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: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:26 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

I knew this was going to happen - the media can't leave the Tim Tebow "story" alone. Now it's gone from "savior of the Broncos" to "will he start next year" as the focus. And they'll drag this story tob death, too. When the draft rolls around they'll yack about Tebow and whether or not the Broncos pick a QB, and then if the Broncos do take a QB... God save our sports television.

Since: Jun 20, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:24 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

Don't think there is much choice at this point.  If the mania doesn't die down by next season there will be riots.  They'll probably bring the billboards back over the summer.

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:53 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

Thanks wilson, for keeping the bashball rolling.   So how is it that someone helps raise a team from the dead, beat's the best defense in the NFL, is now ready for slaughter?  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.  And if you're going to credit the Denver defense for winning the second half of the season, you should blame the offensive line for last night!  Remember Tebow won a Heisman in 2007, 2nd runner up in 2008, led his team to two national championships?    For all you home QB's posting from your recliner, why don't you include your qualifications?  Like how many football games have you played in...let alone won?

Since: Mar 22, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 9:31 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

elway needs to dump him NOW. in the summer, a trade, just dump teblow now. if you have to give him it. his mannerisms of disgust, when they showed him in the booth, with every 3 for 20 passing performances of 3 quarters and 10 minutes said it all. 

he spoke out before the year having skepticism of teblow succeeding, repeated it during the year, then pretended he was on board when the other teams gave them wins, and finally the joke ending....i think he knows he goes down with him as does the coach if they continue to pretend hes going to lead this team to anything more than a few more games given to them. 

elway wants a qb like him. he will draft a qb and eventually the blow will be dumped. the thing is ....who is dumb enough to take him?  im guessing nobody. it will be very hard to dump him but in the end they will have to eat their losses that mcdouchebag created for them.   

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2012 8:50 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

nice guy, great public relations but not a good QB. Any team that runs the college option is just confiming they don't have a quality QB.

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 8:34 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

Overrated, overhyped, and under-skilled - once anyone looks past the Tebaloney that is what the truth is about Tim Tebow.  Tebow got tons of press during the Broncos unlikely 6 game winning streak while his deserving teammates got very little.  As a Broncos fan I watched every game, and some (indeed, the majority!) of Tebow's throws were incredibly poor all season long.  Tebow can heave a long ball at times and connect but he cannot read defenses nor complete most short throws which have become the staple of NFL offenses.  Elway, Fox, and the Bronco front office know this and they will bring in some serious competition for Tebow next season.  Tebow is under ccontract for one more year, so we'll see what that means going forth also.  Don't expect him to get a long term offer from the Broncos this off-season!

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2012 7:35 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

Lame, just lame.  Wow, you might have well put this kid out to pasture.  Great, just great.  Wow, he is different, believes different, plays different and with only... 16 career starts under his belt with no offseason, he is done.  Nice, sounds fair.  I do expect him to have a chance to win the Denver QB job and he will win it because he will (like that, haters).  You know, we do not know.  Anything could happen.  The only thing I know is that he took the least talented team in the NFL and got them to the elite 8.  Finally 8.  Most people would be, "good job, great season, you did well!"  Not the meduia, they destroy everything.  Everything is bad.  You have far too much power.  Most never played and have no idea of what or how.   GEt a life and get over yourself.  Because you need and want him to fail is your problem.  People like the kid, he is a leader, and do I dare say, he is a hero to many that need a hero in times that are tough.  Never has there been a subject that people are so divided on in sports.  It serious sucks for us the fans.  We want to see different things, or at least, that is what I would believe.  THink of this.  You want to see everyone plays like Kobe Bryant or Tom Brady?  You do, ok, think about it again.  Ok, you can only each vegetables.  No other food.  You still onboard?  No, we want and need different things.  Tebow is different, unique and that is awesome.  With more and more QBs in college like Tebow's style, they, the NFL, better be ready or it will be the same thing everyday and that sucks.  Ask Michael Vick!

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2012 4:53 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

The problem is when you build an offense around a QB rather then him learn the current offense, it tells the league he's a one trick pony and if you can figure out the offense, then you figure him out. Like once teams figured out the wildcat offense, the Dolphins started to lose because their QB wasn't good in any other type offense. And the reason Tebow did bad is because New England wouldn't let him play his style of offense. They made him more of a pocket passer which is not his strength. He's gonna have to learn how to pass out of the pocket if he wants to succeed in the NFL as a quarterback because now all teams are gonna play Tebow the way New England did.

Since: Mar 4, 2010
Posted on: January 15, 2012 4:39 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

"Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?"  After tonight's poor performance, I DON'T THINK SO!
So based off one performance, Which mind you was in the 2nd round of the playoffs against a 1 seed, you're gonna disown him? By this logic, you must have been praising him and annointing him the next franchise qb after his performance against the steelers?

After his performance on the season, And by performance, i dont mean stats. by performance, i mean he took the second worst team in the NFL last year by record, who were already 1-4, to the god damn playoffs, Then beat a team (steelers) they all said he had no chance to beat. then he gets outmatched against an elite patriots team and thats the end of Tebow. According to your logic Brees should be run out of town in new orleans for his playoff losses this year and last year. Because apparently WINNING in the regular season has no meaning to you.

He cannot complete passes in the NFL, that was evident against one of the worst defenses tonight.
Yet it was evident against the best defense in the NFL that he could throw the ball? Funny how that one works right?

The elongated motion will not be fixed!  He cannot make the accurate throw, and why waste the money on him.  
because he took the team with the 2nd pick in the draft, the 1-4 Crap broncos to the playoffs. and won a playoff game. Thats why you 'waste the money on him', if by wasting money you mean playing him.

The Broncos are so inept that not even Andrew Luck would fare well with that team.
Yeah the broncos are so inept! thats why they made the playoffs and even won a playoff game they had no business winning. All with a quarterback who is allegedly "the worst in the league". How does that make the broncos inept? It seems kyle orton couldnt fare well with this team either but with the same team, Tebow could. WEIRD HUH!?!?!

Everyone wants to run Tebow out of town for losing a game where he was a two touchdown dog. on the road, in his second season. This is his second season, and his third offense in two seasons. And he has won. He wins, hes a god damn winner. Understand that. Numbers dont mean anything when you pull out the wins. And tebow won this season. dont care what anyone says this season was a success for the broncos and tebow. If tebow can improve even a FRACTION in his throwing game due to actually having an offseason, and even more an offseason as a starter. The practice will help tremendously. And if it doesnt, THEN you can look for another option. Not when he took this allegedly "crap" team and took them to the playoffs, winning a game they had no chance in hell to.

If anyone has a legitimate reason as to why Tebow should not be the quarterback for 2012 after his performance this season I would love to hear it. And "Tebow sucks he cant throw" does not count.

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:59 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

imsure elway is dissapointed. but is was not tebows falut outthere. that offensive line was awful. most of the tome when tebow got the ball, there was a patriot player standing thre beside him. it was somebody's job to blovk some of those,guys. elwy needs to have a serious talk with oline and dline coaches. it was really pathetic. of course when the patriots are on their game like they were tonight, it is hard for any team to stop them. i wonder how much having mcego on the pats team giving them plays mattered. denver has some serios flaws, that need attending to.

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