Tebow is not coach John Fox or VP John Elway's boy. They did not draft him, and they did not want to give the starting job to the former former Heisman winner. But Kyle Orton and the rest of the Denver Broncos did not give the new regime much of a choice.
Coming into the season, Orton was named the starter because he gave them the best chance to win. The seventh-year pro has taken the Chicago Bears to the playoffs and thrown for over 3,500 yards and 20 touchdowns twice. The Denver Broncos have a lot of veterans, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and starting the unproven and inaccurate Tebow would have been a huge problem for Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey, Elvis Dumervil and company.
Orton has been mediocre at best this season. He has a 75.7 QB rating and more turnovers (nine) than touchdowns (eight). The team has one win in five tries, and it is not going to get any better with Orton this year. For a team alive in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, the Denver Broncos must find out exactly what they have with Tim Tebow.
We all know about Tebow's funky mechanics and inaccurate delivery. He will never be the classic pocket passer Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway probably envisions leading his team. While Orton is a better passer and will have a higher completion percentage, he is also a statue in the pocket. Even if the Broncos were winning, the team's potential probably maxed-out at 10 wins, because any team with a pass rush can disrupt Orton.
The same is not true for Tebow. He will have many days where his stats look positively awful for a classic quarterback. Tebow, however, is not and never will be, a classic quarterback. In theory, what he lacks in accuracy, he makes up for as an extra running back that will find a way to pick up the tough yards. Besides, for all the knocks on his funky throws, it is not like he turns the ball over.
In four games with significant time at quarterback, he only has three interceptions and zero fumbles. To go with his six passing touchdowns, Tebow has also accounted for 240 yards and four more touchdowns on the ground. Four games, 10 total touchdowns, 60 yards per game on the ground. Project that over a full season, and Tebow has 40 total touchdowns and 1,000 rushing yards. Those are numbers you can win with.
I am not here to round up the Tebow bandwagon, and living up to his projected stats would be a stretch. However, the timing of this change is perfect: the Broncos are essentially out of the playoffs, and they have an extra week to prepare the former Florida Gator. With the remaining 11 games, Denver will have 15 games of significant playing time to evaluate Tebow. So far, he looks like a player that can win games. After all, isn't that what it is all about: low completion percentage or not?