Tim Tebow Wide Receiver Report Card: Broncos Desperate for Help in Passing Game

Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterSeptember 18, 2011

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 12:  Quarterback  Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos looks on from the bench against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 12, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 23-20.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

After chanting for Tim Tebow during a Week 1 loss to the Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos fans finally got to see their hero in action, though, not in the capacity that anyone had imagined and not in a way that bodes well for their team moving forward.

Tebow, Denver's third-string quarterback, came into Sunday's home game against the Cincinnati Bengals as a wide receiver in the second quarter when Eddie Royal succumbed to a groin injury. Without Royal, the Broncos were left woefully thin at wide receiver, with only Eric Decker and Matthew Willis left standing.

The Broncos came into the game without Brandon Lloyd (groin) and Demaryius Thomas (Achilles). Hence, Tebow, all 6'3" and 236 pounds of him, was next in line, more as an emergency backup than as a means of placating Denver's feisty fanbase.

So far, Tebow has made about as much of an impact at wideout as he has at quarterback this season.

Which is to say, hardly any.

Tebow has yet to garner a single target from starting quarterback Kyle Orton, with the extent of his impact thus far coming down to a block on a third down-run by Lance Ball that fell short of the marker.

The fact that Tebow is actually playing out of position is doubly dangerous for Denver's outlook at this point. For one, it shows just how short the Broncos are on playmakers right now. Lloyd came close to playing the game, going so far as to practice on Friday and warm up with the passing unit two hours before kickoff. Thomas is still on the mend from a torn Achilles he sustained back in February.

Both should be back in action within the next week or two.

Secondly, Tebow's move is just the latest indication that, barring a series of catastrophes, he will never again play quarterback in Denver, that he's already a horrific bust in just his second season since being taken in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft.

In the meantime, the Broncos have little choice other than to turn to a player who's far more comfortable throwing the ball than catching it. On the bright side, though, at least Denver has finally found a way to make use of (some of) Tebow's football talents.

However, if head coach John Fox is truly keen to make the best of a bad situation under center, he would be wise to use Tebow at tight end or fullback rather than out wide. Tebow doesn't have the speed or athleticism to compete against NFL corners, but he does have the size, strength and toughness necessary to take on and bowl over linebackers. What's more, he's already demonstrated his ability to run up the gut in the pros, something that Broncos running backs Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno aren't exactly known for.  

As such, putting Timmy out wide figures to be just the first phase of the Tebow Experiment in Denver.

That is, unless he turns out to be the next Brandon Marshall.