Tag:John Elway
Posted on: September 13, 2011 1:15 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 6:44 pm

Broncos fans waste little time calling for Tebow

That didn't take long: fans needed just one game to fire up the "TEBOW!" chants. (Getty Images/US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

You can make a strong argument that Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton deserved a mention in this week's Coach Killers. We suspect he will find his way there at some point in the near future, but for now we figured there's no way that one performance would be enough to get new head coach John Fox fired. (Right?)

Of course, that didn't stop fans from chanting "TEBOW! TEBOW!" during Monday night's game against the Raiders, nor did it keep the media from asking Fox about if he considered bringing Tebow in to relieve Orton, who finished 24 of 46 for 304 yards, with a touchdown, and interception and a huge fumble on a Garo Yepremian pump fake. 

Fox ignored the question about Tebow. But the fans want what the fans want, and right now, one week into the NFL season, it's the second-(or third, we're not sure) string quarterback.

The Denver Post's Mike Klis writes that, "The booing of Orton started early in the fourth quarter, shortly after a 1-yard run by Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell gave the Raiders a touchdown that put them in firm control against a team still trying to recover from the debacle that was the Josh McDaniels era.

"The chants for Tebow by a frustrated crowd were first heard with 6 minutes remaining in the game, even as Orton was marching the Broncos toward the end zone in an effort to rally his teammates from a 10-point deficit."

Of course, Orton could've helped his cause by playing better. He wasn't awful, but he wasn't Elway -- or Tebow -- and that's the problem.

Klis continued:"The Tebow Thing, however, is here to stay. There's no controlling the circus now. Before halftime, angry emailers began consistently punching send with unrelenting criticism of Orton. 'OMG!' declared a man named Mo from Palmdale, Calif., in an electronic message to The Post. 'Orton is the worst QB in the league!'"

This skewed sense of quarterback reality is what happens when you get to enjoy 16 years of John Elway, including two Super Bowl championships. Brian Griese and Jake Plummer are quite familiar with what Orton's going through. And while none of them are franchise quarterbacks, they're not JaMarcus Russell, either.

We get the whole "the backup QB is the most popular guy on the team" platitude, we're just not sure how Tebow has earned the honor. Yes, he is the backup, but we don't even know if he beat out Quinn during the preseason. This is the same Quinn who flopped in Cleveland before they shipped him to Denver for Peyton Hillis.

If it's any consolation, Broncos fans (and we're guessing it's not), Orton isn't happy about that fumble. “I just feel sick about the ball slipping out of my hands like that,” he said. “It’s just one of those deals that’s sickening to have happen to you. It never really happened to me before.”

We're almost surprised Orton didn't say, "Hey, they love me in Miami." Which, after the way Chad Henee played Monday, may no longer be true, either.

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Posted on: September 12, 2011 9:37 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 11:52 pm

Tom Brady's INT-free streak snapped at 358

Posted by Will Brinson

There's a reason why Tom Brady was the MVP in 2010 -- he closed out the season on a white-hot streak that saw him avoid throwing an interception from October 17 against the Ravens until the end of the season. That streak, obviously, carried over into 2011 ... but it didn't last long as a deflected pass ended Brady's streak at 358 when the Dolphins intercepted him.

On the Patriots first drive of the second half in Miami, Brady went to throw a screen on the left side to Julian Edelman. The pass got deflected and Jared Odrick grabbed it out of the air and streaked -- well, as best a big man can anyway -- to the end zone, only to be stopped by Deion Branch just short of a defensive touchdown.

Brady's streak is remarkable in that it spanned many, many months, but also because it marked an incredible run by the Patriots as a whole -- they didn't turn the ball over a single time in the final seven games of the 2010 season.

Here's some good news, though: Brady's interception-free streak might have been shattered on Monday, but he also crossed some pretty solid milestones as well.

Brady became the 18th player in NFL history to throw for 35,000 yards on Monday night, and with his 35th career 300-yard passing night, he now has the 11th-most 300-plus games in NFL history. John Elway (36 games) and Drew Bledsoe (37) should see themselves leapfrogged soon.

The Patriots franchise quarterback also extended a touchdown streak, having thrown two scores in 10 consecutive games as of Monday night.

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Posted on: August 26, 2011 1:45 pm

So Tim Tebow really does have a future in Denver?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Tim Tebow has hit a rough patch. After an offseason in which it seemed he would ascend to the starting job, he's plummeted down the Broncos' depth chart and currently finds himself behind Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, and, impossibly, maybe even Adam Weber.

ESPN analyst Merril Hoge has been scathing in his criticism, and earlier in the week, CBS analyst Boomer Esiason spoke frankly about Tebow's prospects as an NFL quarterback. "He can't play. He can't throw," Esiason said, according to USAToday.com. "I'm not here to insult him. The reality is he was a great college football player, maybe the greatest college football player of his time. But he's not an NFL quarterback right now. Just because he's God-fearing, and a great person off the field, and was a winner with the team that had the best athletes in college football, doesn't mean his game is going to translate to the NFL."

