|Is Tebow bringing the option back to NFL offenses or is he a gimmick? (Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
As if Norv Turner, Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers didn't have enough to worry about -- what with being 4-6, tied for last in the AFC West, and playing some incredibly awful football -- now there's this: local scribe Nick Canepa isn't yet a believer in Tim Tebow, who comes to San Diego Sunday in a pretty important division matchup.
Most of the skeptics and critics have abandoned their anti-Tebow talking points because, well, Tebow does find a way to win games. No, it's not entirely his doing, and yes, he has looked absolutely dreadful for long stretches. But he's also 4-1 after Kyle Orton "led" the Broncos to a 1-4 start. Tebow, despite virtually no support from his coaches or the front office early in the season is now the team's unquestioned starter (though that could change, apparently). Orton, meanwhile, is the newest member of the Chiefs.
But Canepa isn't yet sold on Tebow's ability to will his team to victories. The details:
"So, what has Tebow done to deserve all this, one way or the other? Absolutely nothing. In his own unorthodox way, he has won three straight games for the Broncos, who meet the Chargers here Sunday. Off the field, he hasn’t been arrested, busted for dope or tweeted nasty things to his opposition. …Comparing the read-option to the wildcat has been a popular meme in recent weeks and there's something to it. The Dolphins began the 2008 season 0-2, busted out the wildcat in Week 3 against the Patriots, and blew them out of the water, 38-13. Miami finished the regular season 11-5 and made the playoffs. The following year, after teams around the league had an offseason to figure out the wildcat, it was obsolete.
In the case of Tim, people are thinking with their glands. Tebowmania is not going to last. A quarterback who can run but can’t throw the ball across a pantry isn’t going to continue winning in the NFL.
They’re going to figure him out. They always do. Remember the wildcat? It lasted about as long as the poodle skirt. Sooner or later, they’re going to get to him. Steve Young at least was a threat with his arm, as are Michael Vick and Cam Newton. A fearless quarterback (which Tebow is) who runs the option in the NFL is fair game. I can’t see him having a long shelf life.
The Dolphins, who overestimated its shelf life, used a 2009 second-round pick on QB/wildcat specialist Pat White, who ended up retiring from football a year later. Miami went 7-9 in 2009 and 2010, and are currently 3-8.
Based on Broncos executive John Elway's recent comments, not only is the read-option a short-term solution to a problem he inherited from the unspectacular Josh McDaniels era, it's one that probably won't last behind this season. Which means that the rest of the NFL has six weeks or so to figure out a way to slow it down.
The Jets did it for 55 minutes, but Tebow was able to drive 95 yards for the decisive score. The bigger story from that game: New York's inept offense, which included a national coming out part for Broncos rookie linebacker Von Miller, and more questions about Mark Sanchez's abilities as an NFL quarterback.
So, no, Tebow isn't the long-term answer in Denver. But he's not supposed to be. The thing is, nobody thought he was the short-term answer, either. As it stands, he's winning 80 percent of his starts. And if the Chargers play Sunday like they have in the previous five games, Tebow's winning percentage will rise to 83.
After a win over the Jets last week, the Denver Broncos hope to keep their streak alive as they take on the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz preview this game. Watch the game at 4:15 PM ET on CBS.
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