That is the million dollar question that everybody—analysts, fans, players, coaches, bloggers—seems to be asking about the second-year quarterback. I realize by now that there have been a million and one articles talking about whether or not he will be an NFL-equipped quarterback, whether or not he will be successful and if he can lead the Denver Broncos to wins.
This is more of a closing argument about the entire thing. Now that the Broncos' preseason is over, we will not be seeing Tebow unless there is an injury to Kyle Orton or we are in a goal-line situation.
In the preseason finale for the Broncos, it was Brady Quinn against Tebow to see who would be backing up Orton. After that game, the advantage has to go to Tim Tebow. He managed to keep Denver from getting shut out, but more importantly he was able to make throws and plays in the pocket. He would get flushed out of the pocket, but he kept his head up the whole time looking to make a play down field.
So again the question is, does Tim Tebow have the skills to be an NFL quarterback? My answer is yes. Is he ready to be a starting NFL quarterback right now? No.
We know the obvious: Tebow has the intangibles, leadership, drive and work ethic. Those are qualities I think everyone can agree with. I also feel that everyone can agree that if Tebow was taken in the third or fourth round like he was projected, then there would be no controversy and analysts would be saying what a great playmaker he is for being so young.
It is unfair to persecute a person or be critical of a player based on where he gets drafted, but since Josh McDaniels is no longer in Denver we cannot be critical of him anymore, leaving us with the only person left from that entire drafting equation: Tebow.
I will admit firsthand when I am wrong. I was sure Tebow would start for the Broncos on Monday night against the Oakland Raiders, and I was wrong. The lack of offseason proved too much for him and the new offensive scheme was too much to win the starting job.
That is okay. Tebow's career is not over just because he has not been the starting quarterback in his second year. He has shown progression through the preseason and right now, for a team that has a quality quarterback in Orton, that is okay.
Tebow as he has shown in spurts this preseason is he has the ability to throw from the pocket, but when the pocket breaks down he feels he has to make a play with his feet. It is also tough to stay in a third-string offensive line pocket because, frankly, there is no pocket. The Broncos have little to no depth on the offensive line, causing Tebow to run for his life.
Another knock on Tebow is his mechanics. Granted, I agree they are not the best I have ever seen, but it is not if he is the only one who has bad mechanics. Philip Rivers have some of the worst mechanics of any starting NFL quarterback. Again, I feel he does need to clean up his throwing motion for a more efficient and consistent pass, but it is not a deal breaker in terms of him making it in this league.
Cam Newton was named the starter of the Carolina Panthers and the media has talked about what a great preseason he has been having while at the same time hating on Tebow and criticizing every play he makes or doesn't make. So let us compare the ever important preseason stats.
Newton was 24-of-57 for 300 yards, giving him a 42.1 completion percentage. That is 5.3 yards per throw with one score in there. He took off running nine times for 86 yards and a score. His final QB rating was 64.9.
Tebow was 20-of-31 for 310 yards with one touchdown, giving him a 64.5 completion percentage. Tebow took off running eight times for 55 yards. His final QB rating was 108.3.
Of the two, the best quarterback based on numbers alone has to be Tebow. I am simply comparing two quarterbacks with similar styles, but the difference is where they were projected to go. Just because Mel Kiper was correct where Newton went, the media has not attacked Newton's accuracy or ability to go through the progression and not take off if his first read is there. However, every time Tebow takes off, it shows he is not going through his reads.
Again, I just want to reiterate my point because many reading think I am hating on Newton and am a Tebow fanatic. That is not the case. I understand Tebow is in his second year and Newton is a rookie, so he should be worse off; however, the critics have been coming down on Tebow based on where he was drafted.
That being said, I think Tebow has all the necessary qualities and skills to be an NFL quarterback, but they are not sharp enough for him to a lead a team yet. Orton is undoubtedly the best quarterback option for the Denver Broncos, but Tebow does have the skills. They may just take longer to blossom than most "first-round picks."
Tebow is progressing and he will continue to progress, but he is still a year or two away from being the player that many expect. For some Broncos fans, this comes as a major shock and comes with anger because they want to see Tebow on the field, but I would rather wait and let him learn than have him be another JaMarcus Russell and stink it up for three years.
The Broncos do not have a quarterback controversy on their hands. After last night, they do not even have a backup quarterback controversy. But they do have a high-potential quarterback in Tebow and all these rumors of him being shipped out of Denver are ludicrous. Tim Tebow has all the skills to start in the NFL—just not yet.
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