The most polarizing player has never had such a headline-grabbing off-season in his entire football career. After the Denver Broncos season became a wash last year in their most embarrassing statistical season in recent memory (maybe of all time), the up-and-coming Tebow got the nod to start over an ailing Kyle Orton. The Heaven's opened up, the trumpets were blaring, and even though Kyle has been officially named the starter for week one, still his fans, followers, and antagonists continue to drag the story (or lack thereof) out with any statistic, article, thought, or emotion they can get their hands on.
I had no idea the kid's clock was so short.It doesn't matter if its his most devoted fan, or the analysts that truly despise him the most, Tim is going to fly or flop before his first contract even ends; or at least that's what all the clamor makes it feel like. Regardless of what side a person takes, it seems like there are hundreds and thousands deeply entrenched in either extreme - both of which scream impatience.
When's he starting his Chemo?
There are plenty of great arguments as to why the kid should get the nod right now. The most realistic arguments vie for letting Timothy sit for at least one more year (barring a completely collapse by Orton or the Broncos in general that would warrant "evaluation and experience time" like we saw at the end of last year). The other arguments - those pushing Tebow to the roll of "back-up at best" or "must start now" are stretches and take a highly emotional and opinionated approach to the Broncos' and Tim Tebow's current situation. Could there be circumstances we don't know about that would heavily influence this never-ending argument one way or the other... Sure. But there aren't any. Right now the best thing for the Denver Broncos is starting Kyle Orton, regardless of if you personally dislike him, or just roll him up into the bag of "average" QBs that get dumped out at the end of every season and claimed by the next team willing to take a risk (or just find a stop-gap).
You see. The part that both extremes are failing to recognize is that Tim is still in his early 20's. Too early for a QB to be anywhere near his prime, and quite a stretch to label him a bust (a reach... maybe). Tim Tebow has got time on his side. And he's got the benefit of having a guy like Kyle Orton on the roster. That's right. You see, although Kyle isn't the most outspoken or fiery leader, he does his job right, and does everything that he can possibly do within his (limited) capabilities - if you want to go that route. He's not highly athletic, but hes a great type of quarterback for a young guy to watch. A guy who's not going to teach bad habits to his understudies. He's going to play his game clean and crisp and give his team a chance to win. Will he carry them on his back? Probably not often - in fact, rarely. He also won't hand the game over on a silver platter via four turnovers (picks or fumbles). And I'm not just talking Orton only here, but the whole scope of "average QB's" that will supposedly never be one of those great "franchise" type QBs. These guys have their pro's and cons.
Right now, our team needs to stabilize after a chaotic regime under McDaniels. The guy was a high roller - to put it lightly. He took his risks and rolled the dice, and he definitely laid in the bed that he made - as it was carted right out the door in week thirteen. We don't need to go rolling the dice right now. Neither Orton nor Quinn are under contract next year, but that doesn't mean giving them the nod is ignorant of the long term future of the QB position here in Denver. It just means that they are not being ignorant of the rest of the weaknesses and strengths of this team.
It's never black and white, clean cut; there are always shades of grey. While the main-stream-media would have the nation believe our team was a paper-mache band of misfits and talentless has-beens and never-will-be's that Shanahan left here to rot and McDaniels brought in from underworld; that couldn't be farther from the truth. Yes, this team needed a huge make-over, and there were a few positions that needed an overhaul, but for the majority, most of our starters are intact. In fact - the biggest thing wrong with the Broncos run of mediocrity and colapse the last few years was injuries. McDaniels managed the team horribly, but I think he'd still be a thorn in our sides right now if we'd faired better with less injuries last year.
We actually have a fairly competitive team, that if managed well, and coached properly (and the players are able to execute the game plans), we are just as much in the mix as any of last years playoff contenders. Even if you don't believe that, the veterans on the team that make up that talent pool (like Champ, Dawk, DJ, Elvis, Lloyd, etc) DO BELIEVE, and to toss Orton (the top-playing QB on our roster right now) to the bench in order to invest in the future of the franchise would lose them all. It would be a slap in the face. If we're going to do that we might as well trade off these older players for young guys with near equal talent that doesn't have a quickly closing window, because starting Tebow would cause quite a fallout in the locker room. Any guy that remembers his High School football coach give his son/nephew the starting nod over a better player on the bench knows exactly what I'm talking about. It's volatile and dangerous, and not a good plan for turning around a franchise - much less winning any games.
Tim Tebow is fine... on the bench. It's not hurting anyone, not him, not the Broncos, and not even the fans. Do we want Tebow to start? Yes. Yes we do. But at what cost? And at this point we really don't know if he'd be any better than Orton in there. Sure he has the potential to greatly surpass Orton in the long-term.News flash:
We're not in the long term.
EFX are not ignorant of the status of this team right now. And they will not be ignorant of the rest of the football team in order to improve just ONE position (even if it is an extremely crucial position). This season is not a wash, and every time I hear a fan bring up the idea that the Broncos are not in contention for the Superbowl this year, all I get is the feeling that they have no hope in their current Broncos. More often than not though, the argument is that Orton will be gone next year, and keeping Tebow on the bench only holds him back from where he could be next year with a year of experience under his belt - but that's just assumption. Aaron Rodgers was just fine sitting on the bench for a few years. It didn't hurt him at all. The Packers still get to enjoy him in his prime.
I understand that Tebow gets under everyone's feathers - whether for good or ill - but do we really need to act like the kid is on his deathbed? He's got time, and plenty of it. And the Broncos are loaded with enough talent to make as good a run as any team in this league, that's the way it's designed. The margin of victory can be so narrow in this game, that even the slightest personnel move can be the difference between winning and losing it all. But there is also enough luck in this game that the worst of the worst have turned around in but a single season.
The answer to the question on the title of this post is an obvious NO. Both literally and metaphorically. Tebow isn't dying of a fatal illness, and sitting on the bench will not erode his current abilities. I believe that the knowledge Tebow will learn on the bench will only improve his game going into next year (where he will likely be the front-runner for the starting position - even if we drafted a guy like luck, there would be some competition). Tebow is going to get the beneft of learning and develop his passing abilities without the weight of winning now forcing him to rely on his legs and retain/develop bad habits. Atlanta did it to Vick and never got to experience the QB that Michael could truly become, and they missed out on his prime.
I don't believe our front office will be naive enough and so "future-focused" that they put a hitch in Tebow's development plan by throwing him into the fire now. Barring a complete Orton (or team) collapse, Tebow shouldn't see the field as a starter this year, not with a win-hungry fanbase that we've got right now. He's too much of a people pleaser and stunt his own development by trying to be the amazing gamer that we've all seen him be in flashes. I have no qualms about sitting a guy with that kind of drive and work-ethic. There is no way he comes out of this season without some major improvements, even from the bench. The very second that Tebow is ready to carry the load (and give this team the best chance to win NOW), is the moment they give him the nod. You can't lose your locker room at the expense of future (unkown) development, or at the annoyance of mediocrity.
Both extremes need to sit back, relax, and see just how well this team can perform under Orton; as well as just how much Tebow can progress from the bench and in limited (wildcat-ish or redzone) snaps. The failure to do either of these things is the acknowledgement of a complete bias and ignorance to the many other circumstances surrounding this football team and these players. Merril Hoge (and the like) can go cite their opinion on the next episode of Sesame Street, and the in-a-hurry-to-start-Tebow crowd can go kick rocks... They might as well be wishing on a star, they might have better luck. The only things that give Tebow the nod to start this year are a miracle or tragedy and probably not much in-between.