Prior to the season, it was obvious that the Broncos would develop Tim Tebow slowly, and let him get acclimated to the mental aspect of the NFL before throwing him to the wolves on the field. For a team that always has high expectations, it all made sense.
The plan seemed simple. The Broncos would start Kyle Orton for 2010, contend for or make the playoffs, and evaluate after the season, likely going into the 2011 season with Tebow as the projected starter. If they needed more time for him to develop, they had Kyle Orton re-signed for an extra year.
Things took a huge turn when the team went 3-8 through their first 11 games, and the Broncos were officially eliminated from the playoffs. Josh McDaniels was still the head caoch at this point, and the team had a big game coming up against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Denver came out with a chip on it's shoulder, at least on the defensive side of the ball, but the offense could not get into the end zone one time, and the Broncos lost 10-6. The season, if it wasn't over before, was well over by now. The Broncos moved on quickly, letting go of McDaniels and promoting Eric Studesville to interim head coach.
Studesville's job should be simple at this point. He puts in Tim Tebow to get experience in otherwise meaningless games, and the Broncos go forward.
Not so fast.
Orton was named the starter for the Arizona game, and Broncos fans couldn't quite figure it out. Obviously, Studesville thought Orton gave him the best chance to win.
The Broncos' starting quarterback proceeded to complete less than 50 percent of his passes, threw three interceptions, and the Broncos lost 43-13. Arizona went into the game with a rookie quarterback (their second of the year) and the worst scoring defense in the NFL.
Needless to say, the Cardinals' defense dominated Denver, and actually matched them in touchdowns. The Broncos played one of the worst games I have seen as a fan, though there have been many of those this year.
Tebow himself said not playing in the final three games would be a wasted opportunity, and it looks like he might be able to finally have the chance he deserves.
Kyle Orton has injured ribs, and has not thrown for three days. There is still plenty of time between now and Sunday, but we're not talking about the difference between Brett Favre and Joe Webb, here. We're talking about playing a first round quarterback over a guy who has played the worst two game stretch of his Broncos career.
I will support whoever the Broncos put out there to take snaps, but I refuse to support the decision not to play Tim Tebow. I don't buy that he can't handle the Black Hole. If he can handle death threats from Alabama fans, he can handle the crazy Raider fans.
I don't buy that he's not ready, because even Studesville said that he is.
I also don't buy that the Broncos have anything left to play for. It's time for the young players to get all the experience they possibly can, and that includes Tebow. I don't care if Tebow comes out and plays poorly. He can certainly play as well as Orton did last Sunday.
Tebow brings Broncos fans hope, whether it's justified or not. It's time for him to start, and if he can provide the Broncos a spark like Colt McCoy for the Browns and Sam Bradford for the Rams, it will be the best decision Eric Studesville could ever make for the future of this franchise.