Tim Tebow: 5 Steps Out of Town for the Denver Broncos Quarterback
With the firing of head coach Josh McDaniels Monday night, the Denver Broncos now have a crucial decision to make: What ought they to do with rookie quarterback and first-round pick Tim Tebow?
Tebow, of course, became a college football legend at Florida before entering the 2010 draft and going 25th overall to Denver. McDaniels masterminded that selection. With the coach now out of the picture, the Broncos must decide whether to continue viewing Tebow as an eventual successor to current starter Kyle Orton, or to move on with Orton, and without Tebow.
Tebow has thrown only one pass this season, a three-yard touchdown, and has three rushing touchdowns in 12 highly targeted attempts near the goal line. Even if that were a viable long-term role for a first-round pick (and it isn't), the situation seems tenuous with Orton and Tebow going forward. Read on for five things that could happen to resolve this looming issue over the next eight months.
1. Let The Kid Play
Tebow has played really well in very limited action this season, and the Broncos need to find out just what they have in him. Over the final four weeks, interim coach Eric Studesville should give Tebow at least a quarter of playing time per game. That way, Denver can evaluate Tebow as more than a goal-line offense touchdown machine, and see how well he can conduct a drive and make key throws in the NFL.
Success is not critical; information is. Tebow was so good at Florida, but NFL scouts roundly knocked his skills as a pure passer. He needs real-time experience behind center to prove or disprove those doubters.
2. Compare The Markets
The Broncos extended Orton's contract in August, ensuring they will control him through 2011. Tebow's modest success so far has done nothing to either force the team's hand or change their minds about retaining Orton.
Therefore, the Broncos can wait for offers to come in on each of their would-be signal-callers this off-season. If a team is willing to make a handsome enough offer for one year of relatively affordable and efficient passing from Orton, perhaps the team would do well to trade him and let Tebow learn on the job.
If, on the other hand, Tebow's audition down the stretch is impressive enough to entice a team like Jacksonville (the perfect fit) or Oakland into making a big offer, the broncos could trade Tebow and commit to their prolific passer in Orton for the long haul.
Of course, the possibility exists that no one will make an especially appealing offer for either player, in which case the Broncos will have to make a tough internal decision.
3. Determine The New System
McDaniels favored the pass heavily, which helped make Orton into the star he has become. Orton is a volume passer, a strong thrower of the deep ball who prefers the vertical passing game.
Any system in which Tebow would thrive, though, would need to involve more balance. A stronger running game and a more thoroughly mixed bag of passing plays would rule the day. Therefore, the Broncos ought not to decide who will call the play in the huddle before they determine who will call the plays from the sidelines.
If it will be June Jones or a similarly pass-happy college coach, then Orton makes more sense. If the team decides to stick with Studesville (or anyone similarly attached to the ground game), Tebow is the smarter option. This decision, like all others in pro sports, is all about context.
4. A Change Of Scenery, Or a Change Of Perspective?
Let's assume for a moment that, in the final calculus, Tebow is not the answer at quarterback, for any team. He has made it clear that he wants to play there, but it may not be an option. Would the big man accept a move to H-back?
Tebow could be a devastating presence around the goal line in this league for years to come. He could line up next to the quarterback in shotgun situations and threaten the defense with surprise pass plays, or run a square out and bull his way into end zone after the catch. He has all the tools he needs to succeed in that role, but it will take a creative and persuasive new coach to sell him on it.
5. Moving On?
Tebow might not fit for the Broncos in the long run. It's too bad, but it's true. Orton has established himself as a good fit for their long-held organizational philosophy, and Tebow simply lacks the arm to be elite under center in a pro-style offense. Luckily for him, though, there are places in this league where they would openly accommodate his style and make him remember his Florida days.
One such destination is Jacksonville, where David Garrard's resurgent season should fool no one into believing he is actually a great passer in the NFL. Tebow could carve out a niche with the Jaguars, and he and Maurice Jones-Drew would strike fear into the hearts of tacklers everywhere.