Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Peter King Defends Tim Tebow

*I guess Tim Tebow was Den's 4th-best QB when he led Broncs to 24-second-half pts and 24-23 win over Houston.

*There's no 3rd QB rules anymore. If coaches can't find a role for Tebow in their offense, Den must be more explosive than 80s Niners.

*Last Tebow point: Don't get me wrong; I'm not advocating he start over Orton. I'm saying he should have a package of Wildcat/option plays.

-- Peter King on Twitter, about Tim Tebow in the wake of Michael Silver's piece about Tebow being a 4th-stringer and this morning's comments from Boomer Esiason.

Comments: Agree 100% with the first tweet. Agree 100% with the second tweet. Agree 100% with the third tweet. All things we've been saying here for a year.

"Tim Tebow Can't...": Boomer Esiason Edition

"He can't play. He can't throw. I'm not here to insult him. The reality is he was a great college football player, maybe the greatest college football player of his time. But he's not an NFL quarterback right now."

"Just because he's God-fearing, and a great person off the field, and was a winner with the team that had the best athletes in college football, doesn't mean his game is going to translate to the NFL."

"What (former Broncos coach) Josh McDaniel saw in him God only knows. Maybe God does know — because the rest of us don't."

-- "NFL Today" analyst Boomer Esiason, trying to score cheap points by trolling Tebow for an audience of sports-media reporters who know that anything they publish about Tebow will get lots of attention. (The "God" stuff is particularly cheap -- you don't have to be religious to find that type of comment to be an unnecessary attempt by Esiason to draw attention to himself. The "I'm not here to insult him, but..." was a particularly inane touch.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tim Tebow Not Going Anywhere

“They’re not about to trade him, they’re not about to release him.”

-- Chris Mortensen. More from ProFootballTalk here.

Tebow In Denver...Or Elsewhere

I think most Tebow fans -- and they transcend parochial interest in the Broncos (in truth, they would have rooted for Tebow wherever he was drafted) -- are interested in one thing:

That Tebow end up with an NFL coach who is secure enough and brilliant enough to deploy him in an unorthodox way that maximizes Tebow's unique skills and optimizes their own team's chances.

I'm not sure that exists in the NFL -- the late (and best-ever) Bill Walsh is long gone; the Steve Young comparison falls flat not because of Tebow, but because of NFL coaching.

If Denver isn't committed to doing that with Tebow, then it's in Tebow's best interests if the team lets him go, either through trade or release. (If the latter, I'll bet Bill Belichick finds room.)

It's funny: The Broncos had an amazing opportunity -- play Tebow full-time to give him a shot (and try to develop him).

If Tebow failed utterly, the consolation prize was being in a position to draft Andrew Luck to replace Tebow; if he did OK, they are that much further to having a long-term solution at QB.

The team's milquetoast approach is doing themselves -- not to mention Tebow or Broncos fans -- no favors.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tim Tebow: Third String?

How did we get from a compelling argument for Tim Tebow starting for the Broncos... to Tebow as third-stringer behind both Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn?

It's unclear what kind of strategic or tactical value the Broncos get from giving Quinn 2nd-team snaps ahead of Tebow -- it's not like Quinn has a long-term future in Denver.

And if Kyle Orton gets injured early in the season, are the Broncos really going to play Quinn over Tebow? If the team is more likely to lose than win either way, why not play Tebow?

It is a baffling decision by John Fox and John Elway -- if they don't want Tebow (or simply don't believe in him), they might as well trade him to a team that is willing to give him a chance.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tebow's Development Curve Looks Good

ESPN's Chris Sprow has a must-read (via Insider) about Tim Tebow's long-term prospects, which he is very bullish about.

He draws the smart comparison to Steve Young when Young was a 25-year-old struggling to run Tampa's offense. Young, of course, became a Hall of Famer -- an all-time great QB -- when he got to the 49ers and played in a system designed by the greatest mind in pro football history, Bill Walsh. (But a transition certainly not made any easier by the presence of legend Joe Montana.)

It isn't unreasonable to argue -- in fact, it's something argued here for more than a year -- that it will take as fearless and imaginative a coaching mind as Walsh had (if that's even possible these days) for Tebow to realize his vast NFL potential. You can only hope that someday, he finds it. It might not be in Denver. In fact, if Young's model is any indicator, it won't happen in Denver.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Tim Tebow

Hard to think of a 24-year-old with more impact. (Mark Zuckerberg maybe? OK: So let's limit it to sports -- hard to think of a 24-year-old athlete with more impact.)

