Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Fascinating radio conversation Wednesday between Sandy Clough and Woody Paige, with the latter stating that the Broncos' decision makers 1) are not fond of Kyle Orton's quarterbacking skills 2) believe Tim Tebow is not ready to be an NFL QB now, if ever 3) would be willing to deal Tebow to Baltimore in exchange for a third-rounder prior to the trade deadline (according to Clough, Peter King said on satellite radio the other day that Baltimore would have interest in such a deal).
This calls to mind a few thoughts: What if the main source for Mike Silver's controversial column from last month really was John Elway? You know, the one that says Tebow was the fourth-best QB in training camp behind undrafted rookie Adam Weber, and that the team felt as if it had dodged a bullet when it failed to trade Orton to Miami and open the starting QB gig for Tebow? (Let's not suggest that there's fiction among Silver's writing, or how else would he ever gain readmittance to Dove Valley to perform his job? This was not an opinion piece from afar, but an article with exclusive quotes gathered in person, and as TJ reminded us last night, Silver and Elway go way back.)
Well, what if Elway, Brian Xanders and John Fox feel they already have enough information about Tim Tebow the quarterback to make an accurate evaluation of his potential? It's funny, because most of us (myself inclusive) have presumed that we don't know what the Broncos have in Tebow. Well, maybe the organization's brass are confident that they do know, and it's simply not the answer Tim's fans want to hear? Yes, Tebow finished the preseason with an excellent QB rating, and he made some nice plays - some of them very exciting ones, at that. But he also showed a strong propensity to tuck and run at the first sign of trouble, and there was little or no evidence that he was working his progressions beyond the primary receiving option.
Perhaps this is what the coaching staff and front office saw all throughout camp, and even if these are issues Tebow can overcome someday, perhaps someday is too long for the Broncos to keep him around. After all, Broncos fans aren't about to subscribe to the notion that Tebow may not be ready for a couple more years. They've already invested too much in him, whether it be emotionally or by going to their pockets for his #15 jerseys or for billboards campaigning for him to play. In other words, maybe Tebow will become a great QB someday, but the Broncos can't afford to wait for that to happen, because us fans won't give them that time. Heck, we were booing Orton at a scrimmage and calling for Tebow to replace him in a game which ended with a three-point margin. That's not a good environment for any player, let alone a developing QB prospect.
I'm not about to judge whether such an evaluation is correct, because how can I presume to have anything more than a tiny fraction of the information that Elway, Xanders and Fox possess in regards to Tebow? But if they truly do feel that Tebow is not the answer at QB, at least not soon enough to make an impact worthy of the time they'd have to invest in him, then is anything they've done over the past seven or eight weeks really that crazy? They were willing to give Tebow a shot but in the end were unable to agree to a deal with Miami, and/or Orton was unable to agree with the Dolphins on a new deal. So, they kept Kyle but having seen Tebow firsthand realized he is too far away from being a legit NFL QB to make sense within Elway's three-year plan to bring the Broncos back to winning.
So, what do they do? They begin lowering the fans' expectations that Tebow has a chance to be the starter to open this season. There's been lots of talk about fans losing faith and being fed up with the organization, but just imagine that you're John Elway, you're brought in to run the football ops and and you come to the conclusion that Tebow will not be a top-half starting NFL QB within three years' time. What would you do? You keep the guy around just because he's popular and people who have only seen him in snippets of the preseason and in three games last year say he deserves a shot? Or do you go with your gut and stick to your plan, which means making the playoffs in 2013 with someone whom you are willing to attach your legacy as VP of football ops to?
BTW, Paige also mentioned that Elway is indeed committed to a three-year rebuilding plan, while John Fox may be thinking more short-term. Doesn't sound like a good thing, right? Makes you wonder why Elway hired a guy with goals not matching his own? Well, if Ted Sundquist's interview over at BT the other day (last question) is any indication, that's par for the course and the precise reason there needs to be a separation of powers between the guy choosing the players and the one coaching them. It's got to be next to impossible for a head coach to eschew filling pressing holes to end up with a better player in two or three years' time. For all of Bill Parcells' talk about being able to shop for the groceries himself, guess how many Super Bowls he won without George Young procuring his talent for him? It remains to be seen whether Bill Belichick will win a title post-Scott Pioli, and we know all too well how filling both roles fared for Mike Shanahan.
