The Dude’s Mail Revue: Merril Hoge is Bill Walsh, John Elway is Bruce Lee, and Kyle Orton is angry

Dude's Mail Revue 400x145Fat Man writer TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays whenever the hell he gets around to it.  He takes your questions and gets your opinion about the state of the Broncos and the NFL. You wanna tie the room together?  Or say what you'd like about the tenets of national socialism? Drop TJ a question:

(NOTE: Marmots were harmed in the writing of this Revue)

TJ, I hate Merril Hoge, and I hope people in Denver don't take anything he has to say about Tim Tebow seriously.    

-- Jim Rebough, Englewood, Colorado 

Jim:  First, let's not hate anyone.  I could recommend a good therapist in the Denver Metro area if you need to get that under control.  With respect to Merril Hoge, he certainly knows more about football than most of us, but that doesn't mean he's right about Tim Tebow.  After Hoge's Twitter account exploded with Tebow criticism yesterday, he went on 104.3 The Fan and continued his tirade. 

The most amazing quote from Hoge about Tebow was the following:

"From the pocket he's bad.  When he moves, he's worse." 

He went on to say that Tebow was "oh my gosh" bad, and that you could see it in the eyes of the Broncos receivers that Tebow's screen passes were so bad they were "like a bad ball drill."  He criticized Tebow's mechanics, footwork, and accuracy.  However, he based this critique on the San Diego film from last year, and admitted that he had not even seen Tebow throw in camp this year.  When one of the hosts, D-Mac, tried to challenge him, Hoge played the you-don't-know-what-you're-looking-at card on him.  This, of course, is a ridiculous defense mechanism. 

I've written about this before, but if the only guys who can adequately comment about the NFL are former NFL players, then the list for football information grows short.  Hoge has been wrong many times before (most notably about Aaron Rodgers); he'll be wrong again.  I can assure you that I know more than most (and considerably more than Hoge) about financial modeling, Latin American geopolitics, micro-economic policy, and cooking naked, but that doesn't prevent others from giving their opinions on these issues.  It also doesn't prevent these opinions from being valid.

Hoge brought up some great points--the geometrical differences between a college field and an NFL field and the fact that many other players equal Tim Tebow's work ethic.  However, he neither has a direct line to Vince Lombardi nor is he Bill Walsh.  He's another guy who can pull up NFL Rewind and find the exact play in which Tebow didn't look off the high safety.  

By the way, Tebow's response to Hoge was classic: "'ppreciate that."  I would have preferred something more original, though.  It was the same exact line he used to promote his sports drink in this commercial (the line is delivered in the last 10 seconds):

Also, I'm unsure who "they" is in this commercial, but I can tell you that "they" did not say Tebow couldn't get a college scholarship.  I'm quite certain of that. 

Dude, I hate to say it, but I believe Adam Schefter when he said that Orton is the starter.  I went to training camp this year, and Tebow really doesn't look like he's improved.  This really crushes me, to be honest.  I went to camp posing as a campus Christian so I could hook up with some Tebow chicks from CU this year.  I'm going to scrap that plan now.   And if you think I'm giving you my real name, you're crazy.  Just in case Tebow comes in mid-season, I still need these girls to think I'm wearing a promise ring.

--Rowdy Piper, Boulder, Colorado

Rowdy: If you're posing as a campus Christian, at least give me a better fake name.   

Adam Schefter is rarely wrong.  When he was in Denver covering the Broncos, he was always money.  While Woody Paige speculated on the Broncos, Schefter got information about the Broncos.  He developed credible contacts deep within the Broncos organization.  It's the sort of skill that propelled Schefter to the place he's in now--namely, the demigod of NFL insiders.  So when Schefter reported that Orton is going to be the Broncos' starter this year, it's hard not to believe.  Under what circumstances would Schefter report this if it were not true?  Given Schefter's record and credibility, I can't think of any.

I'm quite sure that the Broncos wanted to leak this information.  There was no better way than to give it to the most credible guy working at ESPN.

So what happened?  How the hell should I know?  I live in my parents' basement.  But let me give is a shot.  If I may play Woody Paige for a moment...

As I wrote last week, I believe John Elway is well aware of the cult of personality that is Tim Tebow.  He knows he has to figure out a way to satify the Tebow Legion one way or the other.  Either Tebow bombs or he succeeds.  It's unlikey there will be a middle ground.  So Elway was more than happy to try and accommodate Orton's trade request.

After the deal failed to become a reality, the message that a trade could eventually get done (particularly if some starter in the league got hurt) was still out there.  If we take Schefter's report at face value, this message is now dead.  Why?  Something has changed from last week to this week.  That change is training camp.  From almost all the reports coming out of camp, Orton is simply crushing it old school.  

The possible explanation is simple enough.  John Fox has seen enough from both Tebow and Orton to believe that he can win games with Kyle.  He believes he can win with Orton.  He's relayed this message to Elway and Xanders.  Elway and Xanders will now deal with the possible consequences later.   Elway trusts that Fox can do what he says.  And if it's not the case, a 7- or 8-game tryout from Tebow later in the season should be sufficient to make a football decision about Tebow's future with the Broncos.  In short, Elway can still accomplish his original goal of allaying the Tebow Army within a compressed window, while at the same time, beginning the season with Fox trying to turn things around.  It's also the perfect strategy for keeping veterans like Brandon Lloyd happy--that is, until they start losing.