An unofficial Broncos PR campaign on Tebow's behalf followed, and talk of the 2010 first-round pick getting cut or traded has since subsided.

Earlier this month, Broncos Executive VP of Football Operations John Elway told ESPN, "[Tebow's] a great young man who is really working hard. But he didn't get an offseason to work on [playing from the pocket]. He didn't get much of that in college. And it's a completely different thing than the shotgun. Plus, he's only had the one season. But he's an amazing football player. I'd never give up on Tim Tebow."

At the time it sounded like a pretty crappy consolation prize for Tebow, who weeks before figured to open the season under center. But there's a very real chance that 2012 could provide Tebow with an opportunity to win quarterback job.

The nuts and bolts: Tebow is the only Broncos' quarterback under contract beyond 2011. In fact, he just cashed a $6 million bonus check from the organization so it's unlikely he'll be anywhere but Denver for the foreseeable future. Also helping his case for the starting gig, as explained by the Denver Post's Jeff Legwold:

"Failing to convince Orton to redo his current deal was one of the reasons a trade with the Dolphins fell through. Quinn is in the last year of the contract he signed as a rookie with Cleveland, and with his improved play he is itching for a chance to be a starter.

"Orton and Quinn are relatively young, with a chance to go into the open market in 2012. They would need pretty compelling reasons to pass up that potential financial windfall, which means the Broncos would likely have to dangle more-than-market value to them before that. That doesn't seem likely given the team's controlled approach in free agency. … The Broncos appear to be positioning themselves to let him learn this season and see what they can do with him in an offseason that doesn't include a lockout."

This means that our Tebow Tracker wasn't in vain, and more generally, the Broncos have every intention of bringing him along slowly and giving him an opportunity to be Denver's franchise quarterback. It's just not happening this year, which is for the best. Orton is clearly the better quarterback, and Tebow doesn't appear ready for full-time duty. If Philip Rivers can sit on the bench for two years, so can Tim.

And who knows, maybe by then his critics will have come around on the idea.

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Posted on: August 24, 2011 11:37 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 11:40 pm

Tim Tebow talk sparks Broncos PR campaign

Posted by Will Brinson

In case the rock that was squatting on you just feel asleep and you rolled out from under it, there's been a lot of speculation this offseason about the future of Tim Tebow within the Broncos organization.

On Tuesday, a report emerged that Tebow had fallen to not just the third, but fourth-best quarterback in Denver's organization. Asked specifically about the report on Wednesday, head coach John Fox didn't sound so pleased.

"First of all, I would like to say that nobody in this building that is in the decision-making process -- coach, official, or I don’t know, maybe they heard it from the cook ... I’m not sure, but we hold Tim in high regard," Fox said Wednesday, regarding the report from Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports. "I think he’s got a bright future in this game. He’s playing maybe the hardest position I know in the NFL there is to play, and maybe in all of sports. He’s progressing fine."

So that's good. But Mike Silver's not a guy off the street who randomly grabs team employees and uses them as sources, particularly high-up in a feature piece about Tebow's struggles. The dude has chops. But that opinion might not be shared amongst the members of Denver's front office.

"I don’t think, if you read it correctly, that it said anybody in the organization," Fox said when asked about the nature of Silver's source. "It just said a knowledgeable football person -- that could have been a wide range.

Can Tebow make it as an NFL QB?

Things got much more awkward than Fox's jokes, though. (And by "jokes" I don't mean that he's joking on Silver, just that he's making light of the situation.)

Jim Saccomano, VP of Public Relations for the Broncos, cut loose on a Twitter tirade about the current state of media in today's world.

"All media, all types and levels, desperate for headlines that will move product ... great pressure for headlines, and sometimes the tabloid mentality overtakes objectivity, at expense of some great journalists," Saccomano tweeted Wednesday night. "[A] recent story in NYTimes says 24 of 25 top dailies have experienced record decline in circulation -- Wall Street [Journal] the one exception.

"A serious concern for teams is granting access to outlets that provide incentives to writers based on page clicks. That is a problem."

Well, for starters, no one's questioning that the newspaper industry is in big trouble. But Silver isn't exactly a "newspaper journalist" these days, and I'm not sure that working for Yahoo has him sweating the number of clicks he gets on his stories.

But he wasn't exactly pumped about Saccomano's tweets which, one has to assume, related to Silver's story and the resulting (negative?) publicity for the Broncos.

"I remember the days when, if a respected [public relations] man had something to say to me, he'd pick up the phone instead of taking to the twittersphere," Silver tweeted Wednesday.

It's a different world indeed.

