Tag:John Fox
Posted on: August 23, 2011 3:47 pm

Tim Tebow the *fourth* best QB in Denver now?

Posted by Will Brinson

My poor colleague Ryan Wilson -- determined to see whether or not Tim Tebow could take over the top spot on the Broncos depth chart at quarterback, he fired up the "Tebow Tracker" for all of Denver's preseason games. It's turned out to be an exercise in futility, as Tebow quickly lost out on the starting job to Kyle Orton.

That's not the full extent of the bad news for Tebow, either. John Fox called the Florida product a "work in progress" and it seems as if he's getting beat out for the second-string spot by Brady Quinn. (You probably knew that, but read the sentence again anyway.)

But wait -- there's more! According to Yahoo Sports Mike Silver, Tebow might not even be the third best quarterback in Denver right now.

"If everything was totally equal, and this were a competition based only on performance at this camp, Tebow would probably be the fourth-string guy," a highly knowledgable member of the Broncos organization told Silver on Monday. "Kyle is far and away the best, and Tebow’s way behind Quinn, too.

"And I’m telling you, Adam Weber is flat-out better right now."
Can Tebow make it as an NFL QB?

Adam Weber, for those that don't know, is the former quarterback of the Minnesota Golden Gophers who was signed by Denver as an undrafted free agent once the lockout ended. He is also pictured above, right.

He's the all-time leader for touchdowns passes in Golden Gopher football history and he passed for more than 2,500 yards in each of his four seasons with Minnesota. He compiled 72 touchdowns over that time to 51 interceptions.

On the other hand, Weber did not win the Heisman Trophy, nor did he win a BCS Championship. And he was not reached for in the first round of the NFL Draft just two years ago.

That's precisely why things are not "totally equal" -- Tebow cost the Broncos too much for them to relegate him to the practice squad, even if Fox feels like the most controversial quarterback in the NFL these days can't become a legitimate NFL quarterback.

Somewhere, though, Merrill Hoge is smiling.

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Posted on: August 22, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2011 3:39 pm

John Fox: Kyle Orton to be Broncos starter

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

So much for Tim Tebow as the Broncos starting quarterback. So much for Denver trying to trade away Kyle Orton. While perhaps those were decisions former coach Josh McDaniels would have made, those scenarios didn’t interest John Fox.

Which is why he told reporters today, via the Denver Post, that Orton will be his starting quarterback for Week 1 of the regular season.

Broncos and Quarterbacks
This shouldn’t be a huge surprise, because it’s been clear since the first practice of training camp that Orton was many levels ahead of Tim Tebow when it came to performing as a legit starting NFL quarterback (and, you know, when Fox called Tebow “a work in progress,” that wasn’t great news for him either). In the second preseason game, Orton completed 10 of 13 passes to seal his spot.

Meanwhile, Fox said he wasn’t going to name a second-string quarterback any time soon, though it’s clear that it very well could be Brady Quinn, who played well in the second preseason game after he replaced Orton.

Another sign that Quinn could be No. 2 was when the Denver Post’s Jeff Legwold wrote, “The feeling is that if Orton got injured in a regular-season game, it would be Quinn who would go in for him because of his experience. Quinn has shown big-time improvement over last season when previous coach Josh McDaniels rarely worked him in practices -- Quinn called 2010 a 'very, very tough year' -- and may have the most raw arm strength of any Broncos quarterback."

For now, it seems like Tebow has fallen to third on the depth chart, and he’s got many miles to go to catch Orton.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:01 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 6:25 pm

John Fox on Tim Tebow: 'A work in progress'

Posted by Will Brinson

The quarterback stats from Thursday night's tilt in Dallas between the Cowboys and Broncos could lead you to believe that Tim Tebow is working his way up the depth chart and into the veteran-favoring heart of John Fox.

Not so fast my friend -- Fox quickly dismissed any notion that Kyle Orton wasn't running the show in Denver by calling Tebow a "work in progress."

"Quarterbacking-wise, I thought Kyle was sharp and I thought Tim is a work in progress," Fox said, per the Denver Post. "[Tebow] made some things happen. He's learning, and I thought Brady [Quinn] stepped in and did a decent job, scored some points to take the lead."

As Ryan and I note in our AFC West podcast preview, when you're being compared to unfavorably to Brady Quinn, well, things aren't going as well as the stats might indicate.

And as I've said over and over again, this is John Fox team. He's not exactly inclined to start younger quarterbacks, because he prefers not to see ridiculous mistakes that put his defense in a bad position.

It's highly unlikely that Tebow starts the season (dependent on an Orton injury, really) and it's even less likely that he sees meaningful action during the season as long as the Broncos are in contention, regardless of how many six-for-seven, 90-yard games he puts up during the preseason.

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Posted on: August 10, 2011 12:11 pm

More proof that Tebow won't be Broncos' starter

Posted by Ryan Wilson

A brief recap of the Broncos' 2010 season: They won four games. Josh McDaniels was fired after 13 weeks. First-round pick Tim Tebow started the final three games for an injured Kyle Orton, and went 1-2.

