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Published on 09/20/2011 at Tue Sep 20 12:04.
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Tim Tebow on the bench (Getty Images)

Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos looks on from the bench against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 12, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 23-20. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

What if I told you that Tim Tebow was destined to put up some pretty impressive numbers as starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos over the next two seasons?

What if I told you that, in his next 32 starts, Tim Tebow will throw for over 8,000 yards? In those 32 starts, he’ll boast at least 20 games with a passer rating above 88, and of those, at least nine will eclipse 100.  What if I told you that two different wide receivers will earn Pro Bowl berths under Tim Tebow in the next two years?

Sounds great, right? You’d be pretty happy if your quarterback performed that well, right?

I just described Kyle Orton‘s first two years in Denver.

The embattled Broncos signal caller now has 30 starts under his belt in Denver, two starts away from two full seasons. Injuries have kept him sidelined for thirteen quarters in Denver, so to reach my 32-game projection I’m including the 2009 Washington Redskins game that saw Chris Simms technically start (Orton played all but the first quarter), and I’m projecting that Orton throws for at least 46 yards next week (I have a wild imagination like that).

Kyle Orton is not the problem in Denver. Just about everything else has been.

But that and a losing record haven’t stopped people from chanting for his backup (again). Today, Florida Today columnist John A. Torres (from Florida, naturally) penned yet another “Start Tebow!” piece that has been making the rounds around the Broncos blogosphere. I can recite the all-too familiar arguments out loud before I read them on paper:

“Tim Tebow is a winner. He is a hard worker and the kind of guy everyone wants on their team. He is the big, strong bull of a quarterback who can rally teammates around him and bring an organization back to greatness. He’s the guy you want as your son-in-law.”

(Yes, that’s an actual quote from the article.)

Yet the column, alluring and well-worded as it is, is centered around arguments with glaring inherent flaws, and as always, I can’t believe I’m the only person who sees them.

Torres throws out the personal agendas of John Elway and John Fox as possible motivating factors for Tebow’s benching. Either they’re prejudiced against Tebow’s Christian faith (utterly preposterous), or they’re dead-set on distancing themselves from the mistakes of Josh McDaniels.

Naturally, Torres completely ignores the fact that Kyle Orton is only in Denver by McDaniels’ good graces in the first place, but let’s not mention that.

Then, of course, there’s the main argument to any “Start Tebow” discussion. A point I’ve heard echoed a thousand times by fans and sports radio talk show hosts and bloggers and columnists more prominent than Mr. Torres.

The main, focal-point argument starts like this: “The Broncos aren’t going to the playoffs, and they’re not going to the Super Bowl. Why not play Tebow to see what they have?”

The main, focal-point argument ends like this: “Tim Tebow is a winner who will not let his team fail. The Broncos should see what he can do. And they’ll win.”

(Look in Torres’ column. You’ll find I just paraphrased half of it).

Well, Mr. Crystal Ball, if the Broncos aren’t going to the playoffs, and if the Broncos are not going to the Super Bowl, then why not let anyone play quarterback? I’ll suit up in my Broncos blues right now and sling the ol’ pig skin to Josh Temple for four quarters in front of 70,000 fans. If we’re not going anywhere this season, who cares?

What difference would Tim Tebow being a “winner” make to a team already destined to lose?

And that’s the point. It’s not the conclusion (“Tebow is a winner”) that holds the flaw, it’s the supposition: the Broncos can’t win. Taking it a step further, that the Broncos can’t win with Kyle Orton.

Kyle Orton (Getty Images)

Quarterback Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos throws a 52-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker as Linebacker Rey Maualuga #58 of the Cincinnati Bengals gives chase during the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Broncos have every intention of winning as many games as they can in 2011, rebuilding be damned.

And right now, this week, the Broncos (and I) believe Kyle Orton gives them the best chance to do just that. It’s too early in this season to throw in the towel. They want to win, week in and week out, for the fans, but more importantly, for the players on that team. The veterans in that locker room do not want to work hard and fight through practice and tough it through games and risk injury for a team that’s mailed it in. Champ Bailey did not sign a contract extension in Denver to watch the Broncos admit defeat in Week 1 of this season. Can you imagine John Fox’s explanation?:

“Well boys, I know we said Kyle Orton gives us the best chance to win. But we’re going to go with Tim Tebow. Just because. We want to see what the kid has. For next year.”

John Fox says that, or even implies it, and he has lost every single man in that Denver Broncos locker room.