You don't have to look any further than the coverage that Tebow gets. Is it weird that a backup quarterback who was drafted in the late first round gets this much attention? Yeah, it's weird.

But Tebow ranked fifth in terms of jerseys sold in the NFL in 2010; the downside of having your backup quarterback sell millions of jerseys is that lots of people are concerned with his future and his status with the team.

Along with the new-world media comes the possibility of having a PR person tweet at you instead of hitting the landline up. It's the same reason I can get DirecTV service and rebuttals of my reports via Twitter. And the same reason John Elway announces the Broncos moves on social media.

Really, the only way to succinctly sum up the situation is by (datedly) quoting Franck Eggelhoffer: "Welcome to the 90s, Mr. Banks."

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 3:47 pm

Tim Tebow the *fourth* best QB in Denver now?

Posted by Will Brinson

My poor colleague Ryan Wilson -- determined to see whether or not Tim Tebow could take over the top spot on the Broncos depth chart at quarterback, he fired up the "Tebow Tracker" for all of Denver's preseason games. It's turned out to be an exercise in futility, as Tebow quickly lost out on the starting job to Kyle Orton.

That's not the full extent of the bad news for Tebow, either. John Fox called the Florida product a "work in progress" and it seems as if he's getting beat out for the second-string spot by Brady Quinn. (You probably knew that, but read the sentence again anyway.)

But wait -- there's more! According to Yahoo Sports Mike Silver, Tebow might not even be the third best quarterback in Denver right now.

"If everything was totally equal, and this were a competition based only on performance at this camp, Tebow would probably be the fourth-string guy," a highly knowledgable member of the Broncos organization told Silver on Monday. "Kyle is far and away the best, and Tebow’s way behind Quinn, too.

"And I’m telling you, Adam Weber is flat-out better right now."
Can Tebow make it as an NFL QB?

Adam Weber, for those that don't know, is the former quarterback of the Minnesota Golden Gophers who was signed by Denver as an undrafted free agent once the lockout ended. He is also pictured above, right.

He's the all-time leader for touchdowns passes in Golden Gopher football history and he passed for more than 2,500 yards in each of his four seasons with Minnesota. He compiled 72 touchdowns over that time to 51 interceptions.

On the other hand, Weber did not win the Heisman Trophy, nor did he win a BCS Championship. And he was not reached for in the first round of the NFL Draft just two years ago.

That's precisely why things are not "totally equal" -- Tebow cost the Broncos too much for them to relegate him to the practice squad, even if Fox feels like the most controversial quarterback in the NFL these days can't become a legitimate NFL quarterback.

Somewhere, though, Merrill Hoge is smiling.

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 5:16 pm

Merril Hoge still unimpressed with Tim Tebow

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Two weeks ago, ESPN analyst Merril Hoge took to Twitter to elucidate all the reasons that Tim Tebow was in no shape, form or fashion an NFL quarterback. Hoge's string of tweets ranged from belligerent to unhinged, and while his delivery lacked diplomacy and nuance, the message was pretty much spot on: Tebow isn't better than Broncos incumbent Kyle Orton -- at least not right now -- and Orton gives Denver the best chance to win in 2011.

Hoge followed his Twitter tirade with appearances on ESPN to defend his position, and Tebow was left to answer the same questions that have plagued him since the moment he left the University of Florida: is he an NFL QB? Should he play TE or H-back or even LB? 

After a stellar college career that included Heisman Trophies and national titles, Tebow has had a rough few weeks. This summer it seemed like the organization was set to trade Orton and install Tebow as the starter, but those plans were scrapped early in training camp.

Even after Tebow's preseason performance against the Cowboys (he was 6 of 7 for 91 yards and a TD), head coach John Fox called him "a work in progress."

Hoge has had a week to evaluate Tebow's efforts in Dallas, and much like his insistence that Vince Young would never be a legit NFL quarterback, Hoge is sticking to his guns on Tebow, too.

“You’ve got to look at a couple flaws that Tim Tebow had at Florida and still has in the National Football League that I don’t believe ever get better,” Hoge said, according to PFT. “First of all, his delivery is such an elongated motion that you have to have a complete, clear pocket for him to be successful down the field. If you don’t have that, you’re going to struggle.”

But what about the 43-yard Tebow-to-Matt Willis connection? It was as good a throw as you're going to see in the NFL, right, Merril?

Not so much, it turns out.

“Yes, he completes it, but that’s a perfect setting,” Hoge said. “In the National Football League, almost 50 percent of all throws are under duress. So you’re not going to have that every time.”

Hoge also reiterates that Tebow's long throwing motion is so ingrained at this point that it will be impossible to alter.

“That will never change — that will always be there,” Hoge said. “If they start Tim Tebow, players are not stupid. That coaching staff will have no respect from the players.”

Can Tebow make it as an NFL QB?

