Thursday, September 15, 2011

"The Case for Tebow" Should Be Renamed "The Case Against Orton"

What do we know about Tim Tebow? He's a former Heisman trophy winner, National Champion, and 2010 1st round pick. He's also to many--not built like a quarterback, not accurate enough, and can never be a NFL quarterback.

Through all of this--he's arguably the most beloved Denver Broncos quarterback since John Elway- and probably the most polarizing player in the entire league. Pretty impressive for a borderline "4th string" quarterback.

Still, Denver management and John Fox continue to pour the "Haterade" on Tebow. Why? Because Kyle Orton is not worth a 3rd round pick.

You see, this all began prior to the lockout. At the end of the 2010 season, Kyle Orton was benched in favor of Tim Tebow. Despite a pretty good statistical season (281 ypg, 20 td, 9int, 87.5 passer rating), Denver was getting tired of Orton's losing ways (more on this later) and decided to give Tim Tebow a shot (you know, because he was their 1st round pick).

Tebow did fine for a rookie, going 1-2, including an electrifying 24-23 comeback victory over Houston, in which he threw for over 300 yards. Sure, his completion percentage was not great (50%), but people overlook that when you're an intangibles quarterback. Well, at least they do when you're Michael Vick (career 55% completion percentage) ::cough cough:: Double standard.

So when Denver decided the Tebow era was on, they tried to ship Kyle Orton via trade. Their potential trade partner? The Miami Dolphins. However, Denver and Miami couldn't decide on Orton's value, and ultimately, Miami decided Orton wasn't worth giving up a 3rd round pick. They instead signed back-up Matt Moore and they would keep ridiculed Chad Henne. Translation- Orton is not better than a 3rd rounder (i.e. a Colt McCoy-type), Matt Moore, or Chad Henne. Not the most impressive group.

So what's Denver to do? They were essentially stuck with Orton, even though Denver fans were set on Tebow getting the quarterback gig. That's why Denver figured the only way they could still play Orton is if they throw Tebow under the bus.

It started out cute- an open competition between Tebow and Orton. Then Tebow was fighting for the second string job with Brady Quinn. Then it got to 3rd string controversy with unknown Adam Weber.

Let's stop for a second: Brady Quinn? Really? The same Brady Quinn who was thrown away by Cleveland, and has a 3-9 career record (66.8 passer rating). Quinn was so bad when given a chance--in 9 of his 12 starts, he's had a passer rating lower than 75, and 50% of his starts, lower than 50. That's pretty awful.

Essentially Denver wanted no hint of Tebow controversy that they proclaimed "Not only Orton is better, but so is Quinn and some guy you never heard of."

What Denver management does is their own prerogative. However, it just doesn't make sense.

You see, Kyle Orton's been was busy cementing himself as a loser. Notoriously being great between the 20s--yet consistently failing in the red-zone (proclaimed by NFL Network's Mike Lombardi), Orton has managed to go 1-7 in his last 24 starts with games decided by one score.

Coming into the league in 2005, Kyle Orton came in for an injured Rex Grossman, and managed to not be horrible, guiding the Bears to a 10-5 record. He was so bad (59.7 passer rating), Chicago fans were begging Rex Grossman to replace him, which he ultimately did. After Grossman guided the Bears to the Super Bowl the following year and was then benched in 2007, Orton came in--and was essentially okay. In that time, he was 11-7 and had a passer rating in the 80s. His last game with Chicago, he lost a must win game to a 7-8 Houston Texans team, which would have clinched a playoff berth.

Orton was then traded to Denver for Jay Cutler and won his first 6 starts. However, since that, Orton's true colors have come out. He's currently 5-18 since, including losing another must-win last regular season game in 2009 to the 3-12 Kansas City Chiefs that would've sent Denver to the playoffs.

So I'm in the same boat as most Denver fans. If you are going to stink with Kyle Orton, or even Brady Quinn anyway--why not just play Tebow? With Orton and Quinn --you at least know it's not going to end well, whereas Tebow is still an unknown.

Plus, with his fanbase--if Tebow turns out to be a winner--isn't that the ultimate upside?


  1. Saying Orton was good with the Bears, but reverted to form with the Broncos, begs a big question. Denver <> Chicago. Chicago has way more talent and a better system in place. Orton was the same average to good quarterback in both places, and with good teammates, he won. With crappy ones, he loses.

    Tebow won't be a savior (pun intended). Not until Fox gets a chance to rebuild the talent level. Gonna take a few years. Until then, Broncos are going to be losers no matter who the QB, or who the QB prays to.

  2. My suggestion was Orton was never an above average qb to begin with. In fact- he's leaning towards being on the other end of the league's QB landscape. Orton's value will remain the same no matter what. Tebow's value, however, has much more upside. Teams should never waste precious starts on an already proven dud. Playing the unknown (even if it doesn't work out) has much more value because of the upside- hence Tebow playing makes sense.