Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Pat Yasinskas' QB Watch
By Pat Yasinskas
Quarterback Tim Tebow has helped lead the Denver Broncos to five consecutive victories.
When John Fox walked into the hotel lobby at the NFL owners meeting in New Orleans in March, I knew I'd seen this guy before.
He was tan, relaxed and constantly joking, just like the Fox I first met when he was interviewing for theáCarolina Panthers' head-coaching job back in 2002. Nearly a decade had passed, but Fox looked young and loose again -- so much different than in his last few years in Carolina.
That's because Fox had recently become head coach of the Denver Broncos. Sometimes change can be a wonderful thing.
Fox and John Elway might be wise in keeping that in mind as they ponder what seems like a complex future for the Broncos. In fact, Fox and Elway might be making that future much more complex than it really needs to be.
Year of the Quarterback
ESPN has dedicated 2011 to examining one of the most crucial positions in all of sports -- the quarterback. Year of the QB ╗
Looks to me now like Fox's escape from Carolina was only a temporary escape from a permanent position as one of the most conventional coaches in the NFL. He and Elway, the team's executive vice president of football operations and perhaps the best stereotypical drop-back passer of all time, seem to be having a hard time embracing quarterback Tim Tebow.
There's talk the Broncos could go out and draft a more conventional quarterback. Or they could sign one in free agency. I can't guarantee anything, but I'm pretty sure Jake Delhomme and Kyle Orton will be available in March.
Is that really what the Broncos need?
No, Fox and Elway need to forget convention and stereotypes and fully commit to the quarterback who has helped them win six of their last seven games, including five in a row. If nothing else, Tebow has shown uncanny intangibles, and all those wins back at the University of Florida didn't come by accident.
Look, I'll be the first to admit I didn't think Tebow was an NFL quarterback. To start with, he doesn't throw the ball anything like an NFL quarterback. He's a running back, fullback or tight end lining up at quarterback and, somehow, making things happen.
Fox and Elway need to do Tebow and themselves a big favor. They need to accept Tebow for what he is and not bash him for what he is not.
Sure, go ahead and add somebody who was bred as a pocket passer (word is Jimmy Clausen could be available) as an alternative for next year. But Tebow's earned the right to open next season as the starter and to do it in an offense that's suited to his skills.
Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is a bright guy who has a much more open mind than Fox and Elway. Whenever this season ends -- and that might not come for a while if Tebow continues his magic -- Fox and Elway should let McCoy disappear for a month.
When he comes back, McCoy should be allowed to hand Tebow a playbook that can put him in consistent positions to succeed. The guy deserves that because he's done a nice job of putting the Broncos in a nice position by simply winging it.
Quarterback | Carolina Panthers ... Next Game: 12/11 vs. ATL
Speaking of running backs playing quarterback, Newton now holds the record for most rushing touchdowns (13) in a season by a quarterback. He still has four games left. Newton also has the Panthers on the first winning streak they've been on since 2009. The guy has had a fantastic rookie season already. But it can get a lot better, and generate a lot of hope for next year, if he can win a few more games down the stretch.
Quarterback | Houston Texans ... Next Game: 12/11 at CIN
If it seems like only two weeks ago I was writing a QB Watch about how a good team can win with a backup, it's because it was only two weeks ago. Yates is walking proof of that. Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart went down. Yates stepped right in and the Texans didn't miss a beat.
Quarterback | Philadelphia Eagles ... Next Game: 12/11 at MIA
Coach Andy Reid has been taking all sorts of heat for the Eagles crumbling. Well, he deserves every bit of it. When you know that Michael Vick's style of play lends itself to injuries, you probably shouldn't trade Kevin Kolb. Even if you do, go out and find a veteran backup whose highlight of the season isn't going to be setting you up for all of the "Dream Team" jokes.
Quarterback | Baltimore Ravens ... Next Game: 12/11 vs. IND
Yeah, I know Baltimore has won four games in a row. But I'm looking at Flacco's recent numbers and I can't help wondering: Does John Harbaugh think he's Brian Billick and it's 2000 and Trent Dilfer is running this offense? Flacco's not a bad quarterback. The Ravens need to let him play.