ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Tim Tebow didn't win the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback job as much as Kyle Orton lost it.
Regardless, Tebow has ditched his cap and clipboard and is now the starring attraction in Denver.
John Fox made the switch official Tuesday, announcing Tebow will start
against the Miami Dolphins when the Broncos return from their bye week.
He supplants Orton, who has struggled ever since winning the job with a spectacular training camp.
I think 1-4 has a lot to do with it," Fox said. "We haven't gotten it
done as a football team. It's not one guy. It's not all Kyle Orton's
fault. But we do have to make adjustments, we have to change and we have
to do something to win football games."
Orton didn't carry over
his sensational summer into the regular season, turning the ball over
nine times and losing the organization's confidence and a string of
winnable games as the Broncos stumbled to another bad start.
had seen enough by halftime Sunday when he benched Orton and sent in
Tebow. After a slow start, the former Florida star sparked a listless
offense to within a last-gasp pass of coming back against San Diego.
As the Broncos trudged off the field, the stadium shook with a thunderous roar of "Tebow! Tebow! Tebow!"
appreciates their passion but said the fans, who have been calling for
Tebow ever louder by the week, had nothing to do with this move.
not so much fan outcry as we're in a result-oriented business, and
we're 1-4," Fox said. "It's not one guy. We'll see if this helps."
had his troubles — rust, three fumbled snaps and six misfires in 10
pass attempts — but he ran for a touchdown and threw for another while
energizing the Broncos and fans frustrated by a franchise mired in
mediocrity since its last winning season in 2005.
After thinking things over for a day and watching the game film, Fox decided to go all-in with Tebow.
time to see what he has in the popular and polarizing 24-year-old
lefty, one of the most accomplished players in the history of college
football but one whose skill set doesn't fit the mold of a prototypical
"It's just a matter of him going out and doing the
best he can," Broncos football chief John Elway told the NFL Network.
"He adds that spark, he's got great intangibles, he's a great competitor
and I think that this is going to be a growing process for him."
Fox informed Orton and Tebow of his decision privately before telling the team at their 8 a.m. meeting Tuesday.
"He's the coach. He makes the decisions," Orton said. "I'm the player, and I live with it."
Andre' Goodman said in a subdued locker room that the players felt bad
that Orton had to take the fall for the team's failures — they rank 25th
in the league in both offense and defense.
"At the end of the
day, we're all disappointed for Kyle because it almost implicates him"
as the reason for the 1-4 start, Goodman said. "It's not the case. It
could've been me. It could've been anybody on this team. None of us are
doing a good enough job."
There also was a twinge of excitement in the locker room over Tebow's promotion Tuesday.
just a baller, an all-out baller," linebacker Joe Mays said. "Some
people may call him unorthodox, but at the end of the day, he gets the
The Broncos will have to adjust their offense for Tebow, but Fox downplayed the difficulty.
"Well, it's not like we signed him off the street," Fox said. "He's been in meetings the whole season."
Broncos will have to determine if they want to continue pressing Tebow
to become a prototypical pro passer or focus on capitalizing on skills
that made him a great combination college quarterback — some say the
Do they spend time on his mechanics and motion or add more shotgun snaps and designed runs to the game plan?
There's a list a football field long of running quarterbacks who didn't survive long in the NFL, yet Tebow brushes that off.
I've heard that a lot, heard that my whole life and I see a lot of good
quarterbacks running the ball really effectively from Steve Young all
the way down," Tebow said. "So, I'm going to try to do whatever they ask
me to do and if that's hand the ball off, if that's drop back, if
that's run around, I'll do whatever I can do to help this team win
Tebow did show more patience in the pocket
Sunday, progressing through his reads and buying some time. Still on his
to-do list are little things like repeating his release point and
keeping his palms together when he takes J.D. Walton's snaps from under
"That's something that we did in practice today and got a
lot better at because before that game I'd probably taken a handful of
snaps with him this year," Tebow said.
Hindering the Broncos and
their new quarterback, however, is the new collective bargaining
agreement that stipulates teams must give players four consecutive days
off during the bye week. So, the Broncos will only get two practices
totaling about four hours this week, then take a four-day furlough
during which only injured players can come in, and then only to get
According to the CBA, during that four-day stretch,
players cannot participate in club-supervised workouts or practices,
meetings with coaches, film study with coaches or playbook study with
"Well, I don't think there's any rules against like
watching film or throwing on my own or continuing to work on things,"
Tebow said with a smile. "So, I'll probably try to do that."
Wide receiver Eric Decker said he's willing to give up his vacation to work out the kinks with Tebow.
he wants you to come in and throw some routes and get that timing to
win a football game, I'll do anything at this point," Decker said.
a resume that includes All-America honors, two national championships
and a Heisman Trophy, Tebow never came close to beating out Orton in the
summer of 2010 or '11.
Yet, Orton turned ordinary when the games started to count.
puzzling slide hit bottom Sunday when he went 6 for 13 for 34 yards in
the first half against the Chargers and threw his seventh interception,
tied for most in the league. He also has two fumbles.
disappointed with everything," said Orton, 6-21 since winning his first
six games as Denver's starter. "I wish I could have played better, I
wish we had a better record, I wish a lot of things, but the reality is
what it is."
The Broncos tried to trade Orton, who's making $9
million in the final year of his contract, when the lockout ended, but
talks with Miami broke down and Fox instead threw open the quarterback
competition, something for which Tebow proved ill-prepared.
maintained his stranglehold on the starting job during training camp and
Brady Quinn also outperformed Tebow, who showed almost no progress in
becoming the pocket passer that Elway has repeatedly said he must become
to make it in this league.
His footwork was still flawed, his
throws were still off-target, and he even had trouble with the most
basic of football plays: the center-quarterback exchange, after spending
most of his football career playing out of the shotgun.
He showed, however, that there was some validity to the notion he's a "gamer" by posting decent stats in preseason games.
who received a $6 million-plus bonus in August, was used sparingly by
the new coaching staff at first. He came in as a decoy in the slot when
the Broncos ran out of receivers against Cincinnati in Week 2, and he
took one snap, running for minus-2 yards at Green Bay two weeks ago.
started the final three games last season — going 1-2 — after Orton got
hurt and the organization decided to see what they had in Tebow, whom
former coach Josh McDaniels had selected with the 25th overall pick in
the 2010 draft.
Now he gets another chance to show the new regime what he's got.
1-4, and we've got to move on," Fox said. "We're going to do whatever
it takes to get out of that. Whether this works or not, time will tell."
Tuesday, January 23 2018 12:15 PM EST2018-01-23 17:15:32 GMT
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