TORONTO - There’s nothing new about quarterback controversies. One or two will pop up every season simply because there are more teams than quality quarterbacks ... no matter what the league.
So, this Kyle Orton versus Tim Tebow thing that has developed in Denver is hardly shocking, given the fact that Orton seems to be a chronic under-achiever while Tebow is the all-American kid despite a lack of experience and serious mechanical flaws.
But this particular debate has taken on a different twist and seems to have developed into a personal grudge by ESPN’s Merril Hoge, a former NFL running back, against the defender of truth and justice and the American way by the King himself — LeBron James, not Elvis.
The Broncos, themselves, opened this particular can of worms when they tried and failed to peddle Orton to the Dolphins. That ratcheted up the hopes of the pro-Tebow forces.
This was followed by new head coach John Fox declaring that the No. 1 quarterback position was wide open and let the best man win. For whatever the reason, this declaration was akin to waving a red cape at a bull, a bull with the last name of Hoge.
On Wednesday, Hoge let go with a series of tweets, every one of them a shovel-load of dirt in Tebow’s face. Among the criticisms penned by Hoge were the following: “Sitting watching tape of Bronco offense from last year! Orton or Tebow? It’s embarrassing to think the Broncos could win with Tebow!!”
This was followed by: “Orton or Tebow? QB play is not just about who works hard gives rare rare college speeches or who is a good guy!! Because Orton works hard and is a good guy as well. It’s about who can play!!”
Then there was: “That throwing motion he changed? U can’t change who u r! Just watched 2 throws and he throws like he did in college!!”
Tebow responded by showing a maturity beyond his years — and a sense of humour — as he replied on Twitter: “Hey Merril...... ‘ppreciate that.”
This was apparently too much for LeBron, who charged to Tebow’s defence.
“Listened to Merril Hoge on SC and he was just blasting Tebow,” went LeBron’s tweet. “The man hasn’t even play a full season and its only his 2nd year in. Guys get on that TV and act like they was all WORLD when they played. How bout encouraging him and wishing him the best instead of hating!!”
James added: “Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL. He’s a hard worker, a student of the game, a natural born leader and most of all a WINNER! It takes time and he’ll be nice.”
But it didn’t end there.
On Thursday morning on the Mike & Mike in the Morning show on ESPN, Hoge let loose with a few more volleys, most of it soil that had already been ploughed.
He went on about how Tebow “had no business” being drafted as a quarterback, how he should have been a sixth- or seventh-round pick at best and how his throwing motion in times of stress reverts to the looping motion that he deployed at Florida.
Hoge also declared that the Broncos created this mess because, in the act of making him a first-round pick, they now have a “political nightmare.”
By pounding away so long and so hard, Hoge is making himself the story, which may well be what his intention was all along.
In Denver, though, the debate over who should be the starting QB has just begun and in all liklihood will continue throughout the season.
Just what Fox and the Broncos need.
Braylon running wrong route
Wide receiver Braylon Edwards is still looking for a job and perhaps someone should explain to him that it doesn’t help his prospects by getting into bar brawls.
But then again, we’re talking about the NFL here and who knows, maybe it could be viewed as a benefit, proof that you are a team player and have the necessary feistiness.
A statement from South Bar, in Birmingham, Mich., implicated Edwards in an incident that occurred earlier in the week where two of his cousins were charged with felonious assault after allegedly attacking two bouncers with a pocket knife and a fork.
“Braylon Edwards was present and involved, but it’s an ongoing police investigation, so at this time, we don’t have any further information,” the bar confirmed in a published report.
Police confirmed that they may arrest a third person connected with the incident — and that would be Edwards, who is on probation for a drunk-driving conviction in New York.
At the time of the incident, there was a post on Edwards’ Twitter account that read: “Damn. Get ya knuckles ready” and “Don’t fight if. You don’t know how.”
In a the-dog-ate-my-homework defence, Edwards later deleted the post and claimed that his account was hacked.
The other day, Jets coach Rex Ryan said he’d welcome Edwards back at the right price, but the thinking is that he will eventually sign with the 49ers. If he’s not doing jail time, that is.
Eagle's condition serious, after all
The news concerning Philadelphia’s Mike Patterson has taken a turn for the worse as the defensive tackle has been diagnosed with a brain condition that may require surgery.
On Wednesday, Patterson dropped to the ground between drills and went into a seizure. At the time, it was believed the seizure may have been heat-related and later that day, reports were that Patterson was alert and joking and was responding to treatment after being taken to hospital.
Further testing revealed that the 300-pound Patterson has been diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which is the tangling of blood vessels near the skull.
“We’re pretty sure it’s what caused the seizure and we’re pretty sure it’s not football-related,” Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder told the media. “It just so happened at football practice. It could’ve happened anywhere.”
Burkholder added that Patterson is on medication to prevent another seizure.
A nice problem to have, Donovan
Donovan McNabb is on his second team since last being a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, but the veteran quarterback still appears to hold a grudge against them, or at least a streak of jealousy.
When asked about all the moves that the Eagles have made and the tremendous upgrades, McNabb’s response was revealing.
“I was there for 11 years, and the biggest thing we brought in was T.O. (Terrell Owens),” McNabb told CBSSports.com.
“Now they’re getting the so-called Dream Team. It’s amazing, but I look back on my career and what they’re doing now ... that’s great, that’s excellent. But you’re seeing another side. You’re seeing Andy (Reid) taking that chance. It’s not just taking that chance on one guy. They’re taking a chance on a bunch of guys.”
And that collection of talent, McNabb continued, could lead to problems.
“You’ve got to worry about DeSean (Jackson),” McNabb said. “When he comes back, are you going to give DeSean the ball or throw it to (Jeremy) Maclin? Remember, you have to give LeSean McCoy the ball, too. And then at the end you still have to pay Mike Vick. They have more problems than people are looking at.”
We wonder if McNabb would view that array of talent a problem if it existed on his new team, the Vikings?
Divorce driving Tiki to Dolphins?
It was an uphill battle from the get-go, but Tiki Barber’s NFL comeback at least got out of the starting blocks with reports that the former New York Giants running back worked out for the Miami Dolphins.
Barber, who admits that he is basically broke, is 36 and has not played since he retired following the 2006 season.
Barber appeared to be going out on a high note. He rushed for 1,662 yards with five touchdowns in ’06 and claimed at the time he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Following his retirement, Barber moved on to TV where he served as a commentator for NBC’s Football Night in America and the Today show before losing those gigs because of personal issues stemming from his stepping out on his wife, then eight months pregnant, with a 23-year-old chickie.
Now he is broke and claims he can’t afford his divorce settlement which has spawned his decision to put the pads back on.
Meanwhile, Barber’s agent, Mark Lepselter, said that the veteran running back is “ready to go.”
“We’re confident, when the opportunity comes, the rest will take care of itself,” Lepselter told Fox Sports. “It was an in-depth workout and meeting that I believe was beneficial for both sides.”
Why would the Dolphins be interested in Barber after they acquired Reggie Bush from the Saints in a trade?
Well, they are thin at the position after deciding not to re-sign their top two rushers from last season — Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown — and are looking for backup help.
It would be a long shot, though, if their search ended with Barber.
Jets new wide receiver Plaxico Buress is on the limp for a day or two after he tweaked his left ankle while running routes with teammate Santonio Holmes. “It’s nothing serious,” Burress said. “It’s just a little swelling.” Burress was signed by the Jets last Sunday after serving 20 months in prison on a gun charge ... Former Bills safety Donte Whitner has signed a two-year, $4-million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.