Then the lockout happened, followed by rampant speculation that Orton would be traded and Tebow would assume his rightful place under center (or, more likely, in the shotgun). And up until a week or so ago, that seemed to be the plan. Then the Dolphins couldn't pull the trigger on an Orton deal (making fans -- and for different reasons, Chad Henne -- very sad), the Broncos had a depth-chart change of heart, and now Orton is the starter in Denver and Tebow has been reduced to battling Brady Quinn for the No. 2 job.

Still, for as much as Dolphins fans wanted Orton, Broncos fans seem just as enamored with Tebow. "My last goal playing quarterback is to win over the fans," Orton said Monday, according to the Denver Post. (Note to Henne: this is what you say to the media, not some variation of, "Yeah, that really hurt my feelings.")

ESPN's Rick Reilly writes that Tebow isn't ready for the starting job.

"He's a great young man who is really working hard," Broncos Executive VP of Football Operations John Elway told Reilly. "But he didn't get an offseason to work on [playing from the pocket]. He didn't get much of that in college. And it's a completely different thing than the shotgun. Plus, he's only had the one season. But he's an amazing football player. I'd never give up on Tim Tebow."

Well, that's great news. Weeks after it appeared that it was Tebow's job to lose, not only did he lose it, but now Elway won't ever give up on him.

Either way, Orton's the Broncos' starter. The depth chart tells us as much, but according to Reilly there are other indications, too.

“The other way you know it’s over is that Orton is talking to Tebow again. He didn’t talk to him all last year. He told people it was because Tebow was a ‘rookie,’ but it was more than that. Tebow, ever gracious, kept talking with reporters every day. A lot of the players thought he should’ve stopped, in deference to the starter, Orton, who was getting scrums one-tenth the size.”

As PFT notes, the locker room is firmly behind Orton. Even though the fans appear to support Tebow.

"My first goal is to win over my teammates, to win over my coaches, and I think I'm well on my way to doing that," said Orton on Monday.

"I'll tell you this, just my nature, I am very much a people pleaser," Tebow said last week. "I like making people smile."

Apparently, those people don't include the Broncos' front office and coaching staff making out the depth chart. Or Merril Hoge.

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Posted on: August 7, 2011 11:28 am

Smith points finger at Fox for dwindling output

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It wasn't long ago that the Panthers' Steve Smith was considered one of the most dangerous wide receivers in the game. In recent years, however, his output has fallen off a cliff. He hauled in 78 passes for 1,421 yards in 2008 only to see his yards receiving drop by 439 yards from 2008 to 2009, and it dropped another 428 yards from '09 to '10 (to a six-year low of 554).

Smith's dwindling production coincides with Carolina's three-year slide from playoff team to one of the worst outfits in the league. Also not helping: the revolving door at quarterback; Jake Delhomme was released after the 2009 season, and Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen combined for two wins in 2010. Now it's only a matter of time before 2011 first-overall pick Cam Newton finds the field.

It's a culmination of all these things, as well as the conservative system former head coach John Fox seemed to favor -- not Smith's age -- that had everything to do with decidedly pedestrian numbers. At least that's the story Smith's telling.

"I respect coach Fox and I respect the offensive coordinators that have been here," Smith said, according to the Charlotte Observer. "But at the same time I'm a wide receiver. Run blocking is not my forte.

"It is nice to have layers, have multiple sets, not to just be stacking to one spot for 70 plays," Smith said of Carolina's new offense now under the direction or Rob Chudzinski. "I get to line up in different spots. It's just refreshing. It's not saying, 'Well, we're going to move you around,' and then never do it. Here they're actually saying it and it's happening. It's not just me. It's other guys as well."

The Panthers are making a conscious decision to move away from Fox's run-first scheme. Last week the organization traded for former Bears tight end Greg Olsen, and Newton wasn't selected first overall to hand the ball off.

"The quarterbacks are doing what has not been done around here in a long time. The philosophy in years past has been not to screw it up," Smith said. "And here it's put your foot down on the gas pedal and go hard. So I like that."

One of the liberating things about going 2-14 in 2010 is that there isn't much pressure on the Panthers in 2011. New head coach Ron Rivera isn't yet on the hot seat (though we imagine it's only a matter of time), and expectations couldn't be lower. In that sense, it's a great time to be a Carolina fan. (Okay, that was a bit much, even for us.)

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Posted on: August 5, 2011 11:57 am

Tebow on starting job: 'it was grabbed back away'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

After an offseason filled with promise, the reality of what it means to be an NFL quarterback has slapped Tim Tebow across the face. It wasn't long ago that Tebow was thought to be the Broncos' future. Kyle Orton was on the trading block, the team's 2010 first-round pick would assume his role under center and get Denver back to winning and the playoffs, all would be right with the world. 

Except a deal to send Orton to the Dolphins fell through, Orton promptly outplayed Tebow in practice, and then Merril Hoge took to Twitter to announce (with many, many exclamation points), among other things, that "It's embarrassing to think the Broncos could win with Tebow!!"

Tebow responded to Hoge via Twitter with a "'preciate that," and even LeBron James came to his defense.

