Blog Entry

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:35 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 12:55 am
Tebow's season ends ingloriously in New England. (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

We joked last week, days after Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards (including an 80-yard pitch-and-catch to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime to beat the Steelers in the wild-card matchup), that the big losers coming out of that game were John Fox and John Elway. Because given the way Tebow threw the ball, there was no way either could go back on their earlier promise that he would be the team's starter in 2012.

New England throttles Denver
And while neither Fox nor Elway has explicitly said that they'd prefer a conventional quarterback running a convention offense, neither has come out and fully supported the guy Josh McDaniels selected in the first round of the 2010 draft, some seven months before he was fired.

Complicating matters, at least in terms of Tebow's tenuous hold of the starting gig: the option isn't quite the novelty of the wildcat, but it's also taken less time to crack. Whereas the wildcat required an offseason of film study before defenses were keen to what was going on, the read-option's run has been much briefer.

Denver decided to abandon their original playbook in favor of the offense that made Tebow a high school phenom and a Heisman Trophy winner. The results: a six-game winning streak to get the Broncos to 8-5. And then they ran into the Patriots before the Bills and Chiefs had seen enough film of the option to properly defend it. Denver scored 17 points in the final two weeks of the regular season and even the hardcore Tebow supporters were having doubts.

But then Pittsburgh happened; the Broncos' offense manhandled the NFL's top-rated defense and Tebow looked like a real live passing quarterback. His performance solidified his spot on the depth chart heading into 2012, especially since a) Denver had a playoff win for the first time since 2005, and b) Tebow would have the entire offseason to work with coaches on everything from reading defense to improving his footwork and accuracy.

Tom Brady threw six touchdowns passes, five in the first half, and put the New England Patriots into the AFC championship game after roughing up Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos 45-10. CBS Sports' Jim Nantz and Phil Simms have the recap.

Then Tebow reverted to his old form, throwing late and wildly in a lopsided loss in the divisional playoffs against the Patriots. By the time it was over, Tebow was 9 for 26 and suffered five sacks. And while he wasn't solely responsible for another sputtering offensive performance, he is the quarterback; if the running game isn't working, he has to make something happen through the air … except that if the Broncos aren't facing the Steelers, that's a problematic proposition.

Which leads us to this: will Elway and Fox reconsider their quarterback situation this offseason? We're guessing they have to. In fact, we've previously speculated that the next few months will go something like this: Tebow will be promised "a chance to win the job," the front office will sign a veteran quarterback to compete for the starting gig, and come training camp, there's a decent chance that said veteran will be given every opportunity to start.

We've seen this movie before -- last August. Tebow thought he'd enter 2011 as the starter -- the Broncos seemed to confirm as much -- right up until training camp when Kyle Orton was again atop the depth chart. Tebow didn't help himself with abysmal preseason efforts, but that's not his forte. He's at his best when he can improvise, something that doesn't translate well during meaningless preseason snaps against third- and fourth-teamers.

So, who are some early QB candidates? Here's the list of soon-to-be free agents:

* Matt Flynn. We've called him the next Kevin Kolb, which is wholly unfair because Flynn has actually played well as a backup. We can't imagine the Broncos go after him although if they do it's a clear indication that Tebow Time was a one-year deal.

* Alex Smith. Dude's benefitted from Jim Harbaugh's presence and the 49ers head coach says he wants Smith back in San Francisco. Smith will probably get some interest in free agency should he hit the market but his best chance at success is if he stays put.

* Jason Campbell. This seems reasonable. So much so that Campbell could return to Oakland and supplant Carson Palmer as the starter there.

* Kyle Orton. Stranger things have not happened.

* Drew Brees. If he doesn't get a new deal he's getting franchised, but we wonder if Tebow's most ardent supporters would concede that Brees would be a better choice.