There were no changes to the injury report, as all eight injured players again sat out of practice yesterday. Andrew Mason speculates that should Knowshon Moreno be deemed unable to play Sunday, the team may have to promote Jeremiah Johnson from the PS, and that the injury to Champ Bailey could mean a good bit of playing time for the newest Bronco, Jonathan Wilhite. Meanwhile, both Fox and Tebow did their best to dismiss any billboard talk. Plus, Legwold's notes.
Chris Benson of PFF examines some key matchups for Sunday, writing that Orlando Franklin must do a better job of protecting Orton, the Broncos' LBs need to limit Cedric Benson, and Brandon Lloyd could have some favorable matchups.
Kiszla paints a pretty good picture of the Broncos' Tebow problem and points to the fact that the organization has only encouraged it, or at least they were doing so until three or four weeks ago.
Klis offers a lengthy profile of Eric Decker, who as a WR admits to having a bit of the "prima donna" qualities typical of the position.
Legwold says the folks running Cincy's offense and those running Denver's defense have little film to go on as they prepare to face each other, and may end up having to make plenty of in-game adjustments come Sunday.
NFL Films previews Sunday's matchup, plus video of John Fox, Mike McCoy, Dennis Allen and Brian Dawkins speaking after practice yesterday. Kenny Legan summarizes Allen's comments, while Gray Caldwell does the same for Allen and Dawkins, plus pictures from practice. Plus, a Q&A with Eric Decker, a blog entry from Willis McGahee, and John Elway will do a 30-minute weekly internet radio show with Chris Hall starting next Tuesday.
In gauging Moreno's (in)ability to gain yardage after contact, Captain Arithmetic explicitly states he thinks that 5 divided by 8 is 1.6.
As the Bengals come to town, does it ever get old watching this? No, of course it doesn't. Never will, either.
Tyson Langland reviews the Titans' (Denver's Week 3 opponents) game against the Jaguars.
Marvin Lewis says the Bengals do expect Andy Dalton to be ready to start on Sunday.
DE Robert Geathers and S Taylor Mays again missed practice yesterday and may be out Sunday, while T Andrew Whitworth was limited in practice.
Thomas Howard has gone from walk-on defensive back at UTEP to starting LB for the Bengals.
A study by UCF finds that the NFL is doing well in its efforts to increase racial diversity at the executive level.
Meanwhile, an NFL-sponsored study comes to the conclusion that NFL careers last almost seven years on average. But the study is of course horribly flawed, using only drafted players who stick on the 53-man roster in their rookie seasons.
Troy Polamalu was reportedly hit with a $15K fine for a horse-collar tackle on Ricky Williams.
The Raiders have appealed to the NFL claiming that Sebastian Janikowski's record-tying FG Monday was actually a record-breaker.
Mike Tanier breaks down film from Bills/Chiefs in his latest Walkthrough, Ben Muth does the same for the Saints' line play in their opener against Green Bay, and Matt Bowen considers how the Saints may game plan the Bears' defense.
Over at PFF, Sam Monson reviews some key plays from Week 1, Ben Stockwell looks back at some key matchups, Khaled Elsayed ranks the top rookie performances, and Nathan Jahnke has observations for each team.
Scott Kacsmar takes an extensive look at Tony Romo's career in terms of fourth-quarter play and naturally comes to the conclusion that he's not a choker, not unless Brett Favre, Troy Aikman, Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers are also labeled the same way.
Mike Silver focuses on Mike Vick's return to Atlanta in his Friday column, Jason Cole thinks the Chargers always show up soft against the Pats because they're taking on Norv Turner's personality, and Don Banks is already ready to write about how great the Bills are after a week.
Richard Sandomir and Kevin Braig on the Bill Belichick documentary that began airing on NFLN last night and will be looping endlessly. (JK, I recorded it last night and can't wait to see it, to be honest.)