Kyle Orton is not perfect. Kyle Orton had a string of bad games dating back from last year. Not that he’s the only good quarterback to have a string of bad games, but that merits discussion. If that trend were to continue, and it cost the Broncos games, I’d be inclined to make a move.

But Orton isn’t the problem. The Broncos are not losing because of Kyle Orton.

Quarterback wins are the most overrated, overstated stat in professional football. How else can you explain Orton’s 21-12 winning record in Chicago compared to his 12-19 record in Denver? Orton is performing undoubtedly better with the Broncos than he did then. His stats the last two seasons blow his first four years in the league out of the water. The wins haven’t come. It’s not his fault.

I do not know if he or Tebow is the answer for next year. I think either of them might be. I also think it’s a strong possibility the Broncos add another player into the mix.

But I’m not talking about 2012. I’m talking about now. Week 3. 2011.

Who gives the Broncos the best chance to win games right now? In my opinion, and in the opinion of John Fox, that man is Kyle Orton.

And until Tebow outperforms Orton in practice (what a novel idea), or until Orton collapses down the stretch, Tim Tebow is right where he belongs: on the bench.

  • guest

    Denver fans are dumb

  • DBFan1980

    I think its amazing how many times I have herd Orton supporter rant that he puts up pro-bowl type numbers. If they are pro-bowl type numbers, than why has he never made the pro-bowl. Yes the whole team has issues, but unlike the Bears, Steelers, and Ravens, this team will never be lead by its Defense to a championship. Having Orton back there says to the world, we give up, but here are some good stats…Good luck with that guy. Not a huge Tebow supporter either, but I’m sure tired of everyone trying to deflect blame from Orton. Here is a stat you forgot to mention, Orton was sacked 70 times since he has been in Denver, more than 60% of those sacks were while the team was behind in the game. This guys buckles under pressure and even if the line is partially to blame, he is a dead duck in the pocket and needs a fortress just to make a play. I would rather have the kid in there rushing for 150 and throwing for 200 per game with only a few sacks. This is a big reason why fans are against Orton.

  • Starman

    Didn’t I read that Elway has mentored Tebow on occasion?

  • Kewe_Bottes

    That would be my point exactly, and let me quote you: “If you give Kyle protection, and a good running game, and some defense then you will win.”. The point here is, if you give Kyle a perfectly assembled team,chances are he will win, but he has showed he’s not a winner, nor he can handle pressure in critical moments. If you could assemble a second Orange Crush defense, get quality RB’s and a solid OL, then, and only then, we could see what Kyle has. In the meantime, and while this happens, put in Tebow, who at least can run whenever the pressure piles up inside the pocket.

  • Anonymous

    Run properly as in the other team does not show up?

  • Anonymous

    So during practice Tebow stands in the corner and scratches his balls?  Tebow had every opportunity in the off season to work on becoming a better QB.  He opted for underwear commercials.  It would appear that Tebow learned from his mistake by taking the initiative and working in at WR. 

  • Anonymous

    What exactly is unknown about Tebow?  You really have some stones, or take a lot of drugs, to use the phrase “thinking people”.  Thinking people have a pretty good idea that Orton won’t be back.  I would say the team and thinking people have moved on and contrary to your absurd claims the Broncos know exactly what they have in Tebow.  Furthermore, thinking people know that neither Fox nor Elway drafted Tebow and therefore have no obligation to do anything with him.

  • Kewe_Bottes

    THink so? I was glad when I learned Cutler had left Denver, but was immediately sorry when I heard he was traded for Orton. Look what Cutler did last year to the Bears in playoffs. I consider Cutler not being male enough to play football. Problem is that Orton isn’t any better than Cutler. Both QB’s collapse under pressure, Cutler by growing angry and doing stupid and even childish decisions, and Orton for collapsing even further and going lower than mediocre…

  • Anonymous

    That was a really dumb thing to say in an interview.

  • Anonymous

    I would give Quinn a shot before Tebow for 2 reasons.  Quinn put in the work in the off season and his contract is up, Tebow will be at the next training camp.