Other names (courtesy of

Chris Redman (ATL)

Derek Anderson (CAR)

Shaun Hill (DET)

Drew Stanton (DET)

Brady Quinn (DEN)

Luke McCown (JAC)

Chad Henne (MIA)

Sage Rosenfels (MIA)

David Carr (NYG)

Mark Brunell (NYJ)

Kevin O'Connell (NYJ)

Kyle Boller (OAK)

Vince Young (PHI)

Charlie Batch (PIT)

Dennis Dixon (PIT)

Byron Leftwich (PIT)

Charlie Whitehurst (SEA)

A.J. Feeley (STL)

Josh Johnson (TB)

Rex Grossman (WAS)

The Broncos' offseason begins now and how things unfold in the next eight months are anyone's guess. But whatever fate awaits Tebow, it's worth remembering that he helped lead this team to the division title and a playoff win. That doesn't guarantee him the starting job, but despite his unconventional style, he's done something right.

"I was really proud with where (Tebow) started and where he brought this team," Fox said after the Patriots game. "You know, we're a work in progress -- we've got a lot of work to do, that hasn't changed for some time. And as I mentioned earlier, the two matchups we had against the New England Patriots it's evident we have work to do."

Fox was then asked if he'd bring back the read-option in 2012. 

"I think every year has its own personality," he said. "We're officially starting our offseason now and we'll do whatever it takes to get better."

And we believe Fox when he says this.

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Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 6:09 pm

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

 What have you done for me “TODAY”? <br /><br />Tim Tebow took a team that everyone had given up to go any place this season. Tim started out the season as the third string quarterback. The only reason he played was that management decided they wanted to get rid of him finally. They had decided the season was lost so let us throw Tebow into the remaining games. We will watch him fail. After he fall flat on his face, we would then tell the fans, see we told you he was not a NFL quarterback.<br /><br />A strange thing happened on the way to getting rid of Tebow, the team started winning under his direction. The things really took off when the team got close to playoff eligibility. To the amazement of everyone, the team went to the playoffs.<br /><br />They played a team with a rich playoff history, considered royalty in the NFL, and beat them. The Bronco quarterback threw for over 300 yards, while beating one of the best defensive units in the NFL.<br /><br />Now this same team meets another team of royalty with a good defense as well as best coach in the entire league. Not only have that but the team also had one of the elite quarterbacks of today.<br /><br />They were thumped. What did you expect two miracles in a row. At sometime the you would run out of miracles. <br /><br />I thought football was a team sport. What happened to the defense, the special teams, the offensive line, tackling? Did anyone stop Brady, the defense was the worse in the world after giving up a record setting points the first half.<br /><br />I think the starting quarterback is Tebow’s. You can not lose a starting job based on one game. Do you think Brees is going into the New Orleans training camp fighting for his job? <br /><br />The man got the team to the playoffs. No one expected this team to even sniff the middle of the pack in the west.<br /><br />“ONE MAN’S OPINION<br /><br /><br />

Since: Aug 10, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 2:23 pm

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

So CBS sports now defines a real qb as someone who can complete 10 passes in a game?  Nice!

Since: May 6, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:36 pm

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

"Denver decided to abandon their original playbook in favor of the offense that made Tebow a high school phenom and a Heisman Trophy winner. he results: a six-game winning streak to get the  to 8-5." 

There is a major problem with this statement and every other statement about how "Tebow is a winner", take a look back at the season after Tebow became the starter did the Bronco's offense suddenly take off? No, did they score more often than before? No, the Bronco's went on a 6 game win streak because they played several mediocre teams and their defense started clicking. The difference between Orton and Tebow? Orton completed 10% more passes and has no fan base backing him, there is a large fan base that is head over heels in love with Tebow simply because he is a good guy with a clean record who is vocal about his faith. The switch to Tebow as starter did not improve the Bronco's offense or defense it only made hundreds of fans believe in their team, it did not make the Bronco's start winning it was more of a publicity move that paid big dividends. 

In 5 of the 8 wins while Tebow was the starter the Bronco's opponents scored 15 points or less, in 9 of 13 games while Tebow was the starter the Bronco's themselves scored 18 points or less. Orton started 5 games and only once in those 5 games did the Bronco's score less than 20 points, yet in every single game that Orton was starting the opponents scored 17 points or more. Tebow does not deserve the credit for the Bronco's success, even he know's it as he continually says that it was the Teams wins not his own. 

