For those on either side of the fence in the Great Tim Tebow debate of 2011, it would appear that everyone will have the second-year quarterback to discuss for at least another week. Despite some speculation that the Denver Broncos might bench Tebow in favor of either Kyle Orton or Brady Quinn after his sub-par performance in a 45-10 demolition at the hands of the Detroit Lions, Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that there will be no change at the position.
After the game, Broncos head coach John Fox put the impetus on the team, as opposed to a new quarterback situation. "It's too early to say," Fox said about what needs to be dealt with. "I haven't even had a shower yet, let alone look at that tape but we'll look at it and make changes where we see are needed. We've definitely got to get better.''
Talking to Denver sports radio station 102.3 The Ticket on Monday morning, Broncos team president John Elway -- who knows a thing or two about quarterback play himself -- reviewed a Tebow performance that saw the young passer complete just 18 throws in 39 attempts for 172 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception, and seven sacks.
"I think if you look at what they did defensively, they had a good game plan in that they were not a blitzing team before they got in here -- they got after Tim and they manned us up in the secondary and came after Tim in the pocket and they were going to make him get rid of it quick," Elway said. "Number one, they had a good pass rush coming in then you add the two blitzers that they had, and they tried to just smother him and they did a good job.
"You cannot win football games unless you pick up third downs. That's the bottom line. I think we were 0-for-7 at halftime on third downs, and we started that way last week. And it's not one guy, it's the entire offense, but I think if you look at the number one thing, if you don't pick up third downs and keep yourself on the feel, you'll never get a rhythm offensively. I don't care what the play calling is or anything else, until we do a better job on third down, we're not going to be a successful offense."
Before the game, Fox said that the Broncos were going to put together a college-style game plan to play better to Tebow's strengths. Based on the results against the Lions, Fox was taking a game plan from the University of Phoenix. Seriously, though, did Elway believe that enough has been done to meet Tebow halfway schematically?
"I think that anytime you have a performance like that, there's always plenty of I don't want to say blame but coaching staff, players, line, receivers — everyone's responsible. So everyone could have done better when you get beat that bad. So everyone needs to look at themselves and say, 'How can we get better?' There were obviously some situations where play calling could have been better, but I don't care what you do, unless you pick up third downs, play calling cannot help you. And so I think that is the key thing, and as the quarterback's job, it's your job to pick up third downs because that's what keeps you on the field. Now, you have to give [the Lions] credit because they're a good defensive team with a good front four. You add two more blitzers to that which they were going to do — they were going to smother Timmy, they were going to keep him in the pocket, and make him throw it and get rid of it quickly. And they were able to do that successfully, so they stuck with it."
Of course, the million-dollar question is whether a quarterback of Tebow's specific skills can succeed as a quarterback in the NFL — maybe he's a better player at a different position? Elway sounded as if he wasn't nearly ready to give up on Tebow as a quarterback.
"I think that there's adjustments on both sides. Obviously when you have a quarterback of Tim's skill set and age and youth, I think they're doing everything they can to put Tim in the best situation to be successful, as well as this offense. Obviously it hasn't worked yet; we've struggled on offense the past two weeks. So we'll continue to work at it and see what we can get done."
Not as if they have much choice — as the competitive aspect of the Broncos' season starts to close, the next step is to find out what they can get from Tebow if he is to stick around … or what they can get for him if he's to be somebody else's project player in the end.
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