Tebow goes back for a pass vs. Chargers
At the end of the first half in the San Diego Chargers-Denver Broncos NFL game on October 9, 2011, everyone knew that something had to change. Kyle Orton and the rest of the Denver Broncos team were simply not playing well.
In the last couple of games, the cries for Tebow to start and be given a chance had reached a deafening pitch. In this game, we finally saw at least a half of "Tebow time".
So, from an objective standpoint, how did he do? How did the team respond around him? Let's take a look.
Tebow vs. Cardinals September 1, 2011
In this game, Tebow had some passes that were thrown a little too low. Tebow's passing stats were four out of 10 for 79 yards, which is not by any means great. However, some of his passes were the result of drops from the receivers through the air, and from the two-point conversion attempt at 3:19 remaining in the fourth as well, so I grade his passing as a C-.
Tebow running vs. Seattle August 27, 2011
There is always something interesting that changes in an NFL team's dynamic when they know that they have an NFL QB that can run. John Elway, Ben Roethlisberger and others all have this dynamic. In this game, Tebow once again had a lot of good running plays, and this always forces the opposing team to adjust their game plan. Once again, Tebow showed his great running ability, gaining 38 yards in this game.
Tebow's leadership ability on the field should be considered as well. Consider the score: in the first half, the score was 23-10, and the final conclusion had the score at 29-24. Tebow has done this before, such as in the comeback victory over the Texans last season. I docked him somewhat because of a losing effort, but still, in comparing Orton and Tebow, you cannot escape the fact that the team played differently in the second half.
If all things are equal, my overall grade given to Tebow is a B-.
A couple of things come to mind here. Tebow is able to fire a team up simply by his presence on the field, and all of the greats have had that ability in one way or another. Dan Marino and Steve Young were able to do it because of their passing accuracy and strong mechanics. Elway, Favre, Unitas and others could do it because of their leadership and guts.
However, Tebow is still very raw. His passing stats were not great, with just four of 10 for 79 yards, and he missed a few much-needed and important passes in this game. He did, however, complete a screen pass that pulled the Broncos within two points of the lead late in the game.
The fact that Tebow is able to be more mobile than Orton is a good thing though, because it can make things happen on the field. Consider that Tebow was able to score a 12-yard rushing touchdown to put the Broncos within eight points in the latter part of the fourth quarter.
Tebow vs. Buffalo August 20, 2011
I think some people are going to say that I graded Tebow too leniently, and some will say I graded him too harshly. On paper, Tebow would appear to be a terrible quarterback, but the detractors must remember that he brings a lot of intangibles to the table that Orton cannot. Seriously, do you really think Orton could keep the Broncos in the game as Tebow did in this game? Not based on Orton's track record.
However, an NFL quarterback's skill set is the bread to the intangibles butter. If a quarterback does not have a skill set, he will not be worth much in the big scheme of things. Some passes were definitely under-thrown, and in this game of inches, those yards here and there could make a mountain of difference.
As far as Tebow's ability to be a starting QB in this league, I think some middle ground is needed. I don't think that Tebow is going to be the panacea that many supporters think he will be. But at the same time, I also don't think Tebow is going to so terrible that he is the second coming of Jamarcus Russell.
Whether Tebow starts against Miami after the bye week remains to be seen, but the fact that Tebow once again had the Broncos in the game despite his still rather shaky skill set has to be taken into account.