On Thursday, Tebow, speaking with the Denver Post's Woody Paige, sounded, well, frustrated with the recent turn of events (and understandably so).

"My dream, since I was a young boy, of being a starting quarterback in the NFL seemed to be coming true," Tebow told Paige. "Then, I felt like it was grabbed back away. . . ."

Tebow, we think, is referring to the trade-that-didn't-materialize that would've shipped Orton out of town. While new head coach John Fox has publicly stated that the job is Orton's, the word on the street is that he will be under center when the Broncos begin the season.

As for the media criticism, Tebow, like Chad Henne in Miami, has had trouble ignoring it.

"I'm trying to insulate myself from what people in the media are saying, but I've seen some of it, and it hurts because it's coming from people who haven't seen me practice, haven't seen me play, haven't seen what I can do," he said, according to Paige. "I did an interview the other day with someone on the NFL Network who said last year I'd never play a down in the NFL. He was wrong.

"Others who say I won't make it are wrong. They don't know what I'm capable of and what's inside me. My family and my friends have been bothered by what's gone on, and I tell them to pay no attention to it. I'm relying as always on my faith."

As we mentioned on Friday's Eye on Football Podcast, we think most people would agree that Orton gives the Broncos the best chance to win now, although Tebow could one day be an NFL starting QB. It's just that the day hasn't arrived yet. So while Hoge's sentiments aren't particularly controversial, the way he delivered them clearly rubbed some people the wrong way, including Tebow.

So is that a problem? Or is public criticism part of the implicit deal professional athletes make when they sign lucrative contracts and play on national television every week?

Because, clearly, Tebow and Henne would disagree with that last paragraph.

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Posted on: August 3, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: August 3, 2011 11:21 pm

Merril Hoge thinks Orton deserves job over Tebow

Posted by Ryan Wilson

UPDATED (11:20 p.m. ET): Tebow has issued his reponse to Hoge's criticisms. Wrote Tebow on his Twitter account: "Hey Merril ...... 'ppreciate that."


After an offseason that included new Broncos head coach John Fox announcing that the starting quarterback gig was a three-man race, and constant rumors that Kyle Orton would be traded as soon as the lockout was over, it should be something of a surprise that just a few days into training camp, Orton appears to be running away with the job.

Then again, this is the NFL, where obfuscation is as much apart of strategizing as watching film and formulating game plans. Maybe the Broncos coaching staff had designs on starting Tebow this season, and perhaps that could still happen. But based on a handful of practices, and a Wednesday morning Twitter diatribe by ESPN analyst and former NFL running back Merril Hoge, who spends much of his time watching game tape, Tebow isn't quite ready for the responsibility. Not yet, anyway.

This isn't the first time Hoge has been outspoken about a young quarterback. During a 2008 radio interview, he spoke frankly about then-Titans QB Vince Young.

"He's a baby," Hoge told Pittsburgh's WDVE at the time. "He's a soft baby. He's been a baby since they .... I stumbled across people who recruited him in college. They really tried to get him to go to Oklahoma. One of reasons they stopped their recruiting process was because he was such a baby . . . He was the most immature crybaby they ever met. He was soft; he wasn't tough."

A year later, he softened his stance, lauding Young for his improved play.

And while Hoge doesn't have the vitriol for Tebow that he previously expressed for Young, the two players have similar playing styles. As PFT's Michael David Smith points out, "When Tebow was a star at Florida, he was a great fit for the Gators’ spread offense, but he wasn’t asked to do the things an NFL quarterback does, and his throwing motion looked awkward. Hoge says that Tebow’s throwing motion hasn’t improved and his accuracy is a mess."

We've seen this movie before. And it explains a Wednesday report from ESPN's Adam Schefter that not only will the Broncos keep Orton this year, they plan to start him, too.

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 9:29 am
Edited on: August 2, 2011 11:49 am

Orton running away with Broncos QB competition

Posted by Will Brinson

All offseason long, two things about the Broncos have been assumed. One, that Kyle Orton will be traded at some point. And two, that Tim Tebow will just take over and run the Denver offense and succeed like he did at Florida.

OK, we didn't all assume that -- some of us knew John Fox wouldn't want a youngster like Tebow running his offense. But Denver seemed headed in that direction anyway.

One problem: Tebow's getting absolutely torched by Orton thus far in camp.

Like, to the point where Orton is the only guy getting reps with the No. 1 offense, according to the Denver Post's Mike Klis.

"[Tebow] and Brady Quinn are neck and neck in the battle for the No. 2 quarterback spot," Klis wrote Monday.
Orton's Offseason

Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated, also dispatched to Denver's camp, writes that Orton has "clearly separated himself" from Tebow and Quinn, though he notes that it's not out of the realm of possibility that Tebow could still wind up starting.

And it's not -- Denver has a lot invested in him, would probably like to see him succeed (or at least succeed enough to trade him), and clearly doesn't see Orton as the answer (given that they put him on the block).

But as I said a few weeks ago, this is a Fox-run team and expecting to see Tebow take over for a vet like Orton is kind of a long-shot.

Especially when there's such a clear-cut talent discrepancy between the two on the field.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com