Friday, August 5, 2011

Denver, We Have A Problem!

The city of Denver has a problem.  It’s not the fact that city is a mile high or the team sucks.  It’s not the new head coach, John Fox or the old-new face of the franchise, John Elway.  It’s not he heat wave that has spared no corner of the country but it is the heat that has been brought on the team by the previous administration.
When wunderkind, and I use the term loosely, Josh McDaniels was brought on as head coach two years ago, Owner Pat Bowlen made the mistake in giving a 14 year-old boy autonomy in making all the personnel moves.  For some inexplicable reason, some of which had to do with the fact that he had coached under Bill Belichick, this allowed Bowlen to give McDaniels carte blanche over a once great franchise that had in essence become the Dallas Cowboys.
McDaniels then proceeded to remove players that would pose threats, whether they be real or fake, such as Jay Cutler, Peyton Hillis and Brandon Marshall and replaced them with players of less than stellar athleticism and tamable demeanors.  He traded for Kyle Orton, drafted Demaryius Thomas and Tim Tebow in the first round and then proceeded to go 8-8 on the season after talking a lot of trash with no substantial reason to give the fans to back his rhetoric up.  He was finally fired near the end of 2010 season leaving the next two coaches to deal with the mess he created.
And that mess was Tim Tebow.
Many pundits, fans and critics have declared Tebow as the best player college football has ever seen.  He’s won two National Championships; he’s honest, handsome, religious and is what many consider to be all that’s right with college athletes and possibly pro athletes if he makes it.  He was a fan favorite while at Florida and is a role model many want their kids to emulate.  He is also polarizing in a way not seen by an athlete in recent memory.
A few days ago, ESPN analyst Merril Hoge said that after watching hours of film on Tebow, he was no more suited to start quarterback than he was when he came out of Florida.  He went on to say his throwing motion is the same as last year, which is terrible, and his accuracy is just as bad.  He basically said what a lot of people not on television have been saying and was crucified for it.  Athletes like LeBron James and Rich Gannon, to name a few, came to Tebow’s rescue helping make the mole hill that was honest analysis into a mountain of “hater-ade” that Hoge was allegedly showering the all wise one with.  But he wasn’t.
Hoge, like a lot of us have realized what Tebow cannot: he is not a quarterback.  He wasn’t a quarterback in college.  He was a tight end that occasionally threw bubble screens to Percy Harvin who then turned 2-yard comebacks into 65-yard touchdown runs.  He was a guy that threw 40+ yard bombs to Luis Murphy against the likes of defensively challenged Vanderbilt teams.  He rallied his team during halftime when needed and yes he was a leader, but linebackers are leaders.  Running backs and wide receivers are leaders and sometimes they either have to switch positions or don’t make the league altogether because of their lack of skills or because their skills do not translate to the pro game. 
And that’s where I see Tebow.  His accomplishments, while there many, doesn’t mean they will translate to the NFL.  For some reason, ass kissers like John Gruden go out of their way to patronize Tebow but will scrutinize the hell out of Cam Newton and Ryan Mallette because they don’t have the social pedigree Tebow has which in turn makes them afraid to be critical for fear of backlash.  They look at his character and forget the NFL is a bottom line business.  It is great to sell jerseys, but as an owner would you rather sell jerseys or playoff tickets?  Would you like to have the most popular player or a winning football team?   
This is the dilemma that the Broncos have been placed in under McDaniels watch.  While other general managers across the league thought of Tebow as a second day pick or an even a bigger version of Eric Crouch, McDaniels made the command decision to draft a guy no one was even thinking of taking that high.  For some reason, McDaniels’ stones were enlarged because he worked for Belichick.  He forgot he was in a system and is didn’t matter who was plugged in, the Patriots were going to succeed.  And now he has created a disastrous situation in Denver.
In Kyle Orton, you have a guy you can win with.  In Tebow you have a guy that is going to get the rushing offense stymied and put a lot of receivers on injured reserve due to his erratic passing.  Fans have been clamoring for the unproven and unimproved Tebow over the cool, calm and collective Orton hoping that by some miracle and/or act of sheer will via Gator magic, he will lead the Broncos to a winning record and possibly a playoff berth.  But I say it is wishful thinking at best and a nightmare situation waiting to come to a head.
I have nothing against Tebow, but what annoys me is the legions of new fans that apparently didn’t watch him in college to see what kind of an athlete he is.  They didn’t see that he was a read and react QB whose first reaction usually was to read where he could run.  They didn’t see how inaccurate he was or how many sub 100-yard games he threw.  There are so many “fans” of Tebow now that have no idea what he really is.  They see a guy that is pure and that gives them someone to root for because they think the NFL has gone gangster and isn’t worth watching.  Some people want Tebow to succeed for political reasons, others want him for religious reasons while other have agendas I care not to describe.  But the fact remains they are missing the point that the guy is not a franchise quarterback and I don’t think he ever will be.   
Yes he is a great person; he mentors kids, volunteers plenty of time to worthy causes and is devoutly religious, but should that make him worth taking the risk of tanking your franchise because you want to will him to succeed?  Is it worth setting your club back to please a few fickle fans that will be Tebow’s crutch no matter what he does or most likely doesn’t do and will always be ready to blame management when the experiment fails?  Hell no! 
What he needs is a reality check and an honest conversation with himself, John Fox and John Elway and ask them what he can do for the club.  Otherwise the only thing he will become for the Broncos is a detriment.
If he is truly a team player, he could and should be able to understand that.    

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