The Tale of Tim Tebow (Why Waiting May Do Him Good)
Columnist Woody Paige had an excellent article in the Denver Post about Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow on Friday. Paige has a certain way with words that cannot always be seen during his appearances on ESPN’s Around the Horn. He is almost poetic in his writing and he truly paints a picture when he tells a story. But enough about the writer, let’s focus on his subject.
Tim Tebow, the darling of Denver, and perhaps the most polarizing quarterback in the NFL is the man in question. His jersey sales were through the roof before he played a single snap in Denver. His name has to be mentioned among the greatest college quarterbacks of all-time. On the other side of the coin, he has only started 3 NFL games, and his passing stats were marginal (right at 50 percent completion rate). Furthermore his throwing motion isn’t exactly a thing of beauty and some question (especially Merril Hoge) whether his skills will translate in the NFL.
Merril Hoge was the final straw, fueling the fire of the pages written by Paige. On ESPN and on Twitter, Hoge was extremely critical of Tebow, going as far as to say: “It’s embarrassing to think the Broncos could ever win with Tebow.” Paige’s article wasn’t focused on Hoge however; it was more about Tebow, who has always said everything right and kept a good attitude when dealing with the media, finally expressing some frustration.
“My dream, since I was a young boy, of being a starting quarterback in the NFL seemed to be coming true,” Tebow said. “Then I felt like it was grabbed back away.”
Perhaps Tebow may come off as a little bit whiny in the quote, but that doesn’t mean what he said wasn’t true. It was heavily reported that Kyle Orton was on the verge of being traded to the Miami Dolphins and then the deal fell through. The media saturated the lines of communication with reports and I’m sure that Tebow must have caught wind of the rumor.
It made sense. Orton was benched at the end of the season in favor of the south-pawed slinger from the University of Florida. Also the Broncos are a team trying to pick up the pieces from the McDaniels disaster, so why not give the guy a shot at starting this year? Orton wasn’t going to accept a back up role so why not trade him and eliminate the controversy?
Even though the deal with the Dolphins made sense, it was never made into reality. The fish signed Matt Moore and the Broncos were still left with their 3-headed monster of a quarterback controversy (that’s right, I didn’t forget about Brady Quinn). For Tebow, this had to hurt. And people shouldn’t take issue with this. While Tebow has said that his quotes were taken out of context; I belive that Paige just caught the almost 24 year-old at an opportune time: when he was vulnerable. Perhaps he shouldn’t have said it, but can anyone blame the young qb for feeling it? And personally I think it is the absolute best thing for Tebow’s development.
If you had to use one word to describe Tim Tebow, winner might spring to mind. He was the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy, he has won national championships, set records and is a best selling author. Oh and he is not even old enough to rent a car. He has always had a slew of critics, but until he got to the NFL, he could just drown them out by using his championship rings to plug his ears.
That doesn’t work in the big leagues; especially not in Denver, where the shadow of Elway still looms and has proven to massive for more than a few quarterbacks to ever make it out from under. They say a man doesn’t truly know what kind of man he is until he’s down. What’s important is how quickly you get back up. In many eyes Tebow is down. He is in danger to falling to 3rd on the Broncos depth chart. His first couple days in camp did not look good. But I believe that Tebow, more than most has the work ethic and the desire to do what ever it takes to get back up.
Everyone loses their attitude from time to time. Tebow had a momentary spurt of negativity, now he is back to his positive self, saying he will use people’s criticism as motivation and that he welcomes competition. His play in training camp has been improving exponentially. Tebow has one of the most impressive work ethics I have ever seen, he is fitter than he was last season (which is saying something). I think the lockout hurt Tim more than most, as he still had yet to find a comfort level in the NFL. While it might have stalled his development and caused him to come to camp a little rusty, I believe that it is behind him. If there is a way to get better, he will find it.
A lot of the criticism of Tebow has to do with his throwing motion, inexperience playing under center, etc. But I have news for you: those things can be taught. His throwing motion is significantly better than it was in college and as far as playing under center goes: both he and the starting center last year were rookies. Also Tebow had been getting most of the reps last year with the 2nd team offense. Walton and Tebow will grow together and the chemistry will develop in time. John Fox has a track record of developing young talent and should prove a positive influence on Tebow.
More importantly, Tebow has a lot of qualities that you can’t teach. A whatever-it-takes mentality. An unshakable desire to win. Leadership qualities. The ability to inspire teammates. And finally that killer instinct. Tebow is a gamer, who thrives under pressure. This was evidenced during his nearly successful comeback against the San Diego Chargers last year. Tebow is at his best when it matters most, when games are on the line.
Being a gamer is a quality that John Elway had, it is unfortunately some thing that Kyle Orton does not. Orton is a proficient quarterback, hes good in practice and he is probably not going to cost you many games. Unfortunately he is not going to put the team on his back and win you many either. Orton is a game-manager not a gamer and game-managers dont win you Super Bowls.
That being said, I believe that Orton will be the starter for the Monday night game against the Raiders. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Being on the bench after tasting the field at the end of last season will just make the hunger inside Tebow grow. And when Orton fails (which I think he will), Tebow will be chomping at the bit, unwilling to waste another opertunity. He should have to fight for it, but make no question; Tebow time is coming. While he may start the season on the bench, I belive he will finish the season as a starting quarterback.
Tebow is far from a finished product. He has a lot to work on, which he will. He has a lot to learn, which he will. He has all the qualities you can’t teach, so teach him the ones you can and there might be sunny days ahead for Denver.
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