2011 NFL Predictions: 6 Reasons Tim Tebow Will Be Broncos Starter by Week 11
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At this point, opinions about Tim Tebow are so divided that if you ask 10 people how this year will turn out for him, it seems five will say he will win the starting job and play well and the other five will say he will be cut, traded or converted to another position.
While I won’t necessarily say Tebow should win the job this year, I realize the possibility must still be considered. Tebow has too many backers to not get his chance eventually, so here are six reasons why I think he makes his return to the starting lineup Week 11 vs. the New York Jets—if he hasn’t done so already.
Will Tebow have the opportunity to start the next time he faces the Jets?
Denver plays the Jets on Thursday night on national television courtesy of NFL Network. Like him or not, everybody knows that Tebow sells. All you have to do to see evidence of this is simply look at the Broncos stories right here on this website—half of them are Tebow-centric.
What could be a better time to (re)introduce Tebow as a starter than a performance on national television? Win or lose, everybody will be tuning in to the Broncos, which is just what Pat Bowlen wants.
Tebow rushes for a touchdown against the Jets in 2010. Will he have a chance to repeat?
Not only will the timing be right in week 11, but the opponent may also be a perfect match as well.
At first blush, the Jets may not seem like an ideal opponent for Tebow, and it’s true that there’s potential for problems there. However, I’m not too worried about Tebow getting beat up by the Jets and losing confidence. Confidence will never be a problem for Tebow, and one bad performance against a great defense wouldn’t ruin him.
In fact, giving Tebow his first start in 2011 against the Jets could provide a built-in defense mechanism for Tebow and the Broncos.
Consider: Though they will surely be in the minority, some portion of the fanbase that dislikes Tebow will be upset if and when Kyle Orton is benched in favor of the lefty. If Tebow’s first start comes against a great defense and he doesn’t light it up, those fans will be more likely to take it easy on him and give him another shot.
If the Broncos care about Tebow’s development at all, they may take advantage of this opportunity to soften the blow if he doesn’t play great.
Raiders and Chiefs
Tebow tries to break out of a sack by Tommy Kelly and Matt Shaughnessy
Preceding the matchup with New York, the Broncos play at Oakland and at Kansas City in Weeks 9 and 10, respectively. Depending on how things work out, the team could be in a position to make a change heading into Week 11.
If Denver loses both games—not an entirely unreasonable possibility considering the games are back-to-back road contests against division rivals—fans will be steaming. Broncos fans hate nothing more than to witness a loss against Oakland, and following one up with a loss against Kansas City may be the
catalyst in making a move to Tebow.
No organization is completely above the demands of the fan base that funds it, and demand for Tebow to start will skyrocket if those games are lost.
Tebow gets a taste of the endzone against Kansas City in 2010
Discussing the possibility that Denver loses at Oakland and Kansas City transitions nicely into the next reason why Tebow will be starting by Week 11 if he starts at all.
While every team has reason for optimism at the start of the season, we simply can’t expect the Broncos to turn into a powerhouse after a 4-12 season. Is it possible? Sure.
But it’s equally possible that the team has a losing record heading Week 11, and if it's clearly out of
contention—or as out of contention as a team can be with six games left to play—it will be time to give Tebow his shot to prove he can lead a franchise from the quarterback position. Six games would be just enough time to find out if the Broncos want to give him a full season in 2012 or not.
Tebow prepares to meet linebacker Brandon Siler head on
Yet another reason I think Tebow will be starting Week 11 actually has nothing to do with Weeks 1-11 and everything to do with Week 12.
One of Tebow’s three starts last year came against San Diego, and he had a decently encouraging performance, nearly leading a comeback effort.
If he regains the starting job in Week 11, Tebow can look forward to playing a familiar opponent in his next game, which may be a rebound effort after facing a tough Jets defense. The Chargers are no slouches on defense themselves, but the effect of familiarity can’t be underestimated.
Perhaps the Broncos will take this into consideration and try to make Tebow as comfortable as possible when his time arrives.
Building Trade Value
Tebow celebrates his first NFL touchdown. The first of many, or a lucky score for a future fullback?
To close this article, it may be appropriate to discuss a reason Tebow could start even if the Broncos don’t think he can play.
If Denver finds itself in position for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes—or even Matt Barkley or Landry Jones—and think he is their guy, it wouldn’t be remiss to start Tebow. Worst-case scenario, he plays poorly and loses games, bringing the team even closer to Luck/Barkley/Jones and has to be cut or traded for a low draft pick.
But if he shows some flashes, Denver may be able to land its quarterback still and also pull in a mid-round conditional pick from some team that bites on Tebow’s potential. Then, even if Tebow went
on to become a star, the Broncos wouldn’t be in horrible shape. They’d have a potential franchise quarterback of their own as well as a high draft pick because the traded pick was conditional.
Even the most vicious Tebow-haters could surely bear to watch Tebow start a few games in this scenario.