The Bronco's defense deserves all the credit for the Bronco's wins this season and they deserve 95% of the blame for their loss to the Patriots. Tebow was only slightly below his average on the night at 35% completion percentage and 136 yards. Tebow is not a long term solution at QB and he is not a significant threat passing. The greatest attribute that Tebow has is that he tries really hard every game and believes in himself and his team. He is certainly a great person just not by any means a great QB, he is lackluster at best at QB.

Since: Jan 15, 2012
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:15 pm

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

In the midst of a lackluster performance by Tebow, has anyone considered the very poor protection he recieved by his offensive line against one of the strongest defensive lines Tebow has ever faced in his NFL experience?

Since: Feb 4, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:02 pm

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in 12

"Can you imagine if Tebow can improve SLIGHTLY in the passing game."...........NO!

  Tebows passing skills are light years behind other young QB's. (see Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, TJ Yates, etc.) Tebow has many of the leagues lowest QB rated games this year. I will give him credit for a wonderful game against the Steelers, but in this passing league he has miles, and miles to go before being a consistant QB in the NFL.

Since: Mar 4, 2010
Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:48 pm

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

The comparison was w/l . how many of those qb's had his completion % or so many games started with less than 150 yds passing ? ZERO !!!!

are you not aware tebow is not your prototypical passing qb, have we not been over this? he is succeeding because he is a duel threat quarterback. You can go back on that list and try to find me a quarterback who can run like tebow or has the rushing numbers tebow does. u wont find one.

And your comparing tebow to the 3 best qbs in the NFL. You realize that right? There wins were comparable as evident by the stat, but if you wanna compare their passing yards, yes obviously Tebow has less, what kind of idiot moron would think otherwise? Comparing Tebow (2nd yr) to Brady, Rodgers, and Manning? Please man why are you comparing him with the three best qbs in the nfl. Not fair dude, especially since hes in his second year with NO offseason.

Can you imagine if Tebow can improve SLIGHTLY in his passing game with a full offseason? NFL should be worried.

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:30 pm

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

A comparison flashed during the game, showing W-L records for Rodgers, Brees, Brady, and several other "elite" QB's during their rookie seasons...Tebow's was better than most.

The comparison was w/l . how many of those qb's had his completion % or so many games started with less than 150 yds passing ? ZERO !!!!

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:05 pm

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

Matt Ryan has been awful in the playoffs, with an 0-3 record in his career. He has had some tremendously talented teams, yet he hasn't won a single playoff game. This year he was 24/41 for 199 yards against a 9-7 team that didn't even have much of a lead until the close of the first half. Why isn't there a story about his future as the Falcons starter? Why aren't you writing about the Falcons bringing in a veteran QB who will be given every opportunity to win the starting job?

Tim Tebow is far from perfect, but he has at least shown an ability to win in the clutch and he has shown a potential for improvement. When he has bad games, he looks exactly like a second-year QB who didn't get to do anything during the offseason. Teams don't throw away winning quarterbacks after they go 1-1 in the playoffs against the 2 best AFC franchises of the past decade.

Since: Oct 15, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:00 pm

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

I live in Denver,and I am neither a Bronco fan nor a Tebow supporter,but to say that the performance last night wasn't entirely his fault is a huge understatement.Pittsburgh should be ashamed for losing to this team,and Bronco fans actually should be pretty happy today if they look at the big picture.You have a team that started 1-4 and was going nowhere.You have a team that has very little talent on it as a whole thanks to the poor drafting overall of McDaniels and Shanahan.And yet you made the playoffs,won a playoff game for the first time in 6 or 7 years,and you garnered national attention on a huge scale.On top of that,you have John Elway running things now,and you would think that bodes well for the future.They simply need to continue to draft better,but as far as Tebow goes,he deserves a chance to be the guy next year simply because he played a big part in their overachievement to begin with.

Since: Jun 20, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:37 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

I know, Denver can have him but I don't want to hear about him every 5 minutes

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