The enthusiasm for newly minted Bronco Tim Tebow is positively off the charts. If it's not record attendance at Broncos training camp, it's the cover of 5280 magazine, which features a head shot of Timbow and the provocative headline, "The Second Coming?"
But Les Shapiro, afternoon co-host for new radio station the Ticket, at 87.7 FM, hasn't dropped his doubts in the face of fan exuberance. Indeed, he thinks moving Tebow into the starting lineup soon would be a cataclysm of Biblical proportions.
Shapiro, the former Channel 4 sports anchor, is teaming on the Ticket with Rich "G-Man" Goins, the twenty-year Lewis & Floorwax vet, who was laid off by Clear Channel last year, and JoJo Turnbeaugh. And his debate yesterday afternoon with G-Man -- on a day when the Broncos' offense reportedly looked so bad that coach Josh McDaniels made everyone run a lap -- brought a welcome hint of skepticism to the whole Tebow frenzy.
In Shapiro's view, Tebow's throwing motion is still too long by NFL standards, despite the well-publicized tweaking he's done over the past several months, and his decision-making process is too slow. As a result, he continued, Tebow's got happy feet, and is too eager to pull down the ball and run when his first read isn't open. But while that might have worked at the University of Florida, Shapiro believes the punishment Tebow would receive if he regularly goes nose to nose with 300 pounders would significantly shorten his career. And while Shapiro thought Tebow's arm strength is better than advertised, and certainly adequate to do the job at this level, he continued to question his accuracy.
These problems can be addressed, Shapiro felt, but they'll take time to perfect. With that in mind, he maintained that throwing Tebow into the starting lineup too soon would be disastrous, guaranteeing the Broncos two seasons with a record in the 4-12 range.
That's a sacrifice G-Man would be willing to make. He said he'd rather have Tebow learn on the job even if the Broncos blow for a couple of years if the result would be an accelerated learning curve and a return to elite, Super Bowl-contending status in his third season. To him, that'd be more interesting that limping through another year or two with Kyle Orton or Brady Quinn at the helm. After all, the Broncos are unlikely to be much better with them in the saddle than they've been during the last several campaigns -- meaning the team would struggle to play .500 ball and would either miss the playoffs entirely or get knocked out immediately.
Of course, the downside to G-Man's theory is that two seasons of catastrophe might retard Tebow's progress instead of boosting it. He could lose the confidence and command that's among his best attributes.
Even so, this is a conversation worth having, and Shapiro deserves credit for sharing his harsh opinions about Tebow. There are enough people bowing down before the New Messiah already.
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