Tim Tebow, the quarterback with the biggest fan base before he even starts a game, has been selected by Bronco’s coach John Fox as the next starter when the team plays Miami after their bye week. Kyle Orton has never been appreciated by most fans of the teams he has graced (Bears and Broncos…. only two teams… go figure). Since Tebow’s draft day with the Broncos, Tebow has been collecting a surprising following each passing week – partially driven by Orton’s poor play, partially driven by his style of play and partially driven by a conspiratorial movement from the religious right (we can save that for another day…). Tebow is young, mobile and seems to possess a certain spark to his teammates, fans and play on the field. But can Tebow develop similar successes that our own Ben Roethlisberger has during his own young career?
The immediate and obvious reaction is ‘no.’
Ben Roethlisberger inherited a team that has incredible defense and a decent offense that was still focused on the running game. He started 14 games his rookie season and threw half as many passes as he does now – 295 compared to 506 in 2009. It was clear from the start that Roethlisberger was a ‘different’ kind of quarterback. His large frame and surprising agility allowed him to consistently break tackles, scramble and find an open receiver down field. When that wasn’t available, he would scramble for as many yards as possible, often putting himself in harms way by leading with his shoulders instead of sliding. He was a quarterback that truly epitomized the blue collar mentality of the Pittsburgh Steelers and rightfully earned the nickname ‘Big Ben.’ He lead the Steelers to their first Super Bowl victory since 1980 in his rookie year. His effectiveness and success so early in his career ranks among the legends and will probably be hard to top…. ever.
Tim Tebow won’t really experience the kind of early success that Ben Roethlisberger did. His Broncos rank 25th in the league in both offense and defense. They struggle to win games and good luck if they can ever finish strong with a lead in the 2nd half of games. I think Tebow gets a bad wrap. He’s on a team with a terrible offensive line – and unless you are Ben Roethlisberger, a bad offensive line spells disaster for any type of production of a young quarterback. As a young QB he certainly shows promise with some of the things he does while scrambling and running. That’s how he was built while in Florida. Most people bust his chops because his accuracy is questionable. He has a strong arm and can throw over 50 yards. His release isn’t the slowest in the league (hello Bryan Leftwich). With the right coaching (head coach and quarterback coach) Tebow has the potential to be a fairly decent quarterback. Will he be the savior to the Denver Broncos. Not even a young John Elway could bring this team from the brink of a 6-10 season (it’s early, but don’t be surprised if they lose more than eight games). But he has the potential to develop into a quarterback that can make himself a name in the league as someone who is consistent and gives his team a better chance at winning. He’s going to disappoint his following at first and may even end up getting Fox into a bit of trouble for making him the starter.
I for one am looking forward to see how this kid develops. It’s no skin off my back whether he does good or bad. And who knows maybe, it will be entertaining to see this young quarterback have some successes…. or just as entertaining to see him fail. But one thing is for sure, Tim Tebow will never amount to a Ben Roethlisberger on the football field. Off the field is a different story – you won’t see Ben writing a book about his personal struggles. But Ben has secured his place in football lore. Tim Tebow will more than likely be forgotten.