Risk & Reward: Five Reasons For and Against Tim Tebow's Success in Denver
Put the finger down, Tim, charm won't get you out of this one.
This past week, in a media circus usually reserved for Hollywood, Denver became the capitol of the sports world.
Likewise, Josh McDaniels secured himself a place in history as one of the most infamous NFL coaches of all-time, again making a very loud, "look-at-me," personnel move.
This time the gamble is on the abilities of one of the most controversially talented players an NFL draft has seen in a long time. Usually when there is this much of an uproar about a player, it has to do with his character.
While few doubt Tebow's heart, many wonder if that is enough to succeed on the next level. Others wonder if this is just another attempt by Josh McDaniels to prove his reputation as the premier "quarterback guru" in the NFL.
The crystal ball goes hazy when predicting Tim Tebow's future: there is no verdict yet on whether or not he will be the Denver Broncos' franchise quarterback.
However, it does offer some insights into the factors that will affect his future.
Without further ado, the top five reasons for and against Tim Tebow as Denver's quarterback of the future.
No. 5 Against: Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, and Tom Brandstater
There are three other quarterbacks on the Denver Broncos roster, currently, and while only one of them starts, another was a previous starter and first round pick (Brady Quinn) and the third definitely has ambitions of becoming a starter (Tom Brandstater).
I know a lot of people will be quick to write Brandstater off when looking at this argument, but last preseason when Orton and Simms were on the bench, Tom Brandstater showed that he has a serious rifle. Being a sixth round pick doesn't mean he is incapable of playing in the NFL.
All three of these quarterbacks have a head-start on Tim Tebow with NFL experience, and according to Josh McDaniels, the only guarantee is that Kyle Orton will be starting in September.
As far as on the field experience is concerned during Tebow's rookie year, expect nothing more than a few novelty plays here-and-there.
The Broncos are creating true competition at the quarterback position as McDaniels has said. Tim Tebow might not have the arm to come out on top, particularly when he will have to climb over a few veterans who want to be at the top themselves.
No. 5 For: Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, and Tom Brandstater
When speaking frankly about Kyle Orton, it has to be said that the guy likely reached his football pinnacle last year.
While there is nothing wrong with that, Orton's football pinnacle is at best on the fringes of the top ten quarterbacks in the NFL.
His arm isn't particularly worthwhile for distances longer than twenty yards, and while his accuracy improved throughout the season, he has footwork that would get him voted off of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" in the first round.
The guy can be beat.
Brady Quinn had an opportunity in Cleveland, and they liked him so much that they parted with him for a fifth round pick and Peyton Hillis (a guy who Josh McDaniels had no intention of ever using). That was not meant to be an insult to Peyton Hillis who is extremely underrated.
However, when your quarterbacks are the decomposing corpse of Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, and Brett Ratliff (recently added Colt McCoy), and you have a management meeting coming to the decision that there isn't room for Brady Quinn, that is a pretty big statement about your feelings regarding his abilities.
Tom Brandstater could be good one day, but as of four months ago, he was ranked on the depth chart as being worse than Chris Simms.
No further analysis needed.
No. 4 Against: Josh McDaniels likes his toys
The nickname "McPowerTrip" is likely a reference to the frequency with which Josh McDaniels ends relationships with players.
First it was Jay Cutler and then it was the entirety of the Denver Broncos 2006 NFL Draft class (aside from Elvis Dumervil, who might be a holdout).
This is also the guy who has added five quarterbacks to his roster in less than two years. Just to emphasize that, four of them have been through the draft or through trade (and I guess Tim Tebow is technically through both).
What makes Tim Tebow any different from the other guys?
Is he somehow going to overcome the notorious McDaniels' attention span to become the future of the Broncos franchise?
If the opportunity comes up what is to prevent Josh from trading him in a package for another quarterback he'd rather have?
It seems that nothing can be certain in Denver these days.
No. 4 For: Josh McDaniels really likes this toy. A lot.
The last player that got Josh McDaniels this excited was Alphonso Smith (oops).
In all reality, McDaniels went very far out of his way to draft Tim Tebow. He orchestrated a large-scale trading scheme on draft day, and then when rumor had it that the Bills were looking at jumping up to grab Tebow, he traded a second, third, and fourth round pick in order to jump on Tebow with the 25th pick overall.
That is a lot of material to give up for any player (particularly in a draft that deep).
Also, Josh has been caught saying that, "(Tim) is a quarterback," when asked whether or not he would be used flexibly in multiple positions (like fullback).
There is no doubt Josh McDaniels really likes Tim Tebow. He gave up a lot more to get him than he gave up on any of his other quarterback acquisitions.
Everyone should expect Tebow to be shown some serious favoritism in the quarterback race.
No. 3 Against: Non-traditional skill set
A very good friend of mine (who happens to be a Chargers fan) called me after the first round of the draft. Our conversation went like this:
Steve: "Hi Reid."
Me: ""Hi Steve."
Steve: "How does it feel to know that while Sam Bradford is learning an NFL offense, Tim Tebow will be learning how to throw a football?"
Me: "Thanks for the call, Steve."
Steve: "Talk to you next year."
