Tim Tebow Should Be No.1 over Orton and Quinn for the Denver Broncos

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 11:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos at Cowboys Stadium on August 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 11: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos at Cowboys Stadium on August 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Tim Tebow has all the intangibles necessary to succeed as an NFL quarterback. Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn don't.

I know you've already heard this cliched argument in favor of Tebow a thousand times, and most of you outside of Denver are probably sick of it. But the fact of the matter is that it's true.

Under Kyle Orton, the Broncos went a historically bad (for this franchise) 3-10 last season. Orton himself had very good numbers, but Tebow-haters the world round are conveniently ignoring the fact that those numbers were highly inflated.  

Because the Broncos brilliantly traded Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn prior to the 2010 season, the team had no running game last season. McDaniels called pass after pass. The team was seventh in pass attempts last season and 26th in rushing attempts. Almost 60 percent of Denver's plays were passes. So that's clearly where all the yards came from.

You can still defend Orton by pointing to his solid touchdown to interception ratio in 2010 (20:9). But anyone who is an actual Broncos fan knows Orton was literally saved countless times by a strong receiving corps (particularly Brandon Lloyd who seemed take at least one interception per game away from opposing DBs).

Add to that Denver's futility in the red zone and on third downs (at 32 percent, they were 28th in the league), and you have a pretty compelling argument for those who think Orton should be starter. And if Orton is the starter, is he really going to lead the Broncos to the playoffs in this last year of his contract? How many more wins is he good for than Tebow?

If the Broncos go with Orton, they'll be settling for another year in which they'll be mediocre at best and Denver will be in this exact same position next year.

As for Brady Quinn, I cannot believe the Broncos moved him to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart for last night's win against the Bills. He's still young and may have time to improve, but his career completion percentage of 52 and quarterback rating under 67 don't inspire much confidence from me.

Plenty of pundits are raving about his one touchdown, one interception performance from last night, but Quinn hasn't been as impressive as Tebow this preseason (even though the latter has barely been allowed on the field).

The Broncos traded up to draft Tim Tebow in the first round of last year's draft and considering the aforementioned fluff Denver has at quarterback, now is as good a time as any to see if Tebow was worth the lofty selection.

He certainly appeared to be during limited time in the 2010 regular season. He led the team in rushing touchdowns with six, completed 50 percent of his passes, threw five touchdowns and three interceptions (and he only played significant time at quarterback in three games).

In those last three games, the Broncos were a completely different team. Critics dis the argument, but there is something to be said for the quarterback and leader of a team having the right attitude. Under Orton, the team often laid down and looked awful in almost every critical moment.  Under Tebow, they fought on every possession.

I'm not saying Tebow is absolutely the answer for Denver's future. What I'm saying is that they should figure out now whether or not he is.

Andy Bailey is on Twitter.