"Dud debut if ever there was one." That's not me -- that's the evaluation of SI's Peter King, who had been bullish on Tebow since the summer.
I think King doesn't mean Tebow was a dud, specifically, as much as the way he (and I and lots of other people) thought Broncos coach Josh McDaniels would use Tebow more aggressively.
It wasn't about Tebow playing in Jacksonville, so the Broncos should play him -- it was that Tebow offers an innovative coach the strategic opportunities to produce productive gains.
When Tebow got the ball on the third Broncos offensive play of the game, it looked promising, even if the run itself was for just a yard.
Tebow later was inserted again for a QB keeper: Again, just a single yard. And that was the extent of Tebow's productivity -- and McDaniels' originality.
I think Woody Paige saw it right: With less than 5 minutes to go, with the Broncos down a TD and sitting on the Jags' 14-yard-line on a make-or-break 4th-and-3, it should have been "Tebow Time."
It is sheer speculation -- even delusion -- but does anyone else think that in his first-ever NFL game, in front of a "home" crowd in a stadium he has basically destroyed teams in for four years, Tebow doesn't create either a 1st-down or a touchdown?
Instead, the play call from Orton to Lloyd fell incomplete -- close, but ultimately a failure -- and the Broncos went on to lose the game.
Tebow spoke briefly with reporters after the game: "Obviously I’m competitive and I love playing in games. So I love being out there, but for me right now, I’ve just got to learn and try to improve every day."
For me, the disappointment -- the "dud," in King's words -- was that given this opportunity to innovatively take advantage of Tebow (and why else did McDaniels draft him?), McDaniels passed.
Obviously, if he puts in Tebow and he falls short, McDaniels would have been crucified. But at least he could have said "I won't apologize for trying something unorthodox to try to tie or win the game." Instead, McDaniels was risky in the wrong way, and it didn't work out.
Hopefully the lesson is that for a non-playoff team like the Broncos, there is very little downside to innovation. And hopefully next time, McDaniels gives more consideration to Tebow Time.