5 Reasons Broncos' QB Tim Tebow Will Be an Epic Failure in 2012
Tim Tebow was the breakout star of the 2011-2012 NFL season. It didn't matter if you were a fan or an innocent bystander, Tebow was everywhere. In a season where records tumbled (most passing yards in a season: 5,476, Drew Brees, New Orleans, most passing yards in a rookie season: 4,051, Cam Newton, Carolina and most field goals in a season: 44, David Akers, San Francisco), the news cameras always seemed to be focused on Tebow.
The Broncos QB did set some records of his own: longest scoring play in a playoff overtime (80 yards), shortest time of a drive in regular and postseason overtime (11 seconds) and quickest ever win in overtime (11 seconds), but Tebow Fever was so much more than a few broken records. It gave us a new craze and had politicians wishing they were him. But they weren't. There is only one Tim Tebow.
After a season in which he grabbed so many national headlines and gained so much worldwide attention, how will he be able to follow it up?
Odds are he probably won't.
The Denver Playbook
The Broncos under offensive coordinator Mike McCoy have become a heavy run team. Everyone expects them to run the ball and that is exactly what they did during their playoff defeat against the New England Patriots. In the Wild Card Round, they surprised the Pittsburgh Steelers by using their passing game.
The Broncos need to let Tebow throw more next season and trust him to make the plays. If they don't, they will get bogged down when teams pack seven in the box to stop Denver's running back Willis McGahee.
Last year New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis in the New York Daily News said:
“We know what they’re doing. And we feel comfortable in our game plan. The biggest thing for the secondary is for us not to fall asleep. It can get boring, especially if a team keeps on just running the ball, series after series, play after play.”
The Broncos won that game 17-13 on a last minute touchdown run by Tebow, but unless McCoy makes some changes to the playbook, Denver and Tebow will finish a lot worse than 8-8 next season.
Elway is a quarterback legend. There is no one in the whole of Denver who would question that statement, not even for one minute.
Bringing Elway back to the Broncos makes sense, but having him as Executive Vice President of Football Operations does raise a few eyebrows. Being a great QB does not guarantee you'll be a brilliant manager.
While Elway has stated that Tebow is his guy and has earned the starting position at training camp, how long does he wait if Denver starts the season by losing? Elway has to be thinking about his own legacy here and how he will be remembered as a VP (in comparison to the QB that once made the Broncos so great).
Giving his support to a QB who has had a season of varied results is going to reflect upon him one way or another. He will look like a great mentor if Tebow improves, a fool if Tebow gets worse and a chump if he does nothing about it.
All this is extra weight on Tebow's massive biceps and shoulders. Having to try and impress the fans, as well as trying to emulate the two-time Super Bowl champ has to be a huge burden for a QB who needs time to develop his game. Having Elway standing on the sidelines and seeing every mistimed throw and every wrong step is added pressure that no QB needs.
Supermodels don't usually get quoted on the back of the sports pages, but when Gisele Bundchen complained after the New England Patriots Super Bowl loss, everybody took note:
"You [have] to catch the ball when you're supposed to catch the ball. My husband cannot [expletive] throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times."
Tom Brady's wife was correct with her analysis.
Tim Tebow cannot do it all for the Broncos either.
The Denver Broncos, if they are serious about having Tebow as their QB, need to surround him with players he can throw the ball too. Fans grumble that the former Florida Gator and Heisman Trophy winner holds onto the ball for way too long but sometimes he has no choice. If Tebow is in the pocket and has time, he has to look for the pass.
Unfortunately, most of the times Tebow has the chance to make a big play, everyone is covered and unable to get free. Denver should get busy in the draft and the offseason and look to pick up at least one wide receiver, two tight ends and another running back.
The call for help has been made elsewhere, without it the Broncos and Tebow will fail to make the playoffs.
We Know Who He Is
Tebow got his first start in Week 7 of the 2011 NFL season and led the Denver Broncos to an improbable 18-15 overtime victory against the Miami Dolphins. The Broncos had been losing 15-0 and there was only 17 seconds left on the clock when they tied the game with a two-point conversion. It was thrilling stuff but no one really knew how Tebow was ever going to be able to follow that up.
If there were doubts after the Miami game, Tebow answered them all as the Broncos won six out of the next seven. Now the world has a better understanding of who Tebow is and how he can play. He is strong and isn't afraid to run with the ball, he can throw but is often inaccurate. The Broncos don't let him air the ball out, so he's mostly going to hand the thing over like a hot potato and he needs support.
Every team in the NFL knows this now and will have a studied tape on every move Tebow has made. Next time the other teams in the AFC West, the Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders come face to face with Tebow, they will know his game plan and there will be more forced fumbles and interceptions.
AFC Is a Beast
The schedule for 2012 looks tough for the Broncos. Their games include matchups against the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots. Add in their divisional games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, and it starts to look like a very long season for Tebow and friends.
The AFC has teams that are built around solid defenses. They also have offenses that have both a strong running game and a QB who can throw the ball. Even in the NFC, Drew Brees of the Saints had Darren Sproles supporting him with an average carry of 6.9 yards per game.
The Broncos have a great defense, but they don't have a good balance offensively and teams in the AFC will eat you up if you can only think of one way to beat them.
The 2012 season is looking like it's going to be a battle for Tebow. If the Broncos can't find ways to help him, then he will fail. If things don't start brightly, it wouldn't be a total shock to see him cut.
However, the one thing we do know about Tebow is he doesn't know when he's beaten and he'll never quit on a play. Be prepared for lots more Tebow because whether he's a success or an epic failure, we'll get to live through every throw of it.