by Josh Kipnis
Never before have fans been more enthusiastic about a 1-4 team than the fans of the Mile High city. This morning, the Denver Broncos announced that backup quarterback Tim Tebow will be promoted to starter following this week’s bye. Kyle Orton started all five of the Broncos’ games this season.
The timing of this decision could not be any better for Tebow and the rest of the Broncos organization. A bye week allows Tebow to get plenty of reps with the first-string offense, and the game following the bye is against the 0-4 Miami Dolphins.
But will Tebow be the answer to Denver’s demise? Does he improve the Broncos’ chances that much more than Kyle Orton?
Versatility: Tim Tebow adds another dimension to the Broncos offense; one that Kyle Orton could never provide-a dual running attack. With Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee in the backfield, Tebow’s running ability is one more aspect of the game that opposing defenses will fear. In his second half appearance against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, Tebow rushed six times for 38 yards and a touchdown. Orton has run for 17 yards this entire year, having never scored on the ground.
Turnovers: Many NFL scouts bashed Tebow’s throwing motion and other mechanics when he entered the NFL draft. Despite these malfunctions, however, Tebow has proven to be much less turnover-prone than Orton. This season, Orton leads the NFL in interceptions, throwing seven in his first five games. Tebow, on the other hand, threw three picks in the nine games he played in last year.
Energy: 1-4 is a very slippery slope. At this point in the year, a team can lose faith easily. Tebow provides a new direction, a new hope for Denver and its fans. I wish I were able to show the difference in decibel levels at Sports Authority Field when Orton was on the field compared with that of Tebow. Fans love Tim Tebow. He is a winner; he says all the right things at the right time. And not just the fans, but his teammates also love him. “There is no ego with Tim,” said veteran safety Brian Dawkins. “He wants to work, he wants to learn, asks a lot of questions…he’s trying to learn as much as he can to make himself a better player. And that’s always an encouraging sign to see a young guy who’s been a star [at the University of Florida] to come in and be a humble player.”
Gameplan: Tebow is not the only link in this chain towards success. Head coach John Fox is going to have to restructure his team’s offense around their new strengths. If Fox keeps the same system as before with Orton, Tebow will surely fail. The Broncos need to adopt a new gameplan, one filled with shotgun formations, screen passes, and running plays. Tebow is not the kind of guy who can take five step drops from under center, sit in the pocket, and throw the ball downfield. Fox is not going to be able to ask him to throw forty or fifty times a game. Denver will need to rely on quicker three step drops, dumps and screens to tailbacks, and play-action rollouts. With these ingredients, Denver may just be able to turn their dreaded season around, and put a sweet taste back into their mouths.