Tim Tebow is Faith vs. Doubt

"To believe in Tebow is to see and feel and believe something others don’t. It is having faith vs. having doubt."

-- Dan LeBatard, in today's Miami Herald, with a very interesting take on Tebow. It toes the edge of making this about the "religion" issue, but then craftily flips it into a conversation about the essence of being a sports fan.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Tebow Needs to Be Tebow"

Worth a read, from the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla.

(At a bare minimum, let Tebow be Tebow by letting him have the ball inside the 5-yard-line and in short-yardage situations where his dual-threat ability gives the team a unique edge. Honestly, the strict adherence to NFL orthodoxy is the much bigger problem than anything Tebow is or isn't doing.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Using Tim Tebow Opportunistically

There has been a lot of talk today about how Tim Tebow played last night, but I want to focus on Kyle Orton for a second.

In Orton's only series of the game, he led the Broncos to 1st and goal at the Cowboys' 1-yard line. Orton proceeded to throw the Broncos out of getting a TD; it ended in a field goal.

Here is my question:

If it was a REAL game, and the Broncos had 1st and goal at the 1 -- even in the 1st quarter -- isn't the best play, the play with the most chance of success, to pull Orton and insert Tebow?

And yet we probably won't see it. Maybe it's because John Fox doesn't want to upset his starting QB's seemingly delicate sensibilities. Maybe it's because it causes a lot of trouble if Tebow does something positive.

But more likely, it is because the notion of using a full-time 2-QB system -- where one QB comes in specifically for short-yardage plays, such as goal-line or 4th-and-short (or even 2nd- or 3rd-and-short) situations elsewhere on the field is anathema to NFL strategic orthodoxy.

We've argued for more than a year that if you're not going to use Tebow as a full-time QB, then the way to get the most out of him is to use him situationally -- not as a Wildcat gimmick but as a part of a base offense that revolves around two QBs.

John Fox doesn't seem to be the kind of coach who has the wherewithal to pull that off. (On the other hand, one of the reasons so many people wanted to see Tebow end up in New England is precisely for the innovative ways Bill Belichick would have used him, even with the best QB on the planet already on his roster.)

Tebow will start soon enough -- it might take half the season, but Tebow starting is as inevitable as the Broncos not even sniffing playoff contention.

In the meantime, there are plenty of valuable ways he could help right now -- if not as the "starting" QB, then an alternate QB who comes in when the tough yards are needed.

A Good (Non-) Start for Tim Tebow

Last night's preseason opener was a good one for Tim Tebow. The morning-after reviews are along the lines of "Hey... not bad!"

Ironically, the critics who spent the past week bashing him only ended up reducing expectations to a tepid bath -- easily cleared by relative standards.

Most fans nationally didn't watch the entire game. They will see Tebow's high completion rate. They will see that crazy scrambling play -- called back on several penalties, but no less entertaining than any play of the first NFL preseason weekend.

But how did he really play? Fine, actually. He got solid reviews from Yahoo's Doug Farrar.

The big point is that all the criticism turns this into a game of whether or not Tebow beats the (low) expectations, not whether he plays well in an absolute sense.

Expectations-wise, Tebow exceeded. That's enough to give sports pundits a week's worth of new discussion, but I'm betting Tebow is focusing on what he can do better.

(By the way, when Kyle Orton had three chances right near the goal line and couldn't secure a TD, that's where you can't believe that a head coach would be so concerned about Orton's feelings that he wouldn't replace him with "Tebow Smash" to bull the ball in. I'm not saying John Fox would need to do that in a preseason game -- but if this was the regular season? It is strategically sub-optimal to stubbornly stick with Orton at the goal line if Tebow can smash you in a TD far more efficiently.)

-- D.S.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ESPN's Rick Reilly Sacks Tim Tebow

"He'll be a wonderful cheerleader."

That's the kicker of Rick Reilly's column that buries Tim Tebow.

More from the column:

*"It's over. Orton won by the kind of margin Kim Jong Il wins elections. If it had been a pee wee basketball game, they'd have turned the scoreboard off."

*"The Heisman Trophy winner looks stiff under center. Most quarterbacks go snap-step-step-step-throw. Tebow goes snap-step-step-step-think-ponder-think-some-more-finally-decide-throw-three-feet-behind-the-receiver."

*[Starting Orton] "It's the only choice Denver could make. The entire locker room wants Orton. In the NFL, you have to start the guy the players think they can win behind. They see. They watch film. They know what's working. 'If they picked Tebow now," said a source within the team, "the coaching staff would totally lose the players.'"

