I have been reading the book "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" recently. It is a book worth reading, I highly recommend it. One of the aspects of Abraham Lincoln that has struck me while reading the book is his political timing. He released the Emancipation Proclamation at a time when it would be best received by the nation. If he had released it earlier it would have potentially jeopardized the loyalty of Maryland and Ohio. Had he released it later he would have alienated many of the "radical Republicans." There are multiple other instances of his political timing in the book as well. How does this relate to the Denver Broncos? I think that politics have to be one of the only other, for lack of a better word, "businesses" that has to deal with public opinion the way that sports teams do.
Many fans of the Denver Bronco's are very disappointed with Kyle Orton's play so far this season. A large number of those fans have been disappointed with his play over the last 2 seasons as well and didn't expect anything other than what we have seen so far. I switched into that camp about halfway through last season. Kyle Orton has achieved his limit of improvement it appears and that just doesn't cut it. Some of the biggest complaints with Kyle are obviously 3rd down, red zone and 4th quarter performance. It is disgusting to me that 2 of the last 3 games our last offensive drives have ended in turnovers because of Kyle Orton. The really disgusting part is that it isn't new. There were several games last year where the same thing happened. We expect and deserve better as fans.
I would hope that John Fox reviewed the last 2 seasons tape during the lockout and would have seen these shortcomings of Kyle. My guess is however he wanted to see it for himself, I'm sure if I was in his position that is what I would want. Tape doesn't do justice to a performance and a coach should give the most polished player in practice the opportunity to perform in games that he is coaching and at least get a decent sample size. I hope that is what Fox has been doing. Giving Kyle the opportunity to lose the job, which he is doing.
Many have speculated that one of the reasons that Fox hasn't wanted to start Tebow or Quinn is because the veterans on the team feel that Kyle gives us the best chance to win. While I don't believe that a good coach (which it seems that Fox is) would ever cave to the wishes of the players it does make sense that you would not want to reward a player with worse practice performance than another player with the starting role. So I am not surprised at all that Kyle has started the last 3 games even though I am tired of watching him. I detest the lack of fire, and blase attitude that he has on the sidelines. I am sick of the impotent feeling in the 4th quarter when we are not up by more than 7 points. But I understand why he's still starting and I'm guessing that he'll start a couple more games which will further sway the players that he just won't cut it.
When making a quarterback change it shakes up the team. I would guess that it is as difficult for players as it is for fans to admit that we're in a rebuilding year. It also often puts the new starting quarterback in a less than optimal situation. They often are starting behind a line that is shaky, have a less than optimal receiving corp or a running game that isn't cutting it. While in the past we have felt that all of those were strengths of the Bronco's in the last 3 games each of those has had a weakness. Some argue that for the system to come together we needed Kyle to begin the season. Obviously he is the pocket quarterback that Tebow is not and this forces the offensive line to maintain the pocket for him. They have become much better at this during the last three games. Our running game has also not completely come together yet but looks like it will be improved as the season goes on. I want whoever steps into the starting role to inherit the best possible situation. While there will be no optimal situation to switch quarterbacks our team has some room to improve before we make the switch.
Because Tebow and Quinn have not had the practice reps at this point it also seems it would be very premature to thrust them into the starting role soon. They hopefully have been doing mental reps and apparently Tebow knows all the receiver's routes but this can't replace practice time. For this reason I think that after the bye would be a much better time to make a quarterback switch. While it will likely make for some disappointing games until then it seems that it will be the best for the team in the long run. I would prefer that whoever takes the starting role have the best possible opportunity just as Kyle was given in order to decrease our likelihood of taking a quarterback first in the draft next year.
There are also some fans and sports writers that are questioning why Tebow hasn't been put in for goal line situations like he was in the past. In fact I think this actually will end up being in Tebows favor in the end. If Tebow came in and scored touchdowns for Kyle in the red zone every time we would have less weight when saying Kyle failed and should be benched. Fox is getting to see first hand the limitations that Kyle has with scoring. There has been enough of a sample to strongly make that case and it seems that they will start putting together packages for Tebow in the red zone.
In this situation I hope that Fox can be as cunning as Lincoln was, allowing public opinion (and player opinion for that matter) to be swayed over time but enough time to evaluate the next quarterback., waiting for the team to improve enough that whoever takes Kyle's place will have the best team to work with and will get as many practice opportunities as possible. In football timing is everything and if Fox does this then it will position the Bronco's with the best chance to evaluate whoever they choose to replace Kyle and that's all they can ask for.