  • Wildjoe

    Orton is a loser, and every time he loses, here come all the Tebow-hating columnists giving volumes of excuses for him…Blah, blah, etc.
    Hey-go down to FLORIDA FIELD and look at that bronze plaque bolted into the bricks for all posterity to see.  It’s called “The Promise”.  It’s a post game interview when the Gators lost what appeared to be a season-destroying loss.  Tebow took all the blame upon himself, no excuses given.  No whining, no fingerpointing, and he “PROMISED” to personally drive himself AND the team to greatness for the rest of the season.  That year, they were NATIONAL CHAMPIONS.
    The anti-Tebow commentators and journalists give the impression they don’t want to have to be confined in a room with Tebow.  It’s almost like holding a cross up in the face of vampires.  They just want out of there!

  • http://broncotalk.net Monty

    I could write a column just as long about my thoughts on the Broncos quarterback in 2012. I think the highest probability is it’s Tebow. Then Luck/Barkley/whomever. Then Orton.

    Maybe during the bye week.

  • Humanwreckage

    Must be an Alabama fan.

  • The Mascot Army

    That’s not what he said, but nice try twisting Woody’s no notes, recalled, sensationalized, challenged quote into something way worse than was probably said.

  • The Mascot Army

    Gators fans (ie, people who don’t get their ncaa knowledge from yahoo headlines) know it was Adazzio, and not Tebow. It was a miracle they got there at all with that play calling. Stick to writing about things you know about, like…uh…American Idol.

  • The Mascot Army

    And how hasnt he beat out quinn (or orton)? The preseason says different, and the only thing that says tebow is third is the echo chamber that parrotted what they read in cherry picked articles.

  • The Mascot Army

    What if I were to tell you that orton defenders like to compare orton at his peak to a hypothetical 1st tebow season. What if I were to tell you that tebow scores more points per game as a rookie on a team he didn’t practice with the 1st team as the veteran starter?

  • The Mascot Army

    I am adopting this theory. It makes a lot of sense. I already adopted the Elway is blowing smoke up the fans’ asses about being a Tebow fan, but adding the Jaguars to the theory is genius. They drop Garard, and suck for Luck, and turn the whole franchise around by taking EFX to the bank in acquiring Tebow. They get at least what the chargers got from the giants in the rivers manning trade.
    You’re a genius, and Elway is a lying douchebag.
    Very exciting stuff.

  • The Mascot Army

    or the Dolphins.

  • Geno

    Over the past few seasons (2009-10) the Broncos were very poor on defense, they abondoned the Zone Running scheme they had so much previous success with, and yes – they also had an average QB in Orton that did not, still doesn’t, and never will perform well under pressure. 

    On the opening day of the 2009 Bears training camp Brian Urlacher was asked what he thought about the team’s chances that season.  He replied, “We finally have good Quarterback.”  Orton was gone, and Urlacher didn’t mince words.  I’m going with his opinion over those who foolishly trump up Orton simply because they don’t like Tebow.  Orton is a known quantity with an extremely hard ceiling on his talent. He’s immobile, and nobody gets quicker or faster with age.  Orton will be gone next season, and within 2 to 3 years he will be at home on Sundays watching while Tebow is playing QB, and winning games. 

  • Frank

    What Cutler did last year was take a legitimate injury. How fucking dense are you?

  • citrite

    Sounds like Orton should be playing for the Patriots…

  • denver2332

    Orton looks fantastic “on paper”. The bottom line is this. We all know the entire team needs some help. Denver fans have been missing their “franchise QB”. The hero of the game, the come back king. Tebow epitomizes the “franchise QB”. I don’t think it’s fair or how it can be done with any accuracy what so ever,  to question whether or not he is as “good as Orton”, we may never know. And again, Orton looks good on paper, but the bottom line is- he can’t make the critical plays. Can’t get it in the end zone. Orton is mediocre. And if he is the future of the Broncos ( which we all know he is not with all the talks of going after Luck) it’s going to be a long decade.

  • Anonymous

    He did not produce in practice or in preseason games.  Does that answer your question?  Unless you consider running around like you’re lost and missing receivers beating out your competitors.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll gladly give up what the Giants did to get Manning.  Eli has something Phyllis doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    How stupid are you?  Are you really going to say that the 3 games Tebow started as a rookie he never took one snap in practice with the rest of the starters?  Beyond stupid.

  • Anonymous

    Your point is what exactly?  That you can resort to Tebow’s college career as proof that he should be starting?  Using your trite logic Elway should have never been drafted because he obviously was not a winner in college.

