He may not be able to completely quiet all of his detractors—analysts like ESPN’s John Clayton don’t want to back off their brash assessments of Tebow any sooner than they have to—but Tebow should start to turn heads in the NFL. Sure, the lock-out is absolutely devastating for the Broncos team and for Tim Tebow more specifically.
But Tebow will be all right.
He should be more than all right.
The infamous hoody is out! The venerable coach who loves to run and play defense is in.
John Fox intends to help Tim Tebow develop as a quarterback. He brought back Mike McCoy as the offensive coordinator to avoid disrupting the work that McCoy and Tebow had already begun. More importantly, Tebow will not have be Peyton Manning under the new offensive system.
Instead, we can safely assume that John Fox intends to re-install a dominant rushing game into the Denver offense, which has been traditionally known as a great running team. His track record in Carolina shows that he loves a tandem of talented running backs.
Thunder and lightning. Who will be thunder, and who will be lighting, are entirely different questions, that should be partly answered with the draft and any subsequent free agency period that may ensue.
But there will be a running game and it will be featured as the primary component of the offense. Tim will just be asked to manage games and limit mistakes, which he is fully capable of doing. He may occasionally be asked to make a special play; many of the games may end up being very close if the Broncos get their defense and running game back on track.
Didn’t Tebow prove that he is a play-maker last season? For as slow and lumbering as the guy is supposed to be, I sure saw him make a lot of plays with his feet. Coaches Fox and McCoy will help Tebow be successful. And I believe they have the perfect formula to make that happen: Run first, and play good defense.
But Tim Tebow is not really an NFL quarterback. Right?
Some critics contend that Tebow showed up well on a stat sheet last season because the offense was extremely “vanilla.” Any decent quarterback can throw a bubble-screen pass. It’s true that Tebow was asked to throw a lot of screen passes in the games he started last season. But was the offense toned down because Tebow is really just an H-Back trying to play quarterback, or was it toned down because the mad-scientist head coach was sent packing with all of his mad-scientist data and research, and the guy taking over looked about as young and inexperienced as Tim Tebow?
My guess is the latter is more correct. Sure, Tebow threw a lot of safe and short passes in the games he started. But he also threw some passes that, looking back on it, I remember saying to myself, “Wow, I thought Tim Tebow wasn't supposed to throw like that?” How many things did Tebow do last season that he wasn't supposed to be able to do?
If we are honest with ourselves, the answer should be quite a few. If we are determined to be “right” about Tim Tebow not being a true NFL quarterback, then we will probably continue to make broad generalizations like, “Tim Tebow just doesn’t have the accuracy to be a good quarterback in this league.”
Tebow will win games that Kyle Orton would generally lose.
Tim Tebow has “it”. You could come to that conclusion if you objectively watched the Broncos towards the end of last season. He just seemed to be able to find the end-zone or make the perfect play when it counted the most. Sure, he made mistakes, not all of his passes were accurately thrown. Not all of his decisions were good ones. But he was a rookie, playing in a limited capacity, on a generally bad team.
Conversely, how well did Kyle Orton fair in close games, in 4th quarter situations, with time running out and the team needing a big play? The bottom line is that Orton was a great quarterback to have on your fantasy football team, but as the starter on your all-too-real football team?
Probably not. Sure, he put up big numbers, but so have a lot of mediocre quarterbacks who have played this game. And in two-minute drills and with the game on the line, Kyle Orton was no John Elway. He was the opposite of clutch.
By this stage of his career, Tim Tebow seems more Kobe Bryant than Tracy McGrady. He looks like a winner, and he showed that in the limited number of games that he started last year. He looks like a closer, not just a guy who can put up a lot of impressive stats, which may end up meaning a lot more to fantasy football leagues than to actual wins and losses in the standings. And for now, he doesn’t have to be Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
He just has to be Tim Tebow in year two of his professional career as a quarterback.
I repeat, as a quarterback.