Yesterday, I predicted that last night's Broncos-Cowboys preseason opener wouldn't provide us with definitive answers when it comes to Tim Tebow's NFL future -- and it didn't. However, Denver's 24-23 loss indicated that the minority of fans arguing that Kyle Orton should start at QB are right. Tebow's play was often exciting, but also more erratic than Snooki on a bender.
Of course, Brady Quinn's second half performance -- he led two touchdown drives -- will convince some observers that he deserves to be second on the depth chart, and on most squads, he would be. But given the heat already on John Fox to play Tebow over Orton, there's no way in hell he'd bump Timmy down to the third slot. Is that a hill worth dying on? Answer: no.
Besides, Orton wasn't exactly all-world in his brief appearance. While he threw one excellent pass, to Eric Decker, he also failed to push the Broncos into the end zone after leading them inside the ten -- a chronic problem last year that doesn't seem to have vanished. Still, he looked confident, crisp and capable of dealing with the myriad decisions an NFL quarterback must make each time the pigskin smacks his palm.
Not Tebow. You could see the wheels turning as he dropped back in the pocket, and frequently, they didn't spin fast enough, prompting him overlook open receivers in favor of taking off and running. Granted, he does that very well, but he leaps to this option too quickly -- and if he doesn't figure out a way to use this skill less frequently, the only endorsement deal open to him will be Blue Cross.
His accuracy issues haven't gone away, either. Although he ultimately completed six of seven passes, that's only because his receivers caught balls in their general vicinity, as opposed to ones right on target -- and that's not to mention the stupid pick he tossed, which was waved off due to a penalty.
Moreover, Tebow remains too eager to make something happen even when nothing good is on the horizon. In that respect, he's like the young (and not so young) Brett Favre, except without a cannon arm to save him from himself.
The Broncos' defense was pretty erratic last night, too. Without the intermittent slip-ups, missed assignments and so on, Denver would have won the game -- not that it mattered. But what most viewers will take away from the game is the quarterback contest, which is clearly over. Unless he's injured, Orton will remain the Broncos' number one passer. Because, at this point anyhow, Tebow as a starter would be a thrilling disaster.
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Here are some highlights from the game:
More from our Sports archive: "ESPN's Merril Hoge would trade Tim Tebow in a heartbeat, he tells Denver radio station."