In this respect, Elway is going with the flow of the situation, or as as Bruce Lee says in this favorite clip of mine, he's being like water.

John Elway is Bruce Lee, Rowdy.  And that just blew your mind.  Maybe you'll even rethink your plan and settle down with one of these Tebow girls.  

TJ, I'm still irked that they tried to trade Orton in the first place after telling fans the exact opposite.

Jackie Reardon, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Jackie:  Don't take this stuff too seriously.  Just enjoy those Santa Fe summers.  The Tebow/Orton thing will be here when you get back.  Trust me on this.  The Broncos don't have an Easy button.

Listen, Fox and Elway picked their words carefully.  Early this summer, John Fox and John Elway said there would be an open competition at quaterback.  Soon after, they tried to work a deal to ship Orton (at his request) to Miami.  John Fox said his tune never changed.  Now that the reports have surfaced that Orton is the starter, Fox says he's still singing the same tune.  The tune?  There is an open quarterback competition.  Fox had this to say:

My story's been the same regardless of what you hear.  And I'm in those meetings every day and know what's said to everybody. Nothing's changed. We've been singing the same song as seven months ago.

Everything Fox said here is technically true.  That's because he doesn't comment on the actual details of the story.  Sly like a John Fox?  Indeed.

Elway and Fox want to project honesty, forthrightness, and a new era of transparency at Dove Valley , but they choose their words and spin with the best of them--including Josh McDaniels.

There's nothing wrong with spinning.   All coaches and front-office executives do it.  Just realize that their words and their actions will rarely match when they are talking to the fans or the media.

Dude, who would win in a fight?  Orton or Tebow?

--Sam Kennedy, Austin, Texas

Sam: Hands down, it would be Tebow.  Have you seen Tebow push a truck or swing a sledgehammer?  Get out of the way.   Kyle Orton probably pushes his Prius, but it's got half the weight of a gas-guzzling SUV.

I have to say that lately, however, Orton has seemed angrier.  I enjoy it.  It's like in this interview (12-minute mark).  After he was asked if he could be a mentor to Tebow from the bench, he had this to say rather tersely:

I don’t plan on being a backup. I know where my game is at and I certainly don’t plan on being a backup.

I wish Orton would get pissed off like this more often.  It seems to elevate his game.  Additionally, the lack of passion is often cited by Orton's critics as a reason for going with Tebow.  That means this year, instead of calling Cortland Finnegan names, Orton should try this:

The Good Lord helps those who help a piece of Finnegan's smart mouth.

Hey, TJ, don't you think that all of the tight ends in camp mean that the barely noticeably Richard Quinn is going to get cut?   And why wasn't he cut already?  He's just another one of Josh McDaniels' many mistakes.  While we're at it, I'd like to point out that all of the defensive ends we've brought in could mean that Robert Ayers is on the chopping block.  Further, look at all the running backs on the roster.  Its not just a coincidence.  Knowshon Moreno could go any minute.  McBath, too.  And Russ Hochstein.  He's just, well, he's just a big fat lineman.

But don't cut Eric Decker.  Decker can stay.  Decker was probably Xanders' choice.

--Kay Butler, Halloween, Indiana

Kay:  Seems like you've got a solid grip on things.  How would you feel about us trading back for Alphonso Smith?

Dude, why don't you ever talk about yourself like Doc Bear or Ted Bartlett?

--Roger Powers, Rock Springs, Wyoming

Roger: The details of my life are quite inconsequential... very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen-year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the geniuses possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds- pretty standard really. At the age of twelve I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum... it's breathtaking- I highly suggest you try it.

TJ, what do you think of the new quarterback rating system that ESPN is touting?

--William James, Boston, Massachusetts

William:  I'm going to write an entire article on  this over the weekend after I learn the exact formula on Friday.  Trent Dilfer said the formula will be a "game-changer."  We'll have to see.  I suppose if Trent Dilfer says something, it's got to be true, right?   

The first thing I'm going to do with the formula is to run a statistical regression to determine if the formula has a strong correlation to team winning percentage.   If it does, I'll get excited.  If not, I'll still get excited, but it won't be for the formula.  It will be over the thought that even Dilfer has won a Super Bowl. This means that all four of the quarterbacks on the Broncos roster could do it.

TJ, do you realize that your Revue is just like Woody Paige's Mailbag, only funnier?

--Vonnie Miller, Denver, Colorado

Vonnie:  Yeah, I do.  As I've said before, Paige knows I satirize him, has read the Mail Revue, and has sent me a nice note wishing me well.  Do you think it was a ploy so I would kiss his ass?

(Kissing Woody Paige's ass)

TJ Johnson can be reached through telegraph, ESP, Spanish interpretor, or via email: Follow him on Facebook and Twitter if you want to see him mock "the man."  He assumes you are following It’s All Over Fat Man on Facebook and Twitter, but if you are not, that’s nihilistic, man.

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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