Shutdown Corner - NFL

LeBron James comes to Tim Tebow’s defense on TwitterWednesday, we clued you in to the schism going on at the quarterback position in the Denver Broncos' training camp. While most of the Broncos' veteran players see Kyle Orton(notes) as the solution when it comes to winning now, most Broncos fans would prefer that second-year quarterback Tim Tebow(notes) take that role on his shoulders despite his relative lack of experience in a pro-style offense.

What's known is that the "Tebow Thing" has taken over Denver's training camp, and most of the NFL's news cycle.

ESPN NFL analyst Merrill Hoge took to Twitter on Wednesday to give his own take on Tebow's future prospects. As one of the hosts of ESPN's excellent "NFL Matchup" show, Hoge watches as much game tape as any non-coach or non-GM around. His opinions, while sometimes boldly spoken, do have some authority behind them.

And Hoge put Tebow on full blast.

Sitting watching tape of Bronco offense from last year! Orton or Tebow? It's embarrassing to think the broncos could win with tebow!!

Orton or tebow? QB play is not just about who works hard gives rare rare college speeches or who is a good guy!! Because orton works hard and is a good guy as well.

It's about who can play!! I just watched Tebow throw 5 out routes to a wide open WR! He was 1 for 5! 2 went in Dirt 2 in the stands!

That throwing motion he changed? U can't change who u r! Just watched 2 throws and he throws like he did in college!!

You must possess a skill set to play! Tebow struggles with accuracy!

Tebow, as you might expect, turned it into a positive and let it whiz right by his head -- he's used to people questioning his ability to transition his game to the NFL:

LeBron James comes to Tim Tebow’s defense on Twitter

Then, out of nowhere came this series of tweets from the account of one LeBron James, the noted Miami Heat three-quarter superstar and high school wide receiver:

Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL. He's a hard worker, a student of the game, a natural born leader and most of all a WINNER! It takes time and he'll be nice

Listened to Merril Hoge today on [SportsCenter] and he was just blasting Tebow. The man hasn't even play a full season and its only his 2nd year in.

Guys get on that TV and act like they was all WORLD when they played. How bout encouraging him and wishing him the best instead of hating!!

LeBron James comes to Tim Tebow’s defense on Twitter

Hoge went on Thursday's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" show to defend his comments, saying that Tebow's inaccuracy on the move, elongated throwing motion, and propensity to run straight into contact are all potentially fatal danger signs when it comes to quarterback success.

While Hoge is correct in the abstract regarding the skill set requirements required of a traditional quarterback, I'd say that he's being a bit unfair about Tebow's potential given one important aspect of the modern NFL game — more and more, as spread quarterbacks come out of college, pro coaches and coordinators are finding ways to install option and Wildcat packages to facilitate earlier success for their young charges. It's up to the Broncos to find ways for Tebow to succeed if they play him; quarterbacks don't exist in schematic vacuums.

[Related: Tim Tebow might tear Broncos apart]

In any case, knowing ESPN, it'll find a way to leverage this into a one-hour special with Hoge watching Tebow's quarterback tape with LeBron. Jon Gruden will be on hand to whack Hoge upside the head with a rubber chicken whenever Hoge fails to acknowledge Tebow's grittiness and intangibles. We're sure that Tony Kornheiser and Jim Gray will be involved; we're just not sure how.

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