Tebow Gets the Call; Orton Takes the Fall for 1-4

Tim Tebow

TEBOW: ... will make his fourth career start.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –It will truly be “Gator Day” at Sun Life Stadium in 12 days.

The Dolphins have had that promotion planned for months, much to the consternation of supporters of other universities — and to their co-tenants, the University of Miami football program. Now it will be accentuated by the fourth career start of former UF legend Tim Tebow, who was officially promoted to the top line of the Broncos’ depth chart Tuesday morning.

“We’re in a production-based business, and we’re a 1-4 football team. I’m a 1-4 head coach. We’ve got a 1-4 coaching staff; we’ve got a 1-4 team,” Fox said.

“It’s my job — our job — to make decisions to try to change that. We’ll see if this is one that can do that.”

The last time Tebow played a football game on the Sun Life Stadium field, in January 2009, he led Florida to a national-championship-game win over Oklahoma. The circumstances of the teams will be slightly different; if the Dolphins lose this Sunday while the Broncos have their bye, the teams will be a combined 1-9 heading into the contest.

But the past — and the promotion — have scant impact on Tebow’s present.

“I’m very excited about it, not that it’s Miami or it’s Florida, but it’s the opportunity to start for the Denver Broncos and that truly is an honor and a privilege,” Tebow said.

“I haven’t even thought about (Gator Day). It is extremely nice of them. It’s great memories but on that day I will be focused on being a Denver Bronco and trying to go out there and compete to the best of my ability.”

Fox told the team at a meeting Tuesday morning.

“He just announced it,” tight end Daniel Fells said. “(Fox) let us know, ‘Look, we’re making a switch. It doesn’t mean that it’s just one guy’s fault. We all have to go out there and do our part; otherwise it can be anyone else.’”

Given the quarterback change Tuesday and the mid-game tactical shift of replacing team sack leader Von Miller in the base defense struggling with some run-defense assignments, the message rattling through the locker room is clear: everyone’s on notice.

“Any time you’re in this situation, guys know that if you don’t perform or produce, you’ll be replaced. That’s what Coach Fox said in the meeting,” defensive end Jason Hunter said.

“He (Fox) was like, ‘Nobody in here is un-expendable.’ That means anybody can be replaced. Anybody. Guys should know that — come to work every day, do what you’re supposed to do and execute under pressure.”

“No job is safe,” added linebacker Joe Mays. “You always have to go out and work hard. Prepare to be successful. Either that or prepare to fail. If that happens, you’re going to be on the sidelines.”

Fox didn’t specify any other lineup changes under consideration.

“Again, we’re going to look and do whatever we can to try to win football games,” he said. “We’ll do that from this point forward, and we’ve been doing that up to this point.”

But as Orton takes the fall, his teammates understand it could be any of them who’s next.

“We’re all disappointed for Kyle because it almost implicates him in a way that the reason we’re 1-4 is his fault. It’s not the case. It could’ve been me. It could’ve been anybody on this team,” cornerback Andre’ Goodman said.

“None of us are doing a good enough job to make plays and help us win. As disappointed as you are for Kyle, kind of excited for Tebow because he’s getting a chance. We’re just hoping it translates into some wins.”

If it doesn’t, there could be another change down the road, because above all, it was a lack of wins that sent Orton to the bench.

“One-and-four has a lot to do with it,” Fox said. “We haven’t gotten it done as a football team. It’s not one guy; it’s not all Kyle Orton’s fault, but we do have to make adjustments and we do have to change, and we have to do something to win football games.”

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About Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason has covered the NFL since 1999, when he worked as an editor on NFL.com when the site was managed by ESPN.com. He worked six seasons (2002-07) covering the Broncos on their official website and two (2008-09) on the Panthers' site. He began MaxDenver.com in 2010 and now contributes to CBSSports.com, The Sporting News and The New York Times.
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7 Responses

  1. Hey Andrew – I am already reading that Tim “only has 11 games” to prove he can be a starter. I do not understand the bias (both good and bad) towards this kid that only wants an opportunity. Colt and Sam B are going on their 2nd year as starters, yet there is only talk about “giving them time to develop.” What gives? Why shouldn’t TT get this year and next? My only guess is the QB heavy draft coming up…

    • Pretty obvious, from elways own lips this yr in the draft, that they’ll ALWAYS be on the lookout to upgrade this team. If a better qb is available, then he’s an option.
      And they can only give hom 11 gms as that’s all there is this yr. TT was a late 1st, and NOT this FO’s.

    • Your dart hit the bullseye with your last sentence.

      The depth at the position means this will be the one year out of many where the quarterbacks picked won’t be reaches. More than a handful of the recent QBs have been second-or third-round prospects (e.g. talented, but with obvious, potentially fatal flaws) on whom teams reached because of the premium nature of the position.

      This year, with the depth of quarterbacks, value should be improved. I don’t expect any shocks like Christian Ponder going 12th when he seemed a more logical fit toward the end of the second round. Find a quarterback now at a decent value, or you’re left reaching in a year or two.

  2. ‘rcsodak’ made the point that this FO did not draft Tebow. Agreed so they have no ties to give him anything. Now if he ‘shows-up’ and can contribute more than a running QB, they may slide on a 1st round QB.
    Many have stated that you have to give ‘your’ 1st round QB a chance, well both 1st rounders. Quinn and Tebow have had chances to show the coaches what they have in camp and practice and have not done so.
    Are we getting ready for the Luck sweepstakes?

  3. I despised tim tebow. until the second half of sundays game. But just watching him rally in the 4th quarter realy amzed me. I look at our schedule and see only 2 SURE FIRE losses. The pats and the lions. With tim i really believe we can still push for 9 or 10 wins. I know i drink two much kool aid but a fan can hope right?

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