Posted by Ryan Wilson
That's right, we're tracking Tebow's performance throughout the preseason because, well, like a slow-motion train wreck we can't look away. And who knows, maybe this experiment doesn't derail and it has a happy ending. Wait, what's that? You don't care about Tebow? Then what are you doing here?
It took four preseason games, but Tim Tebow finally resembled the player Josh McDaniels thought he might be when he selected him in the first round of the 2010 draft. By now, Tebow's recent travails are familiar to everybody, even those with just a passing interest in football. And while he's been out of the running for the Broncos' No. 1 job for weeks now, the backup gigs have yet to be decided by head coach John Fox.
If we're working from the "what have you done for me lately?" premise, Tebow wins in a landslide. He completed 7 of 11 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals, while starter Brady Quinn managed to go 4 of 12 for 26 yards, including an interception. Denver lost to Arizona, 26-7.
|Tracking Tebow: A Retrospective|
But as the Denver Post's Mike Klis notes, Quinn outpaced Tebow by a wide margin in the first two preseason games (proof here and here).
Tebow was asked about his place on the depth chart after the Cards game. "I don't know," he said, via Klis. "I've never gone through something like this before, so I'm not really sure." And Fox, as he's said before, "more than likely not name a 2 or 3, because I believe it's a competitive issue."
Yes, because the obfuscation would be too much for opponents. No way they could prepare for both Quinn and Tebow. Either way, Klis makes a good point: "Long term, it would make sense to push Tebow along because both Orton and Quinn are free agents after this season. Tebow will make $6.7 million this year (he has already collected $6.28 million in salary advance), and will then have three more years left on his contract."
For now, all we can do is analyze Tebow's last start. That's right, it's the final edition of the Tebow Tracker, where we chart every one of his preseason snaps, the result, and what it all means for him and the Broncos in 2011. This installment is the most laudatory yet. That's right, people, the power of positive thinking at work. Alright, let's get to it...
Play by Play
|Preseason, Week 4: Arizona Cardinals|
|1st series, 9:55 left in 3rd qtr.||1st & 10, DEN 6||Tebow handoff to J.Johnson to DEN 8 for 2 yards.||(Note: you can see the entire play-by-play log here.)|
|2nd & 8, DEN 8||Tebow scrambles left end pushed ob at DEN 16 for 8 yards.||Play-action, steps up into pocket, takes a hit but remains on his feet. Reminscent of his Florida days.|
|1st & 10, DEN 16||Tebow handoff to J.Johnson up the middle to DEN 20 for 4 yards.|
|2nd & 6, DEN 20||Tebow handoff to J.Johnson up the middle to DEN 21 for 1 yard.|
|3rd & 5, DEN 21||(From the shotgun) Tebow sacked at DEN 19 for -2 yards.
||Doesn't show patience in the pocket, steps up and is dropped. The lack of awareness is recurring theme throughout the preseason.|
|4th & 7, DEN 19||PUNT|
|2nd series, 4:35 left in 3rd qtr.||1st & 10, DEN 20||Tebow handoff to B.Minor up the middle to DEN 28 for 8 yards.|
|2nd & 8, DEN 28||Tebow handoff to Minor left tackle to DEN 32 for 4 yards.|
|1st & 10, DEN 32||Tebow pass incomplete short middle to B.Minor.||Play-action, stands tall in the pocket, gets the ball off just as blindside pressure arrives. May have affected the pass.|
|2nd & 10, DEN 32||Tebow handoff to B.Minor up the middle to DEN 35 for 3 yards.|
|3rd & 7, DEN 35||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass short middle to D.Anderson to ARZ 48 for 17 yards.||Three-step drop, flushed left, throws across his body to middle of the field, finds Anderson who gets absolutely annihilated by a Denver defender.|
|1st & 10, ARZ 48||Tebow handoff to B.Minor up the middle to ARZ 47 for 1 yard.|
|2nd & 9, ARZ 47||Tebow pass incomplete deep left to G.Orton.||Play-action, stands tall in the pocket, throws a rope (that came out of his hands looking like a kickoff instead of a spiral) to Orton that should've been caught.|
|3rd & 9, ARZ 47||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass short right to D.Gronkowski to ARZ 42 for 5 yards.||Three-step drop, he scrambles around the pocket before finding Gronkowski, who made a nice one-handed catch to save a possible pick-6.|
|4th & 4, ARZ 42||FIELD GOAL NO GOOD|
|3rd series, 9:41 left in 4th qtr.||1st & 10, DEN 32||B.Minor up the middle to DEN 40 for 8 yards (B.Nnabuife). PENALTY on DEN-D.Rosario, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 33.
|1st & 19, DEN 23||Tebow sacked at DEN 16 for -7 yards.||Play-action that never had a chance; LT was beat off the snap and Tebow eventually dropped.|
|2nd & 26, DEN 16||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass incomplete short right to D.Goodwin.||Tebow fumbles the snap and is lucky to avoid a turnover deep in his own end.|
|3rd & 26, DEN 16||(From the shotgun) B.Minor up the middle to DEN 31 for 15 yards|
|4th & 11, DEN 31||PUNT|
|4th series, 4:33 left in 4th qtr.||1st & 10, DEN 6||Tebow pass short left to D.Goodwin to DEN 19 for 13 yards.||Three-step drop, ball is out quickly, and 6-7 yards after the catch on a nice move by Goodwin.|
|1st & 10, DEN 19||Tebow pass deep right to D.Goodwin pushed OB at DEN 45 for 26 yards.||Great protection. Tebow stands in the pocket for at least five seconds before finding Goodwin.|
|1st & 10, DEN 45||Tebow pass short middle to J.Johnson to DEN 45 for no gai||Screen pass.|
|2nd & 10, DEN 45||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass incomplete short middle to J.Johnson.||Has plenty of time and good protection. Somehow misses a wide open Johnson running a crossing pattern 10 yards downfield.|
|3rd & 10, DEN 45||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass short right to E.Riley pushed ob at ARZ 43 for 12 yards.||Nice play -- stands tall in the pocket, steps into the throw and gets the first down.|
|1st & 10, ARZ 43||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass deep right to E.Riley for 43 yards, TOUCHDOWN.||Almost a replay of the previous play. Three-step drop, hangs in the pocket, and hits Riley in stride.|
Quotes, Video Awesomeness
"What we all have to remember is that when Josh McDaniels traded up to get him in the first round, that was a minority opinion in a big way in NFL talent evaluation circles. Not to say there weren't other people who were high in Tim Tebow, but to go out and get him in the first round … Josh McDaniels was sort of out on an island there. However, it's not shocking to me that a new regime would not embrace him with nearly the same enthusiasm. So, I went to Denver expecting to write about Tebow, but I was just struck with how much things had changed." - Yahoo.com's Michael Silver
"I just worry about what I can contro. I've gone out there every day with a great attitude, great effort and great work ethic. If I do that, I know I'll improve every day, and I'm not worried about what everybody else is saying." - Tim Tebow
"I just got done looking at the film (of the Cardinals game). And I've moved on." - Brady Quinn
Hey, it's like he never left college! We admit to giving Tebow a hard time tha last six weeks or so, but let's be honest: the guy looked nothing like an NFL quarterback for most of that time. And while we're happy that he showed well in the preseason finale, Kyle Orton deserves to be the starter. After 2011, when Orton and Quinn are no longer under contract? That's a different story. But this much is certain: there's no need to rush Tebow on the field now.
Feel free to relive all the preseason magic that was "Tracking Tebow." You know you want to.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.