Things change so damn quickly in the NFL. This was supposed to be Tim Tebow’s showcase season as the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback, but it became apparent last week that Tebow had taken a back seat to Kyle Orton, who is by all indications sticking around for another year.
But now there’s word that Tebow could be getting a run for his money from, of all people, Brady Quinn.
The Denver Post was surprised to see that Tebow was still ahead of Quinn when the team released its first depth chart on yesterday, noting that “Quinn mostly worked with the second-team offense in team drills, including two-minute situations” on Tuesday.
That Quinn might be outperforming Tebow in training camp is a very bad sign. We expected the experienced and underrated Orton to easily win the starting job once it was apparent he wasn’t going to be traded this summer, but Quinn has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the league since being drafted by the Browns in 2007.
Quinn’s in-game numbers have been abysmal, but he’s also developed a reputation as a quarterback who struggles in practice and training camp. He doesn’t have the arm strength, he doesn’t have the accuracy, and he was written off by, of all teams, the Browns.
And yet he’s challenging Tim Tebow for the backup quarterback job in Denver?
Maybe this is a strategic ploy from John Fox and Mike McCoy. Maybe they’re trying to light a fire under Tebow. Maybe he really isn’t in jeopardy of losing the No. 2 spot to Quinn. But the fact that the organization would feel the need to do such a thing is discouraging on its own.
This regime can split with Tebow without looking silly. He was Josh McDaniels’ draft pick, not Fox’s. And although general manager Brian Xanders was around when the team drafted Tebow last April, it’s become clear that Xanders didn’t wield much power in the draft room.
Even if the Tebow experiment won’t work in Denver, and even if Tebow won’t ever be a franchise quarterback in this league, he’ll have value somewhere. Like Reggie Bush, Tebow was dominant in college football and has a unique skill set that makes him useful in the pro game.
But like Bush, there’s a good chance he’ll never be a star at the top level.