Posted by Ryan Wilson
It happens every time a team hires a new coach: he populates the roster with players from his previous team, ostensibly because he knows them better than the players he just inherited. Rex Ryan brought Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard with him to New York from Baltimore, Josh McDaniels had Jabar Gaffney from New England, and the Cardinals are now known as Steelers West because Ken Whisenhunt has yet to meet a former Pittsburgh player he wouldn't sign in Arizona.
Which brings us to John Fox, the new guy in Denver, who likely spends his days trying to figure out who will be the Broncos starting quarterback once the season starts. Kyle Orton seems the obvious choice after passing for almost 7,500 yards and 41 touchdowns the last two seasons. But Denver also drafted Tim Tebow in the first round of the 2010 draft, and it wasn't to convert him to tight end. Like it or not, Tebow will be in the mix for the job once training camps start, and there has been interest from quarterback-needy teams in Orton's services should he become available.
In Sunday's Denver Post, Mike Klis writes about the ambiguity surrounding the Broncos quarterback situation and the issues that come with naming Orton or Tebow the starter.
"Orton would be a controversial starter to the enormous contingent of Tim Tebow followers, and to those who believe the Broncos can't move on until they find out whether the memoirist can cut it as a winning NFL quarterback," Klis notes before adding, "Tebow would be a controversial choice to those who don't believe he's ready, and because his enormous fame and squeaky-clean image seems to polarize the masses.
"The Broncos could begin the season with Orton as the starter and Tebow the backup, so long as Fox understands that the tension of starting the clock on Tebow Time would be wound tight. If Tebow is the starter, Orton would be too disgruntled, and rightly so."
That last bit sounds familiar.
Klis then puts forth an idea that only Fox could get behind: "For Tebow to properly develop, he needs a backup who knows his place. ...Jake Delhomme would make sense in helping Tebow and the Broncos transition into the Fox era."
The only problem is that if Tebow got injured during the season, Delhomme would, you know, have to actually play. Fox has firsthand experience with what Bad Jake can do to an offense, although the man did cry when the Panthers released Delhomme a year ago. But no one -- not even Fox, presumably -- thought the Browns were shrewd in paying Delhomme $7 million in 2010 when it was clear he had nothing left.
That said, Delhomme dutifully assumed his role as backup and mentor to rookie Colt McCoy last season. There's no reason to think he wouldn't be willing to do the same for Tebow, especially if it reunited him with Fox. It just has to be with the understanding that Tebow is a long way from being a consistent NFL starting quarterback. If fans have the patience to let Tebow learn by doing (and let's be honest, "fanaticism" and "tolerance" aren't often mentioned in the same breath), it could accelerate his progress.
On the other hand, the Broncos traded franchise quarterback Jay Cutler to the Bears after the 2008 season. We're not convinced moving Orton just so Tebow can play is in the long-term best interests of the organization. It probably goes without saying, but Broncos fans have McDaniels to thank for all this.
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