Last week, radio host Dan Caplis argued that Tim Tebow is a victim of media bias and a poor decision on the part of the Broncos' braintrust regarding his position behind QBs Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn. After Denver's 23-20 Saturday win over Seattle, the first issue is still debatable, but the second one is on life support, because Tebow definitely didn't look ready to be his squad's top field general.
The spin on the victory from the local media has focused on the strong performance by the defense, and there's no question that pass rushers Elvis Dumervil and top draft pick Von Miller had an impressive game. But before we start comparing this year's D to the one that played for the 1985 Chicago Bears, here's an important thing to consider: Seattle's offense is terrible -- a joke. Quarterback Tavaris Jackson is exhibit A in the argument that the NFL's quarterback talent pool is mighty shallow these days, and the offense around him has many fewer playmakers than pretty much any of coach Pete Carroll's USC lineups. Note that the 'Hawks' touchdown early in the fourth quarter was the first time they'd found the end zone this preseason, and they did so with starters playing against Broncos backups. Point blank, they're bad -- and not in a Michael Jackson way.
Defensively, Seattle isn't quite as inept, but neither are they likely to put much fear in the hearts of opponents. Yet Kyle Orton didn't exactly look Pro Bowl quality during the Broncos' first possessions. Beyond that unnecessary interception early on, he took too long to warm up. Fortunately, the Seahawks' offensive ineptitude meant the Broncos didn't pay for the slow start, and Orton eventually was able to take advantage of their lapses, especially in a second-half touchdown march marked by several long completions in succession. But against a better team, Denver would likely have been in a giant hole by then -- and that's a problem for what John Fox would like to establish as a run-first team.
Which brings us to Timmy. Yes, he threw a couple of good passes, including one on-the-run toss to tight end Daniel Fells that demonstrated nice touch, and suggested that he could be more effective in an offense tailored to get him out of the pocket. But he frequently looked confused, as when a quick out was well defensed, causing him to fidget in the middle of the line before being snowed under, and he had difficulty holding onto the ball. (Two fumbles is two too many.) And while he can certainly make things happen with his legs, as he showed on a nineteen-yard run after things fell apart again, he also took off too early on at least one occasion, leading to the sort of sack he didn't need to take. None of that inspires confidence.
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Yes, Tebow's play can be exciting. But nothing he did on Saturday suggested his development is even close to where it needs to be to truly threaten Orton for the first-string position. So get comfortable on the bench, Tim. You'll be spending a lot of time there this season.
Look below for highlights from the game: