Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Archive for April, 2010

Tebow in Denver

Posted by mizzou1028 on April 23, 2010

Let’s cut to the chase with this: the selection of Tim Tebow by the Denver Broncos at number 25 overall is without question the craziest, riskiest pick I have seen from an NFL team in years, maybe ever.  Here you have a guy in Tebow who just two months ago was being projected as a fifth or sixth round selection, largely due to a poor performance in the Senior Bowl and his showing the scouting combine.  We were told there are major flaws in Tebow’s mechanics and footwork.  Many still think he is nothing more than a backup quarterback at best.  There are others however who have seen him work insanely hard to improve his mechanics in the past two months and value his intangibles of hard work and leadership, thus valuing him much higher.  Rumor has it the Broncos weren’t the only team targeting Tebow tonight.  Reports have the Buffalo Bills as extremely disappointed, and others say perhaps the Patriots or Vikings were hoping Tebow would fall to them.  Bottom line: Tebow is perhaps the most polarizing player I have ever seen.  People either love him or hate him, there is no middle ground, and how he does in Denver will almost certainly define the Josh McDaniels era.

I think it is safe to say that the pick was a surprise, no surprise is too soft a word.  Let’s try shock.  That’s much better, I would say everyone in Broncos Country, and heck the entire league, was shocked to actually see Tebow selected in round one.  Many think he was selected too high.  Clearly, Josh McDaniels values him enough to have made him a first round selection.  This does seem very curious considering the recent trade for Brady Quinn and the other needs on the roster, not the least of which is the offensive line, of which there is no center currently on the roster.  I think it is safe to say that Tebow will not be starting at quarterback right away.  Right now that job still belongs to Kyle Orton, although he will certainly have competition breathing down his neck.  I could see Tebow being used initially in short yardage situations, perhaps some Wildcat formations, and basically deployed at specific times in a game to try and generate an impact.

Frankly, I think it will take minimum two and probably three seasons to truly judge this pick.  It will take time for Tebow to develop, and maybe that’s the problem that many fans have.  People want impact players in the first round, guys who will step in right away and make a difference.  Broncos fans are upset that Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall have been traded and they are having a hard time seeing what the Broncos got for those two players.  My views on Cutler are very clear (short version: if he keeps leading the league in picks, Chicago can have him) and Marshall was clearly someone who no longer wanted to be in Denver.  While the frustration is understandable, I think it’s clear that McDaniels wouldn’t have made those moves if he didn’t feel they made the team better.  Clearly he thinks Tebow can help.  So in that regard, I say let’s give the guy a chance to see what he can do before we label the pick as a bust.

Here is what I like about Tebow: His track record at Florida is outstanding.  He is the winner of two national championships, and his stats were off the charts.  The guy won games, he proved to be a superb leader in the huddle and in the locker room.  He has many qualities you want in a quarterback; he exudes confidence, has an ability to take charge, is very intelligent, and knows the playbook inside and out.  With his skillset he can also be very capable as an H-back type out of the backfield, and he is as tough as they come on the field.  He is one of those guys who is the first to arrive at practice and the last to leave.  This is a guy who will do whatever it takes and then some to improve, be a leader and win football games.  He has proven adept to running Urban Meyer’s offense at Florida, which is more similar to an NFL offense than that used by many other colleges.  He is in many ways an ideal teammate.  He is a team first player all the way, someone who will not worry about contracts or individual stats.  He is also not a guy who will get in trouble a la Ben Roethlisberger.

Now here is what I don’t like about Tebow: His improved mechanics have only been on display for two months, so it will be very interesting to see how he will do against real NFL competition.  I still wonder if he has the ability to throw the deep ball, something that was noticeably absent in the Broncos offense last year.  I also pause when I think of how many other Heisman Trophy winners and good college quarterbacks have struggled mightily in the NFL.  The NFL is completely different from the college game, so there is no guarantee his success at Florida will translate to the Broncos.

There is another reason I have not to this point been the biggest fan of Tebow, and it’s perhaps one that won’t make me very popular.  While I admire his character off the field, I am not at all a fan of the way he sometimes uses football as a launching pad for his personal and religious views.  It is for this reason that I have found him to be a very difficult player to root for.  I realize this sounds strange considering he hasn’t gotten himself into any embarrassing trouble, and this is not to say that I resent him for his views.  Plenty of NFL players share Tebow’s views, you just don’t see them using the NFL to fuel political or religious agendas.  I would say the same thing whether I agreed with Tebow or not: there is a time and place for expression of such views, and game interviews and press conferences are not the time.  I guess what I’m saying is I don’t want the starting quarterback of my team telling me that his off the field views are correct and that mine are wrong.  I do respect that he is very confident in himself and who he is.  Obviously I don’t want Ben Roethlisberger on my team, or anyone else who would behave as irresponsibly as he has, so I’m not saying the Broncos shouldn’t draft/sign players of good character.  Tim Tebow has very good character and I admire him for that, and I’m glad the Broncos are pursuing players with high morals.  I just think at times Tebow has gone overboard with his message.

Overall I think Tebow is a player worth taking a chance on because he is a sure bet to be a good teammate and he has the intangibles necessary to be a good quarterback and good leader of a football team.  While I may personally not care for the way he expresses some of his views, that doesn’t change the fact he is a person of good character and is someone who will clearly put the team first, and that is something that has been missing from the Broncos locker room, specifically at key positions.  I think in time if he continues to work on his mechanics, he can develop into a good quarterback.  Nothing is guaranteed of course.   There is no question McDaniels is taking a huge risk, especially if the Broncos could have gotten him at a later slot in the draft than the first round.  There is no way to know for sure, but the common opinion seems to be Tebow was selected too high, that the Broncos might have been able to wait until Friday to take him.  I think if Tebow turns out to be a good player that won’t matter.  If Tebow is successful, it might just restore the opinion of McDaniels in Bronco land.  It might be enough to make people forget about Cutler and Marshall and even Mike Shanahan.  If Tebow is a bust, McDaniels will be run out of town on a rail and his tenure will be defined by the moves he made and the risks he took.  He could well be remembered as the coach who blew up the Broncos.  What will it be?   It’ll probably be at least two years before we find out.

One footnote: Let’s not forget about Demaryius Thomas, the receiver from Georgia Tech that the Broncos selected three spots before Tebow.  Thomas is a playmaker with a body type very similar to Brandon Marshall.  He has the ability to make tough catches in traffic and McDaniels believes he is faster than Marshall.  He is the type of receiver that could be able to make an immediate impact alongside Eddie Royal.  I like this pick very much.  Now they need to address the offensive line.

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Marshall to Miami – Now let’s move on

Posted by mizzou1028 on April 16, 2010

By now you should know the specifics of the deal: Brandon Marshall has been traded to the Miami Dolphins for a pair of second round picks, one in next week’s draft (number 45 overall) and another in 2011.  At first I thought the Broncos got robbed, that they didn’t get enough in return for Marshall.  When looking at the receiver market around the league however, the Broncos actually did as well as could realistically be expected.  The Cardinals only received a third and fifth round pick for Anquan Boldin, and the Steelers got only a measly fifth round pick for Santonio Holmes.  It could be more than a reasonable argument that Marshall has not accomplished as much as those two wideouts, but at the very least Marshall is in their class from a talent standpoint.  While it would have been nice for the Broncos if a team signed Marshall to an offer sheet and had to surrender the tender of a first round pick, that just wasn’t going to happen because teams knew he could be had for less.  That’s just the way it works.

I know many Broncos fans are feeling frustrated because they feel like the talent of the team is being destroyed (Tony Scheffler is almost certainly on his way out too, perhaps to rejoin Mike Shanahan in Washington).  While I admit I am a little concerned about who will be there to throw the ball to in September (Eddie Royal MUST have more than 37 catches for starters), I think the move was so inevitable that Marshall’s presence in the locker room would have caused more of a distraction than it would have helped.  Let’s make no bones about this, Marshall wanted out of Denver.  He may have put on a happy face last year, and he did get his 100 catches, but he was never playing for the team.  Let’s not forget he did earn a one game suspension from Josh McDaniels at the beginning of last season, and only when he returned from that did he even start playing hard.  Let’s also not forget that he couldn’t figure out a way to get on the field in the finale against Kansas City, even though it was obvious (and even stated by McDaniels) that other players were gutting it out with worse injuries.  The fact Marshall was too hurt to play in a do or die game where the playoffs were on the line but managed to be on the field in the completely meaningless Pro Bowl just a few weeks later says a lot about his character or lack thereof.  Marshall was only concerned with a big payday and as far he was concerned he had his 100 catches.

As far as I’m concerned (I said this about Jay Cutler as well), if a player doesn’t want to be here, get rid of him.  Marshall had several reasons for wanting out of Denver, not the least of which is the Broncos weren’t about to reward him with a large contract when he is just one more transgression away from a major suspension by Roger Goodell.  Marshall’s off the field behavior has been questionable at best (which is probably the biggest reason he was a fourth round draft pick), and I frankly shudder to think of what might happen when Marshall takes his new paycheck to South Beach.  Marshall is certainly a very talented receiver, and I’ll be the first to say they just don’t fall off the tree, but in the NFL a good locker room environment is just as important as the talent on the field.  In this case, an unhappy Marshall was just going to cause more of a distraction.  Think of Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, and other receivers with large personalities.  How many playoff games have those receivers won?  Think about the distractions those receivers cause.  Good receivers are important, but good character is more important.  That’s why the Broncos made this trade, and really why they felt they didn’t have much choice.

I do think this a team with many more questions than answers.  I think this is a very important draft for the Broncos, for they still have major holes at guard and center along the offensive line.  They also could use another linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.  Speaking of linebacker, they need to figure out a way to make Elvis Dumervil happy.  Dumervil missed out on a big payday thanks in large part to the uncapped year as a result of the collective bargaining agreement not being renewed.  The Broncos did address the defensive line in the offseason and that should be much improved.  It will also be interesting to see if the Broncos try to tab a receiver somewhere in the draft, and of course how the quarterback battle between Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn shakes out.  The Broncos are definitely a team with major questions, but I am always the eternal optimist.  Let’s see what happens next week in the draft and we’ll go from there.

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