So, yes, Tebow remains a lightning rod for criticism, most notably from Hoge (which is saying something).

CBSSports.com's Clark Judge was at Broncos training camp this week and saw Tebow on the field working on his mechanics an hour after practice had ended. His instructor: John Elway.

"We kind of did everything in that period," Tebow told Judge. "Every type of drop. But more than anything, it was working on footwork and having the same footwork on every single drop. If you have the footwork, you have the same base. And when you have the same base every time, you can have the same throw every time."

While Tebow has heard Hoge's assessment of his abilities, he's not taking them to heart.

"I believe I can play at this level," he said. "I just have to go out there and show it and get consistently better. Every single day I try to get better and work as hard as I can on improving, and not worry about everything else, like what people are saying or what's happening."

Which, admittedly, must be hard to do. If Tebow is looking for a good laugh -- and evidence that Hoge doesn't always know what he's talking about -- he'll enjoy this clip from the 2008 NFL Draft. Hoge tells us that Brian Brohm, the Packers' second-round pick that year, would be better than Aaron Rodgers.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:01 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 6:25 pm

John Fox on Tim Tebow: 'A work in progress'

Posted by Will Brinson

The quarterback stats from Thursday night's tilt in Dallas between the Cowboys and Broncos could lead you to believe that Tim Tebow is working his way up the depth chart and into the veteran-favoring heart of John Fox.

Not so fast my friend -- Fox quickly dismissed any notion that Kyle Orton wasn't running the show in Denver by calling Tebow a "work in progress."

"Quarterbacking-wise, I thought Kyle was sharp and I thought Tim is a work in progress," Fox said, per the Denver Post. "[Tebow] made some things happen. He's learning, and I thought Brady [Quinn] stepped in and did a decent job, scored some points to take the lead."

As Ryan and I note in our AFC West podcast preview, when you're being compared to unfavorably to Brady Quinn, well, things aren't going as well as the stats might indicate.

And as I've said over and over again, this is John Fox team. He's not exactly inclined to start younger quarterbacks, because he prefers not to see ridiculous mistakes that put his defense in a bad position.

It's highly unlikely that Tebow starts the season (dependent on an Orton injury, really) and it's even less likely that he sees meaningful action during the season as long as the Broncos are in contention, regardless of how many six-for-seven, 90-yard games he puts up during the preseason.

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Posted on: August 10, 2011 12:11 pm

More proof that Tebow won't be Broncos' starter

Posted by Ryan Wilson

A brief recap of the Broncos' 2010 season: They won four games. Josh McDaniels was fired after 13 weeks. First-round pick Tim Tebow started the final three games for an injured Kyle Orton, and went 1-2.

Then the lockout happened, followed by rampant speculation that Orton would be traded and Tebow would assume his rightful place under center (or, more likely, in the shotgun). And up until a week or so ago, that seemed to be the plan. Then the Dolphins couldn't pull the trigger on an Orton deal (making fans -- and for different reasons, Chad Henne -- very sad), the Broncos had a depth-chart change of heart, and now Orton is the starter in Denver and Tebow has been reduced to battling Brady Quinn for the No. 2 job.

Still, for as much as Dolphins fans wanted Orton, Broncos fans seem just as enamored with Tebow. "My last goal playing quarterback is to win over the fans," Orton said Monday, according to the Denver Post. (Note to Henne: this is what you say to the media, not some variation of, "Yeah, that really hurt my feelings.")

ESPN's Rick Reilly writes that Tebow isn't ready for the starting job.

"He's a great young man who is really working hard," Broncos Executive VP of Football Operations John Elway told Reilly. "But he didn't get an offseason to work on [playing from the pocket]. He didn't get much of that in college. And it's a completely different thing than the shotgun. Plus, he's only had the one season. But he's an amazing football player. I'd never give up on Tim Tebow."

Well, that's great news. Weeks after it appeared that it was Tebow's job to lose, not only did he lose it, but now Elway won't ever give up on him.

Either way, Orton's the Broncos' starter. The depth chart tells us as much, but according to Reilly there are other indications, too.

“The other way you know it’s over is that Orton is talking to Tebow again. He didn’t talk to him all last year. He told people it was because Tebow was a ‘rookie,’ but it was more than that. Tebow, ever gracious, kept talking with reporters every day. A lot of the players thought he should’ve stopped, in deference to the starter, Orton, who was getting scrums one-tenth the size.”

As PFT notes, the locker room is firmly behind Orton. Even though the fans appear to support Tebow.

"My first goal is to win over my teammates, to win over my coaches, and I think I'm well on my way to doing that," said Orton on Monday.

"I'll tell you this, just my nature, I am very much a people pleaser," Tebow said last week. "I like making people smile."

Apparently, those people don't include the Broncos' front office and coaching staff making out the depth chart. Or Merril Hoge.

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