After watching Tim Tebow's performance in the final three games of the 2010 season, I have had little doubt that he could make it as a QB on a team that was willing to build their offense around his strengths. At the very least I thought he showed enough potential to get a shot as a starting QB for a Broncos team that was in total rebuilding mode.
Since the new front office took over it has been QB insanity in Denver. The Orton or Tebow debate is not one that I want to get into in this article.
What I do want to get into is that I don't think Tim Tebow will ever fit what the current front office wants in its franchise QB. But they love his ability to sell tickets and jerseys, which is why they pretended for so long that he was going to be the starter.
It's not that they really like Orton either, they tried to trade him the minute the lockout was lifted. What they do like about Orton is that he gives the front office a quiet locker room and a chance to suck for Luck without unrest. Heck, the veteran players themselves wanted Orton to start.
here are a couple of good articles from the Denver Post from the start of the preseason that addresses my point.
I don't think it takes a Being John Malkovich kind of movie to get into John Elway's mind and know his thoughts on Tebow. He was never convinced Tebow could be a QB in the NFL or put in my words, Elway knew that Tebow would never be a Elway-type QB. Elway never had the vision of how Tebow could become a great QB in the NFL.
Elway wants a prototypical pocket passer under center—that, Tebow is not and never will be. So instead of accepting that fact—the front office told Tebow that to make it in Denver he had to prove that he could be a pocket passer.
Tebow's biggest mistake was that he accepted the premise but also that he didn't have advisers that could help him out. Looking back, Tebow should have asked to be traded right then—you don't like what I bring to the table, and for you to like me I'm going to be something that I'm not. Well, we all know that's a dead end in any relationship.
The second-biggest mistake by Tebow was not hiring a coach like Cam Newton or Jake Locker to teach him to be a pocket passer. This is because Tebow probably didn't really know what he had to do to become that pocket passer, since neither Fox nor Elway could tell him during the lockout. From interviews, it almost sounded like he thought it was all just about taking snaps from under center.
I think, by now, it's fair to say Elway has a man crush on Andrew Luck, who he sees as the second coming of himself. Elway will do anything possible to land Luck in the 2012 draft.
Elway knows this team will never go far with Orton, but at least Orton gives him a quiet locker room and a chance to suck for Luck.
What Elway didn't foresee, was that Tebow's popularity with the fans actually rivals Elway's. My guess is that to many younger fans Elway is a dinosaur who used to be great when great NFL teams were build around great defense and a run-first offense.
But today, the NFL is a passing league, where defenses win games by creating turnovers. Neither Fox nor Elway seem to understand that this is a passing league where offense wins championships and defenses can give up tons of yards as long as they get takeaways (the Packers and Patriots are 30th and 31st in total defense rankings).
Fans wants an exciting game, where playmakers at the QB position rule. The Denver fans have seen what other teams can do with their young QB playmakers, and of course Denver fans wants one of these too: here is my open letter to John Elway.
Now, the Denver Broncos have one of, if not best college QB playmakers of all time on their team. They saw that he showed potential in the three games he started in 2010 and now they can't understand why he isn't getting a shot to prove himself.
Can you really blame them?
There were good reasons for John Elway to hire John Fox. First and foremost The Denver Broncos needed to rebuild their defense.
More importantly, they also shared the same old-school football philosophy. Defense wins championships and offense is built around a strong running game. That's what Elway's success was built around and that has always been Fox's trademark.
Some may argue the game has evolved since then, what we do know is that Fox hasn't.
Tebow has from the start been a square peg in a round hole in Fox's offense.
- Fox does not want to take chances; he wants a QB under center where he knows what he is getting.
- Fox gets twitches at the very thought of Tebow improvising on the field.
- Fox wants a game manager that allows for his defense to win games.
- Fox does not understand or appreciate creativity and the ability to improvise.
That also means he wants a QB that does well in practice, that shows him what he can expect. Fox does not understand or value that you can underperform in practice and still take your game to a whole new level in games—which was all Tebow was about in college.
Tebow, by all accounts, is not at all what Fox wants in his QB. Now, the front office can pretend that they can change Tebow into the kind of QB that they want—but we all know by now that it will never happen.
Tim Tebow is not John Fox's QB.
The fans are more than ready for Tebow. The NFL and other franchises have shown readiness to embrace the kind of skills a spread offense, dual-threat QB brings to the Table.
From Steve Young, Michael Vick to Cam Newton.
But the front office of the Denver Broncos is clearly not ready. This is because Tebow simply doesn't fit what the Broncos front office wants to do at the QB position.
It doesn't matter if Tebow showed potential in the three games he started, it doesn't really matter if Tebow will ever have what it takes to become a starting NFL QB—because he will never be the kind of QB John Elway and John Fox envisions as the future franchise QB of the Denver Broncos.
I think that's fair enough. They want to go in another direction with a QB with another skill set that is a better fit to what they want to do on the field.
What isn't fair—especially to the fans, because Tebow gets paid to do this—is that the front office used Tebow as bait to sell jerseys and put butts in the seats in a season where they knew they were rebuilding and with no belief in making the playoffs.
Now I know that the argument is that real fans support the team no matter what, and I can sympathize with that, but this is also a business and to make money in the long term you need to build a good relationship with your customers, especially the new ones.
By no means should the fans dictate who is going to be the starting QB, but during the crazy media-fueled QB controversy in Denver, it has become evident from the front office statements (and Kyle Orton) that this front office does not care about what the fans think or feel.
Maybe it's just all about that they couldn't tell the whole story as it was:
- We never believed that Tebow was going to be the starting QB. But we loved that all of you Tebow fans bought all of those jerseys and season tickets.
- We don't believe in Kyle Orton either, but we know what we have in him and the veteran players like him so the locker room is quiet.
- We are in total rebuilding mode, and we are going to ditch the season and do everything in our might to land Andrew Luck in the 2012 draft.
- Suck for Luck has been the motto of this front office from the start.
- We thought that by humiliating Tebow he would perform so badly that the fans and media would side with us when benching him.
- We would name him the starter before the lockout, then rip it all away from him without giving him a fair chance to compete for the starting job.
- We would even go so far as to leak a story that Tebow was in reality the fourth QB on the depth chart.
- But we totally underestimated the Tebow thing, we though that with Elway hovering over this front office the fans would put up and shut up.
I don't know if Tim Tebow will be a great QB in the NFL, I don't know if he will do a better job than Orton if given the opportunity.
What I do think, is that this front office has handled the Tebow situation in the worst possible way—unless all you care about is the money has put in the bank for the franchise.