2011 Denver Broncos: Is John Elway Passing on Tim Tebow Too Soon?
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I can't help but feel like we've been here before. I don't say "we" as a Denver Broncos fan, but merely an NFL writer observing another potential mess in Denver, and expressing my disdain for another great NFL franchise being run into the ground.
The Josh McDaniels experiment failed. McDaniels had an apparent method to his madness. He was subtracting "me first" talent, and drafting "his guys," like a modern day coaching God, constructing a team of players "in his vision."
Still, after an impressive 6-0 start in year one, McDaniels went down in flames, and the Broncos were suddenly right back where they started.
However, some may argue, the one good thing McDaniels did do was bring a little more character to the Broncos seemingly prima dona roster. Drafting Tim Tebow (although arguably fairly early), delivered the "see, this is what I'm trying to do" blow that shocked the Denver nation, and quite possibly put him on fire alert entering the 2010 season.
Still, you can't help but think that adding a high character guy like Tebow was a good move. Forget about the first round, or how Tebow wasn't ready, or whatever else draft experts had to say or nit-pick about him. Tebow was/is a talented, athletic quarterback with outstanding leadership, presence, and intangibles.
No matter your stance on Tebow or his abilities, you can't really argue against the fact that he has certain characteristics that can't be obtained; that can't really be taught.
Should Tebow be the starter in 2011?
On top of that, Tebow was still a rookie in 2010, yet he led a come-from-behind win against the Houston Texans (which he won with his feet), and looked promising during the stretch of his three starts to end the season.
He wasn't perfect. His completion percentage (exactly 50 percent) could have been better. He tended to have happy feet. He forced some balls. All of this is true. But are we forgetting this guy was a rookie? I think we are. And even more importantly, I'm starting to think John Elway's "inner McDaniels" is getting in the way (potentially) of a guy who could still be the answer at quarterback.
Let's face it. Jay Cutler wasn't imposing as a rookie. Eli Manning looked absolutely lost as a rookie. Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions and went 3-13 as a rookie. And those are just three examples of guys that, if you compare to Tebow, Tebow could arguably come out on top as having a better showing in year one.
However, Elway is here, and he's ready to mix things up. With the Denver Broncos rumored to be at least slightly interested in drafting yet another quarterback in the early rounds, this writer is curious if all of Denver is about to lose it's mind.
I'm sure Cam Newton has to be enticing if he's available with Denver's first pick in the first round. I'm sure trading down and nabbing a Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett has it's upside. There's even talk of the Broncos waiting until the second round, where they could grab the impressive and athletic Colin Kaepernick.
All that sounds great, but here's the kicker: why would you spend another early pick on a passer when you have a talented one already on your current roster? You know, a guy you just spent a first round pick on in 2010? Where is the logic there?
The logic, of course, rests in the notion that Tebow is not an NFL quarterback. That he didn't show enough in three starts at the end of the season. That whatever new young guy they bring in will automatically be better than anything Tebow has to offer.
Call me crazy, but I don't see it, and I don't believe it.
Ask anyone, and they'll admit that there might not be one single "sure thing" at the quarterback position in this year's draft. There are big, strong, athletic passers in this draft. But there isn't a Sam Bradford. There isn't a Matt Ryan. Not visible to the naked eye, at least.
So, if that sure-fire franchise quarterback isn't there, why risk shattering Tebow's confidence, and even more importantly, pass up a chance of letting the guy prove himself?
Have heart, Broncos fans. I have a solution. Why don't you just let Tim Tebow prove you right or wrong? Give him the justice that most first round quarterbacks get after being drafted so high - let him play.
If he has a good season and things go upward, then maybe he's your guy, after all. If he turns out to be a disaster, you can always turn to Kyle Orton (unless he's traded), or you can just wait until the 2012 NFL draft, where Andrew Luck and a number of other solid quarterbacks will be readily available?
If they draft a QB, who should it be?
The truth is, Tebow has done nothing to warrant a lack of confidence or backing from Elway, Pat Bowlen, or John Fox. He was a rookie in 2010, and played reasonably well. In fact, He led the Broncos to just three less wins than Orton did in 2010.
Add in the fact that by the time Tebow got to see the field as a starter, the coach that drafted him was gone, and you have to be somewhat impressed with how he fared down the stretch.
So, let's see it, for better or worse in 2010. Let's see Tim Tebow fail, or rise to the occasion and prove all of his critics wrong. Really, at this point, what do you have to lose?
Who knows, maybe Elway is actually a genius and this is all a smokescreen designed to both trick other NFL teams during the draft, as well as make Tebow work even harder to prove he has what it takes.
Whatever it is, all I know is that it'd be a tremendous shame for a talented player to be knocked down before he could ever defend himself.
Check out our extensive 2011 NFL Draft coverage at NFLSoup.com!
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