Right now, Tim Tebow is a tremendous talent. But not yet a legitimate NFL quarterback.
As bad as Tim Tebow was, I still think a Kyle Orton-led Broncos team would have found a way to lose that game. However, unless Tebow can hit open receivers even 50% of the time we will find our favorite team well over their heads in the coming weeks.
I still hate the smugness and arrogance heard from NFL Network's highlight shows. One person said, "You'd think we lost after listening to that show". Winning cures all, but those annoying guys linked above have a point. Eventually, winning has to be a 60 minute affair.
I am glued to my television waiting for him to break loose. Deep down, I knew he was going to provide a spark late. I even went so far as to warn others they would "eat crow soon". Though, with five minutes left and no timeouts, I figured he would make it close and fall short. I did not expect the entire team to rise to the occasion to provide a miracle.
It was reminiscent of the old Elway/Reeves days. Many of John Elway's storied comebacks were miraculous events where the entire team had to play perfectly in order to make it reality. This I like. Elway was even pretty bad at times for much of the game, but he was never as bad as Tebow was in this game.
Part of me wants to defend Tebow like a rabid chipmunk, but the other part of me can't help but assess his performance as it should be assessed. It's one thing to be stuck in a defensive slugfest and unable to get things going - as Elway used to do - and quite another to be stuck in a defensive slugfest because the quarterback is unable to hit wide open receivers.
In the end, we won. We won and Tebow is getting more and more reps. Perhaps this is a good first start of the year, as Tebow would be hard pressed to out do himself next week against the Detroit Lions for the first 55 minutes. I've said all along, we need to see steady progression in Tebow and so far he has set the bar pretty low for improvement. The Lions front four is a terror compared to the Dolphins, so I hope for Tebow's sake that he improves quickly.
I'm still buzzing from the excitement and elation of victory, but my brain is seeing the first 55 minutes with more foreboding than the last second heroics. My hope is that he hangs on for enough victories and improves just enough to be given another year to develop. Tebow was and is a 2-4 year developmental quarterback. We must trust the coaching staff to bring about his development, so his ability as a quarterback will match is obvious gifts as a competitor, leader and athlete.
One thing is certain, there will be more dull moments with Tebow at quarterback than with Orton, but there will also be more amazingly exciting moments with Tebow as well. The peaks and canyons between the highs and lows will be a dizzying ride for all of us.
As Brian Shrout constantly reminded me during the game. The growing pains have begun!