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The debate surrounding Tim Tebow is one that virtually every NFL fan is all too familiar with. Even those who have come to Tebow’s defense have acknowledged most of the flaws in his game, ranging from his shoddy accuracy to his obscene tendency to run with the ball, rather than being a traditional NFL quarterback.
Bashing Tebow is obviously nothing new or original, but there is some additional insight that should be noted. Most of this insight can be found when one goes back to the time when the Denver Broncos originally decided to name Tebow as their starter. At the time, the Broncos were 2-5 and found themselves at the cellar of the AFC West.
Many may also remember that naming Tebow as the starting quarterback happened to coincide with the Broncos trading wide receiver, Brandon Lloyd, to the St. Louis Rams. Although the Broncos deny it, the trade was presumably made due to the fact that Lloyd had previously been somewhat outspoken about his lack of confidence in Tebow.
It is reasonable to assume that such a trade would improve team chemistry, but the fact that the player they traded happened to lead the league in receiving yards last season might lead one to deduce that the Broncos are especially confident in Tebow as their franchise quarterback.
Going back to the status of the Broncos’ season upon making Tebow the starter, the Broncos found themselves at 2-5 and still a viable candidate in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. With this in mind, the only rationale the Broncos’ front office could possibly have had behind trading a great receiver in order to start a bad quarterback is that they knew that both managerial decisions would increase their chances of finishing the season with the worst record in the NFL, allowing them to snag the first overall pick in the 2012 draft.
This may sound like a bit of a stretch, but it very well could be the only feasible explanation. It is safe to assume that the Broncos were and are aware that Tebow makes a poor NFL quarterback, considering they had all of training camp and the preseason, along with the two games he started last season, to catch on to his talent.
In spite of this, the Broncos elected to sit Tebow in favor of Kyle Orton, and no team is going to settle for mediocrity over their first round pick, unless they truly have no confidence in that first round pick’s potential. Obviously, at this point, with the Broncos in the hunt for a playoff spot at 6-5, the chances of obtaining the first overall pick in the 2012 draft have diminished for the Broncos.
However, at the time of the decisions to start Tebow and trade Lloyd, the possibility of finishing with the NFL’s worst record was well within range for the Broncos. Being able to possibly correct their mistake in the 2010 draft by giving themselves an opportunity to draft the highly touted Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck in 2012 makes this whole process a subtle act of brilliance.
It is not surprising that the Broncos continue to start Tebow, even after their chances of obtaining the first round pick have been replaced by chances of making the playoffs. It would be very difficult to justify trading Lloyd if they were to inexplicably bench him in the middle of a playoff race.
The fact that Tebow has managed to put together a few game-winning drives has only made it easier to justify starting him. What needs to be clear that Tebow has been given far too much credit for his clutch performances. One need not forget that Tebow still played poorly for three quarters prior to each of his dramatic comebacks.
While these comebacks have admittedly been impressive, they were still contingent on the much improved Broncos defense keeping the game close enough for Tebow to exercise his supposed ability to win against all odds. Unfortunately for Tebow, playing poorly for fifty minutes will not always allow enough time for the quarterback to carry his team to come from behind win.
Regardless of what the true intentions were behind starting Tebow, it should be clear that his style of play cannot adapt well to the NFL. When looking at things from a fundamental standpoint, anyone who watches Tebow closely enough can see that he makes several off-target throws throughout each game.
The only saving grace that he has is the zone read option that the Broncos have installed into their offense, which Tebow utilized to great success at the University of Florida. Tebow seems to have been running the ball very well whenever the option is called, but this should not be confused for any hint of potential to adapt his style of play to the NFL.
While the zone read has been a fairly decent change up to opposing defenses so far, the wildcat appeared unstoppable by comparison when the Dolphins started the fad in 2008. If NFL defenses can grow accustomed to stopping the wildcat, there is no doubt that they can do the same with the zone read.
It will interesting, not only to see what the future holds for Tebow as a Denver Bronco, but also what the future holds for Tebow’s status in the NFL as a whole.
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