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Why Tim Tebow Is Not The Future Of The Broncos

Will Robinson |
September 20, 2011 | 11:23 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Tim Tebow is unlikely to be the next John Elway. (Jeffrey Beall via Creative Commons)
Tim Tebow is unlikely to be the next John Elway. (Jeffrey Beall via Creative Commons)
The former Heisman-winning Tim Tebow made his 2011 season debut to a sea of cheers in Denver last Sunday. 

The only problem was that Kyle Orton was the one lined up under center. Tebow’s first plays of the season were as a recipient of passes, as opposed to a distributor.

Tebow played a few snaps and did not have the ball thrown his way. 

He was just a big body to take up space along the sideline.

Though he didn’t accumulate any statistics, Tebow’s slotting at wideout was very telling of the Denver brain trust’s mindset: they doubt Tebow is the future of the franchise.

Rewind to the beginning of the game. 

Wideouts Brandon Lloyd and Demaryius Thomas were inactive. This left Denver with three active wide receivers--Eddie Royal, Eric Decker and Matthew Willis--to play in the game, as well as three active tight ends--Daniel Fells, Julius Thomas and Virgil Green--for offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to play with.

Early in the game, the Broncos lost Royal (groin) and Thomas (ankle) to injuries, leaving Denver battered with two wide receivers and two tight ends available.

The game plan was already catered to the lack of available passing targets, as quarterback Kyle Orton frequently handed the ball off to running backs Willis McGahee and Lance Ball. The Broncos only dropped back to pass 27 times compared to 36 run attempts.

Clearly, the Broncos’ first offensive option was to run. And even with the lack of Lloyd and Royal, Decker torched the Bengal secondary for two big scores. 

So why play Tebow as a receiver?

The running game wasn’t great, but it moved the chains. Orton was having an effective day passing. He didn’t need an athletic quarterback to step in to try to catch a pass. 

It’s still confusing. Orton didn’t even think of looking Tebow’s way during Tim’s limited snaps. If Tebow is the destined savior and the successor to the great John Elway, why play him where some linebacker could decapitate him? Or even where a wild corner like Dunta Robinson could knock helmets with him?

Throwing Timmy into the game was an action that spoke volumes. 

Head coach John Fox wouldn’t risk injury to his backup quarterback by throwing him into the game. What if Orton got hurt? The second stringer would be ready to go, not messing around running a fade.

The Denver fans are restless after the team’s recent performance, and for good reason. The Broncos haven’t been elite since 2006, when they lost at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game. Mike Shanahan didn’t do anything remarkable after that, and when Josh McDaniels is mentioned, odds are a Broncos fan will respond as though his name is profane or merely mutter “too soon, too soon.”

This discontent has led to the irrational clamoring for Tebow to start at quarterback. 

Orton, who played poorly in the season opener against Oakland on Sept. 12, endured “TE-BOW! TE-BOW!” chants. 

Yeah, that’ll raise the team’s confidence. Billboards will help, too.

Fox is an even-keeled guy. He will not make a move based on public reaction. 

He has the best view of the players, followed by his staff and his team. They want Orton. 

The team knows Orton is better than Tebow, and Fox wants to win, not play around with a player who was neither his nor his offensive coordinator’s pick. Tebow was all McDaniels’ doing, and the latter isn’t anywhere near Denver anymore. 

This isn’t to say Tebow cannot be a good, or even a great quarterback. 

Who knows? But he needs someone who will work with him one-on-on, someone to mentor him and most importantly, someone who believes in him. It doesn’t appear he has that last key in the Rockies.

If he did, Tebow would be warming up during pre-game passing the ball, not running routes. Pending a team disaster, Tebow will achieve one permanent position this season: a nice, warm spot on the bench.


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