Denver Broncos head coach John Fox appears determined to see Tim Tebow fail. But even with no support from his coach or front office and painfully bad playcalling, Tebow just keeps on doing what his critics love to ignore—winning football games.
Following a 1-4 start under Kyle Orton, the Denver Broncos are 3-1 since they made the switch to their oft-derided second-year quarterback. On the year, he's thrown seven touchdowns and just one interception. His quarterback rating is five points higher than Orton's (who some still claim gives the Broncos a better chance to win). He's rushed for 320 yards and two touchdowns with an average of nearly seven yards a carry.
Then of course their are the intangibles Tebow brings to the team. Yeah, I know, you're sicking of hearing about his intangibles. I'm going to talk about them anyway. True leadership goes a long way in sports. Tebow has that skill. Orton didn't. The offense clearly plays harder when he's is in the game, and that's a big part of why Denver is back in the hunt for an AFC West championship (they're now just one game behind division-leading Oakland, who they just beat a couple weeks ago).
Obviously, Tebow's critics still have some ammo (and they love to use it). He's completed less than 50 percent of his passes. He holds on to the ball too long. He caves to his instinct to run more than he should. Each of those criticisms are fair to a degree, but no one seems to be acknowledging what he's dealing with.
Fox and team president John Elway want Tebow to fail. The evidence is everywhere.
Let's start with the playcalling. If these coaches really wanted their quarterback to be successful as a passer, they'd give him significantly more high-percentage throws to make. If they're not running the ball (which they now do to the point of extreme unbalance), they're asking Tebow to complete a bomb down the field. It takes receivers much longer to get open 20 yards down field. The product of that is Tebow spending more time with the ball.
They need to run more short and intermediate routes. Most great quarterbacks (and shooters in basketball) have to get into a rhythm before they can really play their best. The easy throws are the best way to establish that rhythm. Tebow's not getting a chance to make those.
More evidence lies in what Fox and Elway have said about Tebow. The unbridled negativity they display when talking about their starting quarterback should do nothing short of disgust Broncos fans.
There have been plenty of disparaging remarks from both Johns; the most recent example from Fox is ridiculous. Talking about Tebow, Denver's head coach recently told NFL.com's Jeff Darlington, "If we were trying to run a regular offense, he'd be screwed."
I don't think that's entirely true and even if it was, a coach should not publicly say that about his starting quarterback. I do think the statement is partially true. Denver wouldn't be screwed with Tebow running a conventional offense, but his unique skill set does encourage some unconventionality. They've proven that they can have some success with the option, but they'll need more balance if they want to keep winning.
Ah, but here's the rub. Fox and Elway don't want Tebow to win. They didn't pick this guy and they don't like the way he plays. They don't care that he's risen above an unprecedented amount of largely unwarranted criticism. They don't care that he's winning games without their support. They want a conventional quarterback—even if it means they have to try to ruin the career of a young player with great potential.
My favorite thing in sports is when a player proves his doubters and critics wrong. As a Broncos fan, and just as a football fan, I hope Tebow can overcome this obstacle and be successful in Denver for years to come.