  • Rayj7272

    I’m one of these fans that wants to see tebow start just to see if he fails what all these tebow fanatic bronco fans are goin to say about him then. Orton is a decent quarterback look at all the teams in the nfl and how many have a franchise qb. Not many. Orton doesn’t play defense and right now that’s were the work needs to be done

  • Rayj7272

    And the andrew luck thing is over. I’m a bronco fan in kansas city and they have andrew luck locked down

  • john

    Poor article.  To make an argument you most evaluate both sides.  The article was started with stats to make a point to support his argument.  However you failed to compare the stats to Tim’s.  Orton in 32 games has 20 games of a qb rating of 80 and 9 of 100.  That means 62% of the time he was 80 rated and 28% of the time he was 100.  Let’s compare them to Tim’s now, and remember Tim didn’t exactly get fluff opponents for his 3 starts….they included oakland and san diego, who destroyed orton in the same year.  Tim has a qb rating of over 100 in 33% of this games and a qb rating of over 80 in 66% of his games.  Orton is averaging some 250 yards per game, Tim is averaging 21 (and don’t forget McFail only let him pass 16 times)……then again he did run 8 times for a 9 yard per carry average and a TD.  I can throw real world stats out there too.  The real world shows Orton isn’t really all that and Tim is a heck of a lot better than the kid gets credit for.  If you want to write an article and make a points remember we aren’t all blind sheep.  And we’re not so simple that poor arguments can’t be revealed.  Did you miss that day in journalism class?  Or have you embraced the whole idea that people will blindly believe any crap that is put in print.

  • john

    Most people with that many years in the league would have a clue what to do with a ball thats wet…….and with the game on the line……get real.  Doesn’t sound like someone to smart to me.

  • john

    9 million to mediocre qb, and they might win 5…..way to overpaid for a guy that has done nothing for a whole career.

  • john

    statistically tim has done better in 80+ (66% vs Kyle’s 62%) and 100+ games (33% vs Kyle’s 28%)….its a poor argument, but I expect people to get trapped by the slight of hand trick that he started the article with.  Simple people get tricked easy.  Garbage time stats have been kyle’s bread and butter he has built a career off worthless stats.  We see the games.  He can’t get it done.  Broncos will be 4-12 maybe 5 – 11.  And if kyle has 4k yards people will still say its not his fault.  Open your eyes people.

  • john

    They won’t but I don’t think they want 9 million sitting on the bench.  Signing him for that much was a huge mistake.  Their only thought must have been to make him a trade target, which failed.

  • john

    And kyle is so bad…….no one wanted him………ROFL…..

  • john

    Kyle doesnt take chances that would hurt his stats.  Thats why you will very rarely see anything but high percentage passes.  The facts that his completion percentage isnt higher is a testimony to the fact that the balls he throws really arent that good…yeah defenses cant catch them but the recievers have a hard time also.  And in a short field or in the clutch…..wow.  The guys a basketcase.

  • http://broncotalk.net Monty

    Making any statistical conclusions about Tim Tebow after three games is just silly. Insufficient sample size. Did you miss that day in math class?

  • http://broncotalk.net Monty

    Also, my analysis was a rating over 88, not 80.

  • Wildjoe

    IN YOUR DREAMS

  • RBN

    I like how everyone points to his throwing motion and completion percentage as the baseline for Tebow’s capabilities…..I would like to submit the following for your review….

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/5448/career;_ylt=ArLAehPIOJIhE6iejxFu5bj.uLYF

    This quality from a media annointed god of football….Other than last year….his completion ratio, and td to turnover ratios and qb rating is not very appetizing…..and in some years simply pathetic….

    Tebow may not be a great arm…but he is a winner…and last time I check winning is the name of the game….just ask Marino

  • Rcsodak

    BS.  You Orton haters will ALWAYS say “it wasn’t his play, but that of X”.
    Who threw the ball to Marshall?
    When I see New England with big passing numbers, and Welker with 16 for 200+, I don’t see people saying “yeah, without him, Brady would suck!”
    There is NOTHING great about this offensive line.
    There is NOTHING great about the running game.
    There is NOTHING great about the defense.
    There is NOTHING great about ANYTHING with this team….

    …unless, of course, you’re a Teboner and everythign will be all fine once he’s playing.

    His slow play gets him sacked as many times as Orton.
    His passes aren’t accurate enough, to keep his wr’s from getting killed.
    (Orton throws a low ball, its because he sees the defender ready to lay wood!  But all you anti’s see is a low throw.   *eyes-wide-shut*

  • Rcsodak

    Typing comprehension.  Learn it!

    Not our fault you failed miserably at your point.

  • sping