Because Tim Tebow has transcended football, he has steadily gained casual fans and many who are barely familiar with the game. These two categories of fans may not be aware that his long-term future as a starting quarterback with the Denver Broncos is far from secure.
He’s not even guaranteed to be the starter next opening day. He probably will be, but the reason could be troubling: If he plays poorly in the preseason and isn’t named the starter, it’s going to be a huge hassle for the boss, John Elway, and the coach, John Fox. The billboards will come out, and the chants will begin. Tebow now has a nationwide base of support, almost like a powerful lobbying group.
On the field, Tebow has many positives, but the problems are clear: He hasn’t proved he’s a good passer, and quarterbacks who run a lot get hurt.
Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com put it bluntly after the Patriots crushed the Broncos in a divisional playoff game on Saturday night:
The NFL is a passing league, as we’ve seen over and over again this NFL season, and if you don’t have a quarterback who can make plays consistently, you’re probably not going to win many games. And the Denver Broncos don’t have a quarterback who can make plays consistently.
Against the Patriots, Tebow completed 9 of 26 passes for 136 yards. Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post wrote: “What stung the worst Saturday night was the sarcasm as thick as New England chowder when fans derisively chanted the name of Tim Tebow.”
Of course, Tebow could improve, and if anybody can will it to happen through hard work, he’s an excellent candidate. But in his postgame comments, Tebow said he needed improvements in “fundamentals, understanding defenses, my reads, footwork, everything.” That’s a long list, and Elway, who knows a thing or two about quarterbacking, may eventually want a passer in his image.
Here is the full transcript of Tebow’s comments, as provided by the Broncos.
On changes from Patriots defense
“They had a great scheme. They came out and they played well and they executed well. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit.
I just want to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ and thank my teammates for the effort they put forth not only tonight but the entire season. I also want to thank the Broncos fans for all their support this season and it definitely meant a lot.”
On the media attention he faces
“I haven’t worried too much about that. I think the cool part is the relationship with my teammates. The run was a lot of fun. A lot of ups and downs but we really try to block everything in the outside off and just enjoy the relationships with teammates and coaches and work and try to get better and I feel like we did that all year. We just didn’t put forth a good enough performance tonight . You’ve got to give them a lot of credit, that’s a really good team.”
On the season
“It had a lot of ups and downs. Overall it’s been a very special opportunity for me – something I’m very thankful for and very thankful I have the opportunity to build so many great relationships with teammates and coaches and to be able to overcome a lot of different forms of adversity with my teammates and to win some special games. There’s a lot of things that we’re proud of; it’s hard to see them all right now, though.”
On the loss
“It still was a good day because before the game I got to spend time with Zach McCleod and make him smile. Overall when you get to do that it’s still a positive day and a good day. Sometimes it’s just hard to see but it depends what lens you’re looking through. I choose to look through those lenses and I got to make a kid’s day and any time you do that, it’s more important than winning a game, so I’m proud of that.”
On continuing to play hard
“Any time you’re getting beaten like that, you just continue to fight. It doesn’t change who you are, how you play, how you go out there – you should be the same at all times. That’s what I wanted to show and it didn’t matter if it was the first play or the last play or if we were down by 42, I was going to be the same player and I was going to still give everything I have because that’s all I have to give. Every time I step on the field, I’m going to give my whole heart regardless of the score.”
On his offseason goals
“Just work and improve — fundamentals, understanding defenses, my reads, footwork, everything. This will be a big offseason for me and I’m looking forward to it. Every single game including this one was an opportunity. Even coach McCoy and coach Gase on the sidelines at the end of the game, they were like ‘Just take it all in, learn from it and understand all these things that are going on so when we have an opportunity to get back here, we can handle it differently.’ I try to learn from every experience good or bad.”
By TONI MONKOVIC – The New York Times.