*"This lockout crushed Tebow. He's such a hard worker that he would've been at Bronco headquarters every day in the offseason, learning coverages, working on his three-step drop, soaking up every word new coach John Fox uttered. But instead, he reported to camp in fantastic shape physically but still flabby technically."

*Reilly offers one concession: "If I were playing in a streetball game where the losing team has to move permanently to a time-share in Kabul, I'd take Tebow every time."

Yeesh. But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tim Tebow: No. 2 on Broncos Depth Chart

As expected. (And you might want to add... "For now.")

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tebow: Never Promised a Starting Job

The clarification had to be made because almost everyone in the media misinterpreted the "taken away from me" quote in the Paige column. That said, the hysteria around it yesterday was to be expected.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tim Tebow Can't...: Oh Really?

From today's column by Woody Paige in the Denver Post:

"I’m trying to insulate myself from what people in the media are saying, but I’ve seen some of it, and it hurts because it’s coming from people who haven’t seen me practice, haven’t seen me play, haven’t seen what I can do."

"...They don’t know what I’m capable of and what’s inside me. My family and my friends have been bothered by what’s gone on, and I tell them to pay no attention to it. I’m relying as always on my faith."

Tim Tebow might be frustrated. This week was marked by Kyle Orton presumably ascending to first-string, the absurd Merril Hoge tweets, the even-more-absurd LeBron tweets, and -- finally -- this column with Woody Paige where Tebow could vent some of that frustration.

But there was also that sense of determination that has been a hallmark of Tebow for his entire career. As we've talked about since before the draft, no player will work harder at getting better -- at being the best he can be -- than Tebow.

To question that -- in the first week of August, no less -- is to make the same mistake we've seen over and over, in the past five years: "Tim Tebow can't..." -- yeah, sure.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tim Tebow vs. Merril Hoge

It started with this tweet from ESPN analyst Merril Hoge: "Sitting watching tape off bronco offense from last year! Orton or Tebow? It's embarrassing to think the broncos could win with tebow!!"

Hoge would continue on a Twitter rant against Tebow, then go on-air to continue.

Last night, Tebow responded: "Hey Merril...... 'ppreciate that"

That is as close to sarcasm as you will get from Tebow. (It reminded me of my favorite Tebow moment ever: When he did the Gator Chomp in Nic Harris' face in the 2008 national title game.)

After that, things got even more interesting. LeBron James tweeted out his support of Tebow (and his disdain of Hoge).

Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL. He's a hard worker, a student of the game, a natural born leader and most of all a WINNER! It takes time and he'll be nice...

Listened to Merril Hoge today on SC and he was just blasting Tebow. The man hasn't even play a full season and its only his 2nd year in...

Guys get on that TV and act like they was all WORLD when they played. How bout encouraging him and wishing him the best instead of hating!!

A few things: It was already a big story, because anything involving Tim Tebow becomes a big story. LeBron weighing in makes it REALLY big -- it creates a confluence of two of the Top 5 most talked-about athletes of the last decade.

It might have petered out yesterday -- although we all know that anything Tebow gets attention, which is a big reason why Hoge said what he said and an even bigger reason why he will continue to rail on Tebow; it's good for his Q-rating.

But the combination of Tebow responding (at all, let alone with a bit of snark) and then LeBron jumping in will turn this into one of the big stories of the day and the rest of the preseason.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tim Tebow Will Not Be Starting (Yet)

Tim Tebow will not be starting the season as QB1 for the Broncos. It will be Kyle Orton, who the team tried to trade but ultimately didn't.

Orton might be the more polished QB right now, but it begs the question of why a rebuilding team wouldn't give reps to the QB they want starring for them 3-5 years from now.

Inevitably, we will see exactly what happened last year: The team will be effectively eliminated from the playoff chase early on, and Tebow will get his chances near the end of the season.

It will be enough to make folks wonder why Elway-Fox-Xanders didn't give Tebow his reps from the very start. You're either committed to rebuilding and a learning curve or not.

Oh, and Merrill Hoge? Pfft.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tim Tebow's New Nike Logo

Check out Tim Tebow's new Nike logo. There's a lot going on there: It evokes power and destruction with the imagery of a sword. You can also see a "T" (or "TT"), as well as an "XV" (reflecting his number and marketing company). When viewed as a whole, the religious iconography of a cross is also unmistakable. All in all, a very strong logo treatment, simultaneously simple and layered with visual metaphors. Click that link above to see/buy the T-shirt.