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: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:20 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

I'm surprised the Broncos went the whole game with Tim Tebow, let alone him being the starter in 2012!

Since: Jun 10, 2010
Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:39 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

Campbell in 2012 and .

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:31 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

Wilson's article is very confusing. He says that Jason Campbell could be a candidate the Broncos sign, but he is not a free agent and there is no way he is going to supplant Palmer. Campbell's inept play is the reason Hue Jackson (who is a big supporter of Campbell) traded for Palmer.

But Wilson did get it right....Alex Smith should stay with the 49ers because Jim Harbaugh is a competent offensive coach who can help Smith get to the next level. Speaking of Tim Tebow to the 49ers so that we can have both of Urban Meyer's former college standout proteges under one system. Under Harbaugh's tutelage I see the latest incarnation of the Joe Montana-Steve Young platoon. If only the 49ers could do something about their weak defense.....(I'm being sarcastic....I know the 49ers have one of the top 4 defenses in the NFL).

Alex Smith showed that with proper coachng a QB can do well. Josh McDaniels is known more for videotaping opposing players than actually developing and mentoring Tom Brady.  Did he call the plays with the Patiots....I doubt it. As many Pats fans will attest Brady...calls his own plays when Coach Bill does not.

Trade Tebow to a team whose head coach is offensive-minded. Otherwise Tebow will get lost in the shuffle. John Fox couldn't develop a QB when he coached the Panthers and there are no indications that he has gained any insight on how to get the best out of his starting qb.

The Broncos are so inept that not even Andrew Luck would fare well with that team. John Elway might have been a great football athlete but history shows over and over again that the best general managers are the ones tht never ever played the game....or at the very least not be very successful.


Since: Oct 11, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:24 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

I certainly hope not!!!!  The QB is the one you want to build your team around.  Would any quality receiver want to play with a QB that is 3 of 10 for 28 yards in a half of football.  The receivers incentives are based on receptions, and do you think a Bronco receiver will make it to Pro Bowl with Tebow at QB.  What about running back. It may seem good for them but the quality running backs know they will get killed running the option and that's why the "WildCat" offense is used as a trick play and not a primary offense.  Also they will have to carry the load to make up for the QB's lack of skills.  Running this offense is killing the Bronco's offense.  What happens if he gets hurt, this means the backup won't be ready to fill in this jury-rigged offense.

This is not college.  You are paying too much money to have a broken part in the machine.  Replace the part.  Tell the pro-Tebow supporters to shut up and that you will be trading him... And when no offers come in, then tell them you're gonna convert him to either a backup tight-end or backup full back. 

The elongated motion will not be fixed!  He cannot make the accurate throw, and why waste the money on him.  

Since: Dec 11, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:19 am

Is Tebow guaranteed to be Broncos starter in '12?

Unless the NFL schedules him to play opposite Ike' The Failure' Taylor every week, there is no way this guys completes 30% of his passes or win 4 games a year.  He cannot complete passes in the NFL, that was evident against one of the worst defenses tonight.

Since: Nov 13, 2009
Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:46 pm

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!

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