It was as simple as making a bowl of cereal.
Trade Kyle Orton and let the Tim Tebow era begin.
Cue the marching bands, dancing girls and cheering fans.
Well, that didn‘t happen and now it must be determined who will be Cap’n Crunchtime for the Denver Broncos.
For new coach John Fox, this is not your ordinary QB controversy.
As Orton continues to look polished, poised and professional in his quarterback proficiency, Tebow looks as polished as sandpaper.
Right now, Orton has won the job. But it’s not that simple.
As the padlocks were popped open on the lockout, Orton was plopped on the trading block. But as the Broncos prepared to push Orton off into greener pastures — or rather the aqua pastures of the Miami Dolphins, the deal went belly up.
Now, Fox, the Broncos, the fans, everyone involved has a problem. Orton is the better quarterback at this point. But everyone wants to see Tebow take the snaps.
It’s highly unlikely that the 2011 Broncos will be contenders. They have more holes than fishnet stockings. So why not play Tebow to see what he can do?
It will take time to rebuild Josh McDaniels’ demolition of a once-proud and successful organization.
Good or bad, John Fox is now stuck with what could be McDaniels’ most lasting legacies to the Denver Broncos — the drafting of Tim Tebow.
Orton, the polished veteran with a mediocre arm, put up impressive statistics in 2010.
The short-yardage passing game, with its quick reads and high-percentage throws produce fabulous statistics.
Those passing systems, like the heralded “West Coast Offense” do for NFL statistics what silicone did for the TV show “Baywatch.”
Looks great but it’s deceptive. It creates false hope. The win column is the only statistic that matters.
Last year, Orton went 2-11 as the starter. Tebow went 1-2. As disgruntled fans fled the bandwagon with McDaniels at the helm and Orton under center, they returned in droves to get a glimpse of the savior in the No. 15 jersey.
Tebow is a poster child for excitement and optimism.
Bronco fans undoubtably compare Tebow to their conquering hero John Elway. Statistically, he had his struggles but he won. His leadership was legendary.
Elway has said that he’s “Tebow’s biggest fan.” Ultimately, Elway, the executive vice president of football operations, could force Fox into choosing Tebow as the starter.
In the final three games, Tebow showed flashes of brilliance. Running, moving in the pocket, making a few good throws, and keeping the Broncos in every game.
He has outstanding athleticism, great mobility, toughness, tenacity and leadership to spare. But what about the arm? What about reading defenses? What about timing? What about his mechanics?
The former Florida Gator has infectious charisma and unheard of popularity for a player who has seen so little time on the NFL field. Fans want him to play, even Lebron James wants him in the lineup. But “The King” doesn’t get to make “The Decision” on this. It’s up to Fox and maybe Elway.
On the surface, it’s easy. Orton is better, he’s the starter. The best players play. Simple — pass the milk.
Unfortunately, the decision isn’t easy.
Fox believes in the old school philosophy of run first, pass second. If Denver can develop a solid running game, it will ease the pressure on the quarterback.
This situation isn’t fair to Orton, who started his Bronco career with the headline “Orton hears a boo!” He’s not a great quarterback but he could help a number of teams. The Dolphins have a heap of trouble at the QB position, and Orton would have loved to get out of the stressful Denver fishbowl where virtually everyone wants to see No. 15 at QB. But that ship has sailed. Trading a quarterback this close to the season is highly unlikely. Regardless, Orton’s days in Denver are numbered.
If Orton starts and the team struggles, then Tebow will get into the game. If the team wins under Orton, then Tebow stays planted on the pine.
Tebow needs to get playing time. Is Tim Tebow a legitimate NFL quarterback — that’s the No. 1 question that needs answered.
Right now Tebow is the man behind the curtain and not the center.
Is he a wizard or is he a fraud? At some point, Fox must throw Tebow into the QB beaker and let the experiment begin? Eventually, Denver has to see if Tebow is their QB of the future.
No one will ever know as long as he’s on the sidelines. Tebow must be given a shot at some point. An Orton trade would have made life in Broncoland so much easier. Fox’s decision will brand his reputation. Crazy like a Fox or just plain crazy?
What’s best for the team or what’s best for the future or what’s best for the fans?
The questions and the controversy will never vanish unless Tebow is on the field.
For now, Denver has itself a very soggy situation.
Reach Dale Shrull at firstname.lastname@example.org or 564-6037.