Denver Broncos biggest trade deadline loser? Team's actions about sucking for Andrew Luck?

Yesterday's NFL trade deadline came and went, and while there were plenty of rumors that Kyle Orton would be on the move, he's still here the morning after -- and so are most of the other players rumored to be going bye-bye. The only departers are receivers Brandon Lloyd and Eron Riley, who the Jets signed off the practice squad. These results led one blogger to dub Denver one of the most notable trade-deadline losers -- and another to surmise the Broncos are sucking for Luck.

Bleacher Report's John Hickey slaps the "loser" label on Denver's efforts. Here's his rationale:

The 1-4 Broncos had a chance to clear out some veterans who don't figure to play for them much the rest of the way, and they didn't get it done.

Kyle Orton, the one-time starting quarterback, has been benched in favor of Tim Tebow, and Denver couldn't put together a deal that would get Orton and his contract off the roster.

Add to that veteran safety Brian Dawkins, who doesn't figure to help a team that is going to get a lot younger before it gets a lot better.

Likewise, the DC Pro Sports Report's self-proclaimed "World's Most Prestigious Power Poll" ranks Denver at number 29, ahead of only Indianapolis, St. Louis and Jacksonville. The item's blurb reads:

Congratulations, Tim Tebow -- they're trading away your receivers! New boss John Elway went to Stanford and it sure looks like he intends to suck for Luck.

Both of these comments sting. The loss of Lloyd, the Bronco best at catching passes thrown in his vicinity (as opposed to perfect strikes), is a big loss for Tebow, whose accuracy is seldom described as pinpoint. His departures thins the receiving corps, and if there are any additional injuries, Denver won't have Riley, who turned heads during preseason, as a backup. That means Eric Decker, who'd developed an impressive connection with Orton, must do likewise with Tebow. Moreover, Eddie Royal, who's either been injured or barely visible this season, and Demaryius Thomas, a wide-out with huge potential but a propensity to get hurt, have to start producing as well, or Tebow will be running for his life even more than he would under other circumstances.

Predictably, Tebow, who's never shied away from the spotlight, is embracing the opportunities that come to a starting quarterback. This morning, for example, KOA/850 AM, the Broncos' radio broadcaster, announced a new package of appearances by the Chosen One; he'll be heard Mondays at 8:20 a.m. During Colorado's Morning News, Fridays at 5:20 p.m. during The Dave Logan Show, on game day during the Broncos Countdown to Kickoff pregame show, and after the contest as part of the Broncos Locker Room report.

Whether he'll have anything happy to share is another question. At this point, the Broncos seem willing to let him sink or swim on his own, and the lack of life rafts provided suggests they're okay with either option. If he's great, fine -- and if he's not, his lousy performances may finally convince his rabid supporters that the football intelligentsia was right about him not having the skill set to succeed as an NFL quarterback, and they can blessedly move on.

Whether the results on the field will be disastrous enough to get the Broncos into the Andrew Luck sweepstakes is another question. Clearly, Tebow isn't going to tank the season on purpose, and if he pulls out just enough wins to push the team a few spots back in the draft, the dream of the acclaimed Stanford quarterback coming to Denver's rescue, John Elway-style, will evaporate mighty fast.

For their part, fans may be left to watch a disaster of Biblical proportions -- unless a True Believer somehow manages to beat the odds.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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