Tim Tebow started the last three games of the 2010 season for the Denver Broncos, but as we go into 2011, there is good reason to think Tebow will be on the bench as the season opens.
There are a lot of factors in play when it comes to Tebow. He has a lot of talent, but many scouts and coaches aren't sure he can be successful in the pros.
His three starts looked promising, but that is a very limited pool in which to accurately judge Tebow.
Then there is the matter of Kyle Orton, who played well in 2010.
There is a lot of ground to cover, so here are some reasons Tebow may end up riding the bench in 2011.
Tim Tebow was drafted by Josh McDaniels, who no longer is with the team.
John Fox is the new head coach and has zero loyalty to Tebow. Fox will make the best decision for the team, and if that means Tebow rides the bench, Tebow rides the bench.
John Elway now resides in the front office, and like Fox, has no loyalty to Tebow. Elway's loyalty is to the Broncos organization.
Elway already has made one comment about Orton being the starter if the season started right now, and he's made some cryptic comments that hint Tebow may not be the future of the franchise. If Elway doesn't think Tebow can lead this team to a Super Bowl, Tebow won't be the starter in 2011.
Without pressure from the front office, there is no reason to put Tebow on the field if there are other options.
Orton had a pretty good year. In 13 games, Orton threw for 3,653 yards and 20 touchdowns. He had a 58.8 percent completion rate and finished the year with a 87.5 QB rating.
While those numbers aren't spectacular as a whole, 3,653 yards and 20 touchdowns in 13 games is pretty good.
If Orton had some better receivers and a running game to fall back on, his numbers probably would've been a lot better.
One reason it is too early to make any kind of pronouncement on Tebow is because he only started three games.
Most coaches need more tape than that to effectively begin strategizing against them.
If Orton gets the start and gets injured, you still have a very effective backup in Tebow. He's proved that much.
While Tebow has potential, there is very little argument about him needing to develop some of his skills before he really will be ready to be a starter in the NFL.
Orton already is there and the Broncos are interested in winning now. That makes Tebow the low guy on the totem pole.
Tebow does have a few things going for him. He is talented, he is dedicated, and he showed he can be a playmaker.
He even showed he can play like Michael Vick on more than one play.
With all that in mind, though, Tebow still is a very raw talent and you just don't give the keys to the kingdom to a project quarterback who only has three starts and one victory to his credit.
Tebow proved he should get another chance, but that doesn't mean he gets that chance in 2011.
Tim Tebow is a running, mobile quarterback. While that is good to a point, it rarely ever translates to success in the NFL.
Steve Young, Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick are the three success stories that stand out. But for those three, there are a couple dozen failures.
Sometimes that failure comes in the form of career-ending injury. A running quarterback takes a lot more punishment than a pocket passer, especially in today's NFL. The rules protect the pocket passer but not the runner.
Denver has to be mindful of this and prepare accordingly.
While depth at quarterback is good on the sideline, it usually isn't good for business. At the end of the day this league is a business that does cost/benefit analysis.
The Broncos aren't going to pay starting money to a quarterback who is going to spend most of the season sitting on the bench. You just can't tie that much money up with a backup.
So at some point, a decision has to be made, and that decision most likely will result in Tebow leaving town.
Tim Tebow loves Florida. But the Jacksonville Jaguars not only passed on him in the draft, he wasn't even on their radar.
In an interview with The Florida Times-Union recently, Tebow says he knew he wasn't staying in Florida because the Jaguars spent very little time with him prior to the draft.
If Tebow thinks Orton will be in Denver for the foreseeable future, Tebow will want out, and he will want to go to a team that plays Jacksonville more often than Denver does.
In conclusion, all signs point to Tebow leaving the Mile High City sometime in the near future. It may not be this offseason, or even before the trade deadline during the 2011 season.
But next year the trade market will be different and there won't be as crowded a field as there seems to be this year, and by that point Tebow's contract doesn't look so bad and the Broncos will move him.
As long as Kyle Orton continues to play well, Tebow is expendable. And if Tebow plays just enough and well enough to show he's made progress, then Tebow's trade value shoots up and the Broncos have an easy decision on their hands.