like me making excuses for Tebow, but he is a raw prospect and more of a playmaker than a pocket passer. You've heard it a million times, that Tebow is a football player who plays quarterback, not the other way around.
Since when did that fact become news to the main-stream media? These reports of Tebow out of the faith circle of John Elway, Brian Xanders, and John Fox are erroneous at best. What did John Elway say earlier this offseason? I know he didn't say, "We don't believe Tim Tebow can be an NFL quarterback," he said, "I am Tim Tebow's biggest fan...I would never give up on Tim Tebow."
The organization has admitted that Tebow is not ready yet, which does not mean he will never be ready. Merril Hoge said on ESPN the other day that the Broncos should cut Tebow because essentially he is a lost cause. Hoge said, "Tebow is not the Broncos' starting quarterback, and he never will be," or something to that extent.
In what way is that warranted? Adam Schefter was on set at the time, and he was trying to get a word in with Merril, but Hoge wouldn't have it. Schefter tried to tell him that Tebow has only played three games, to which Hoge replied, "And he was terrible."
Schefter then tried to persuade Hoge that Tebow actually played pretty good in those three games, and that he led the Broncos to a comeback win over Houston. You can imagine, the only response Merril had was that Houston was the worst pass defense in the NFL, so obviously that performance doesn't matter.
This is not an article to say, "Woe is Tebow," it's the fact that the media is trying to say that Tebow's NFL career is done before it even really begins.
Every report from the next professional analyst is more idiotic than the previous one. You saw the quote from Boomer Esiason that John shared with us, and you've seen the quotes from Hoge. How about this quote from ESPN's fantasy football "experts":
When Tebow threw for 308 yards against Houston in Week 16 last year, he instantly surpassed our prediction for the number of 300-yard passing games he'd have in his entire career.
Broncos fans are undoubtedly sick of all of the hate surrounding their second year quarterback, whether or not you like the guy--there are other things to talk about than the quarterback situation in Denver.
I would never condone for anyone to continue to bag on Tebow like this, but because Tebow has taken the attention away from the entire rest of the team save for Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, and even...Adam Weber? Which, by the way, are we kidding about that? It's gone from ridiculous, to rock bottom, to straight up face palm.
As I was saying, since Tebow has taken the attention off of the rest of the team, pretty much no NFL fan knows how much our defense has improved.
Think about this--the Chicago Bears, in my opinion, had one of the NFL's most average and inconsistent offenses in the NFL last year, and that's me being nice. They had a very average to below average group of defensive tackles, and they also had below average defensive backs.
They made one move last offseason that was probably the headliner for the rest of the NFL, which was signing Julius Peppers, an All-Pro or Pro Bowl caliber pass rusher. They also benefited greatly from the return of Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher, two veteran additions that went vastly overlooked last offseason because all of the focus was on Jay Cutler and whether or not he was capable of being their "franchise" quarterback.
What am I getting at? The Bears added a Pro Bowl pass rusher and made it to the NFC title game with an average quarterback, average offense, and largely an average team overall. Not only that, but they played in a darn competitive division which included the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
Well, the Broncos have gotten back Elvis Dumervil, one of the best pass rushers in the NFL since 2006, and a pro bowl caliber player year in and year out. Not only that, they used the second overall pick on Von Miller, a player that I and many others believe has Pro Bowl talent even as a rookie.
In my opinion, the Broncos have acquired TWO pro bowl caliber pass rushers, and they have improved their secondary considerably by adding Rahim Moore, Quinton Carter, and getting back fully healthy versions of Champ Bailey and Andre' Goodman.
Even if the Broncos are average offensively, and even if they have average players defensively outside of a few guys, the addition of two pro bowl pass rushers is not something to be overlooked, which it has. Thanks to "Tebowmania" those additions have gotten past the eye of NFL fans and media members, and the Broncos could take the league by storm because of it.
What have the Broncos lacked for more than a decade? Not just a true franchise quarterback, they have lacked a pass rush.
In the NFL, if you can't rush the passer, you can't win. Even the most terrible quarterbacks (Skelton) can help their team put up more than 40 points on your defense if you can't get heat on the quarterback.
I think Ryan Fitzpatrick will tell you that other teams don't have to worry about who plays quarterback for the Broncos, they have to worry about their backside with Dumervil and Miller coming off the edge.
Right now, the Broncos are seriously underrated, and maybe they should be.
However, even if the only action we see from Tebow this year is another half-dozen rushing touchdowns in goal-line packages or whatever it is, the Broncos' improved pass rush as well as a seriously improved running game (anyone else love what they see from Moreno/McGahee?) this team could come out and shock the league by starting 3-0 and going into the Green Bay game undefeated.
But, instead of talking about that, we're talking about Tebow's interceptions that he threw at training camp, which no one really should care about at all. Practice is put in place for players to learn, and so what if Tebow is getting out-performed, does that mean we all have to piss on his dreams?
Give the guy a break, for goodness sake, and mind your own business. Obviously, the Broncos and media have made some things clear:
- They are not giving up on Tebow, Elway said so.
- They believe in Tebow
- Fox said he liked Tebow coming out of the draft, but there's no way he could have gotten him not having a 1st round pick.
- Xanders said on the Tebow documentary that it was THEIR goal to get Tebow in the draft, not just Josh's. McDaniels can have the final say, but guess what? There are a lot of people in that building who know full well they will be there longer than any head coach we bring in--you think they didn't sign off on the Tebow move?
- How common is it that a team has three QB's battling for a starting job in an offseason, and the one with the least experience wins out?
- How many people at ESPN said Tebow was a three year project at best, and now are saying he's a bust after one year?
- Why are we over-analyzing what technically amounts to mini-camp reps?
- Where are all these unnamed sources coming from? At least Merril Hoge is not afraid to say stuff publicly. Man up.
- The Broncos have named Orton the starter--MOVE ON.
It's time for fans to just be fans and know that this will all work itself out in the end. Tim Tebow has enough pressure on his shoulders being the greatest college player of all time, trying to achieve his personal goals and dreams and the amount of pressure he puts on himself that he doesn't need the media over-hyping practice.
Get in touch with Allen Iverson for an in-depth practice importance analysis.
We all saw what Tebow did in those three games last year, and we all can agree that the sample size is not yet large enough, especially to be throwing out accusations like, "he can't throw," "he will never start," and so on and so forth.