Before training camp had started for the Broncos in Dove Valley, it was expected that quarterback Kyle Orton would be traded and second year quarterback Tim Tebow would be left to lead the team. Nearly two weeks into camp, it looks like Orton is here to stay.
Denver Head Coach John Fox is letting all three quarterbacks (Orton, Tebow and Quinn) compete in camp before officially naming a starter. Orton however is far ahead of his competition. That shouldn't be surprising however, because Orton is entering his third year in Denver's offense and has far more experience overall.
Many analysts have taken this opportunity to throw Tebow under the bus, with some going as far as saying he'll never make it in the NFL. That's a bit irrational, so let's look at the facts.
- Kyle Orton is more experienced and knows the offense.
If Tebow is not ready, why not play Orton? Last season fans were disappointed with Orton's performance, despite the fact that he was getting little help from the defense and no help from the runnning game. Orton actually didn't have a bad year statistically, and though he did struggle under pressure, it's not like Tebow doesn't. Over the past few practices Tebow has thrown several passes into the dirt when pressured to throw early.
- Starting Orton does not mean the team has given up on Tebow.
There is a long list of successful quarterbacks (San Diego's Phillip Rivers and Green Bay's Aaron Rogers among them) that were not named the starter until a few years into their respective careers. Needless to say, those quarterbacks turned out just fine. Orton may be on the verge of a career year, with an improved defense and rushing attack; it will be interesting to see how Orton fares. If Orton does struggle, the team will have Tebow ready to go.
- Analyzing a quarterback based off his first three starts is not logical.
It's way to soon to give up on Tebow; he's got a lot to learn and has had little playing time. In fact, if you look at the stats of quarterbacks Phillip Rivers (who also has a non-traditional throwing motion), Brett Favre and Peyton Manning from their first three starts, Tebow ranks right up there with them.
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None of the above mentioned quarterbacks were overly impressive through their first three games, and certainly not far ahead, if at all, of Tebow. It should also be noted that Rivers was entering his third year in the league and all of the QB's took over before week five -- early in the season opposed to Tebow getting three garbage time games that counted for nothing.
Also of note is the fact that Favre was known for making poor decisions and multitudes of interceptions. Yet, Favre will be remembered as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game and walk into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The reason being: he won games and was exciting to watch.
Early on, Favre was making mistakes and throwing interceptions. At the end of his career, Favre was still making mistakes and throwing interceptions. But he won games, he was a winner. The Broncos are hopeful Tebow is a 'winner' for them, with maybe not quite so many interceptions.
That's why they aren't rushing him into the starting role before he is ready -- the team wants to win. Denver's brass thinks Kyle Orton gives the team the best chance to win, at the moment. If they're wrong, there's always Tebow.
- Even if Orton is named the starter going into the season, Tebow will get his chance.
There is still a possibility that the Broncos will trade Orton, which would mean Tebow Time in Denver. Even if the team does not trade Orton, there is always the possibility that he could get hurt or have a dismal season, which would also give Tebow his opportunity.
And if Orton finishes out the year as the team's starter, Tebow's time will still come. The Chargers sat Rivers until his third season before starting him, but that sure didn't slow down his development.
Tebow's time is coming. When EFX think he's ready, he'll play. In the meantime, let's see what Orton can do while not writing off Tebow just yet.