Tim Tebow doesn't have what most would consider to be a traditional quarterback "skill set."
His throwing motion has come under heavy fire by almost everyone in journalism and scouting at one point in time or another, and frankly, a lot of it has been justified.
Such criticism is not something to be ignored, as it is impossible to succeed in the NFL without utilizing the forward pass. At least it has been for most of my life.
The guy would have been perfect fifty years ago, though.
No. 3 For: Wild Horses
The landscape of the NFL is changing.
Many teams are going strictly to the 3-4 defense to better protect against the pass. Teams are drafting smaller, quicker running backs as the franchise back has started disappearing from NFL rosters.
The NFL has become, without a doubt, a passing league.
When everyone is tooling up to defend against the pass, what is the best strategy?
Turn to the run.
There is no doubt that Tim Tebow can be used in a very creative manner (if coached by a creative mind) in the NFL. Tony Dungy has said he could "revolutionize" the game of football.
Josh McDaniels has shown a lot of creativity in his brief stint as a head coach, particularly by coming up with his "Wild Horses" offense. Tim Tebow might be a solid weapon for a mind like that.
It is inarguable that his throwing isn't what most teams would like, but anyone familiar with Josh McDaniels' offense knows that most of the throws are pretty short range.
If a guy like Kyle Orton can succeed with his arm in the McDaniels offense, why couldn't a guy like Tim Tebow?
Its also important to keep in mind that Philip Rivers was heavily criticized on his way into the NFL for lacking accuracy. If he can get to the point he is at now, why can't Tebow?
No. 2 Against: Where are the offensive weapons?
Tim Tebow is walking into an offense that just assembled an entirely new line, has its hopes tied up with a couple of rookie receivers, and has Knowshon Moreno as its current brightest star.
After last season, a lot of people are wondering if he can rush for more than ten yards in a single attempt.
While it seems that the best player Denver had (Brandon Marshall) took the explosiveness of the offense with him, the Broncos are left picking up the pieces.
There are a lot of holes in the offense right now as most of McDaniels' hopes are resting on rookies.
With that type of situation it would likely be difficult for any quarterback to succeed.
The success of Tebow is tied entirely to the success of the rest of his draft class. If Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker don't work out, it is unlikely that any quarterback could make the Broncos offense effective.
And that is the simple truth.
While Tim Tebow is a leader, he only has so much control over the pieces that have fallen in around him. If those players don't turn out to be what they are supposed to be, then Tim Tebow will have a forgettable NFL career at best.
No. 2 For: Solid Surroundings
The Denver Broncos have Ryan Clady.
That sentence is enough to put a smile Tim Tebow's face any day.
Not only that, but the Broncos have a long history of great success along the offensive line. It could be said that their new recruits are among the safest offensive line upgrades from the NFL draft.
The outsides are going to be protected for whoever plays quarterback in Denver, but Tebow also has allies on the other side of the ball.
Denver's defense figures to be pretty good for the next couple of years, as all the pieces for success are in place.
A couple of years ago, Rex Grossman made it to the Superbowl on the strength of his defense.
If he can ride that type of wave, then almost anyone can.
But Tebow's biggest ally is going to be having the time to develop under the tutelage of McDaniels.
Tebow won't be coming in this year as an absolutely necessary fill in to a gaping hole at quarterback, so he'll have time to see the problem areas of the Broncos offense resolved.
There is a lot of benefit in the Broncos locker-room for Tim Tebow.
No. 1 Against: Expectations
The last quarterback the Denver Broncos took with a first round pick was a Pro Bowl player by his third season in the NFL.
Broncos fans have grown to expect a lot from their quarterbacks after a string of pretty successful guys (See Elway, John).
Every quarterback that has succeeded in Denver in the recent past has done so with a rocket-arm and the support of wowed fans.
In fact, some are going to find it hard to believe any quarterback in Denver could be the long term answer without having an overpowered, precision pass.
Tebow will also have to deal with the expectation of being as good as if not better than Jay Cutler, who was traded out of Denver at a time when many people considered him a top five NFL quarterback.
The comparison will always be there in the minds of fans, even if they don't want to vocalize it.
No. 1 For: Attitude
Tim Tebow is coming into Denver with one heck of a positive attitude, and quite frankly, it is a bit contagious.
When asked what he thought about John Elway, Tebow said something along the lines of how much respect he had for him and how he would be honored to meet him some time if he was lucky to have the opportunity.
The last franchise quarterback in Denver wandered around (looking for his chin perhaps?) saying that he had a stronger arm than Elway. For no particular reason.
Tim Tebow's critics may be giving him the fire he needs to get better and become the long-term answer in Denver, but his endlessly positive attitude is without a doubt his greatest ally.
I would go as far as to say his character is what got him in a Broncos uniform to begin with. Josh McDaniels is a character nut.
As long as Tim Tebow keeps his attitude positive and works as hard as he can, there will always be a chance for him in the NFL.
Many commentators have referred to it as Tebow's intangibles, but that attitude often transmits throughout his team; it has made Tim into a proven winner.
If he has one ally in the NFL other than Josh McDaniels, it is his drive to succeed.