John Elway’s in a real pickle.
On the one hand, he let himself get swept-up in Tebowmania, making a 2012 verbal commitment, of sorts, to his 2nd-year starting QB: “Tim Tebow’s not going anywhere…he’s going to be a Bronco.” (AP / 12-20). And he surprisingly did this when the Tebow tide was just starting to ebb.
On the other hand, since the Broncos’ VP of football OPs jumped on board the Tebow bandwagon the picture on Tim has come into focus and it’s not a Kodak moment.
Tim’s not an NFL quarterback, not yet, anyway. The greatness some perceived during the six-game win streak proved somewhat illusory. Growth, yes, but he’s a project, not unlike the Vikes’ Joe Webb. Bulging with athletic ability, both show a lack of pocket presence by too often reverting to the style that made them campus heroes: run-first, try to pass later.
Others of the same ilk (Young / Newton / Vick), while apt to rabbit as freely as Tim and Joe, have been more adept at meeting the NFL’s ‘sit-tite & survey’ style of quarterback play.
The hero of SB33 knows better than anyone the NFL’s a QB league. Since the days of Otto Graham and Bobby Layne, quarterbacks have set the tone. It’s why recent pink-slips in Chicago (Angelo) and Indy (Polians) were more about PR and scapegoating than poor strategy. When stars like Manning and Cutler go down it changes everything.
And if you think Green Bay’s got the back-up thing all figured out (Flynn), don’t forget the names Matt Cassel and Kevin Kolb, hot-hot commodities not long ago.
The athleticism displayed by the Tebows and Vicks of college ball is always a big turn-on to those who see football as only a game of strength & speed to be measured in numbers at the combines. Lucky for people like me it’s a whole lot more.
Pocket presence doesn’t start with passing, it starts with leadership. Those ‘in the know’ also recognize defense feeds off that leadership…or suffers for it.
Winners don’t carry their squads on their backs (by habitually running for TDs & 1st downs). They trust in their co-workers (coaches / teammates) and delegate responsibility accordingly. And when they find chemistry or symbiosis, they ride together to the title.
GMs are always looking to next year. Elway doesn’t see enough in Tim to lock-in but doesn’t relish backing off his prior statement either, especially with the cult status that crusader Tim enjoys. And keeping him on as a back-up is problematic to say the least (See; Kyle Orton).
Denver’s brain trust wants a win against Pittsburgh in their Sunday Wild Card match-up to be sure. Though strictly from a Tebow perspective, a loss makes their decision easier. But with the help of Mike Tomlin’s indecisiveness all season long on the playing status of his oft-injured star QB, leaving Ben physically vulnerable, coupled with the absence of key cogs Clark & Mendenhall, Denver’s chances for victory improve by the day.
The NFL’s not a development league. It may’ve turned into Arena football but it’s not a training ground. No franchise can afford the time to train a player, no matter how popular, in the basics of a position as important as quarterback.
Whatever Sunday’s outcome, John Elway and the Denver Suits would be wise to keep Tim Tebow on the 2012 RS-roster. Not as a QB, mind you. I picture Tim as a tight-end, and a darn good one at that. Just like I always pictured Joe Webb and Mike Vick as punt-return guys or wide receivers. They all like running so much why not put it to best use?
If legendary flanker-back Paul Hornung (a Packer who played “a long time ago in a spinning world” / MGM) can check his ego and change positions, so too can Tim. The results can be nothing short of miraculous. I think Vince Lombardi would’ve agreed.
Ahead of the Curve
About the Author
Written by Steven Keys
A native of the old Northwest Territory, my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.