Thumbs up, thumbs down for Tebow

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Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (R) celebrates scoring a touchdown late in the fourth...

@TEXT: Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (R) celebrates scoring a touchdown late in the fourth quarter past the San Diego Chargers in their NFL football game in Denver October 9, 2011. (REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:03 PM ET

Ready or not the Tim Tebow era has arrived in Denver.

While the announcement that Tebow was taking over the starting quarterback job in Denver was made on Tuesday, it has been in the works ever since the Broncos made him their first-round pick in the 2010 draft.

Never has a selection drawn as much controversy or drawn such a division between supporters and critics as the squeaky-clean quarterback.

A legend during his time at the University of Florida, Tebow has been a centre of distraction and controversy for a team that is struggling to regain its identity in the AFC West. His supporters bring almost a religious zeal in their devotion of his perceived abilities.

The ascent of Tebow for the 1-4 Broncos is as much an indictment of failed quarterback Kyle Orton as it is anything Tebow has achieved but given the team is going nowhere under Orton and that after gambling a first-round pick on him, the Broncos want to find out now what Tebow can bring.

He may, as his critics will tell you, be a complete flop but one way or the other the Broncos must find out and thanks to Orton’s poor play, he provided John Elway, their vice-president of football operations, and new coach John Fox, with the perfect opportunity to do so.

For a player who has seldom seen the field in his brief NFL career, Tebow elicits a tremendous amount of controversy.

He has his fans and his critics and no matter which side you happen to fall on, it has become almost personal.

On the negative side, there’s the likes of Foxsports.com’s Jason Whitlock who the other day wrote:

“Yelling, screaming and fist-pumping are intangibles and motivational techniques best used by assistant coaches and middle linebackers. They have limited value on the offensive side of the ball. Defence is emotional. Offence is intellectual. Ray Lewis can’t play quarterback. And Peyton Manning can’t play middle linebacker.

“In a pass-happy league where Cam Newton came out of the box throwing for 400 yards, let’s not get carried away because Touchdown Timmy threw for 79.

“Denver doesn’t have a quarterback controversy. It has a QB crisis.”

On the other side of the coin there are cheerleaders such as former NFL coach and current Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden who said: “Tebow has proved to a lot of people that he’s a premier competitor, he’s a great game-day clutch, hard-nosed football player.”

Thanks to having a bye week this weekend, the Broncos next game is Oct. 23 at Miami against a reeling Dolphins team that is 0-4 and may be just another loss away from dumping its head coach.

So if the Broncos and Tebow could hand pick an opponent they’d like to open against, the Dolphins would likely top the list.

While Tebow is given messiah-like treatment by his fans, he also has the blessing of Elway, who achieved god-like status in is playing days with the Broncos.

“Tim adds a great spark for us, so we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do,” Elway said on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access.

An unpolished diamond in the rough, Tebow is an unfinished product in that both his throwing motion and accuracy are not considered up to NFL standards. On the other side he is a terrific runner, is a motivator and brings a long list of ‘intangibles’ to the game.

One of the main challenges for Fox and the Broncos is to devise a game plan and tweak the offence to take advantage of Tebow’s skills.

“I think it’s always the case that you do everything you can as an offence to try to take advantage of the guy that’s pulling the trigger, and obviously Kyle and Timmy have different skills sets,” Elway said. “But we’re gonna stay within the offence but add some things that Timmy can do. Obviously, Timmy’s been in this offence now for two years, and so he’s got a good feel for the offence. And it’s up to us and the offensive staff to get the plays called that best give Timmy the best chance to be successful.

“I think one of the great things is Timmy’s got that work ethic to get better, and I think that we’ve seen tremendous improvement this year compared to last year in his ability to throw the football and his accuracy. So we expect that just to continue to get better and better. And obviously when we have an off-season this next year, I’ll get a chance to spend some more time with him.”

As for Fox, he’s in his first year with the team and has the obvious blessing of Elway. And they weren’t the guys who drafted Tebow in the first place so they have no attachment to Tebow, no baggage of any kind and will suffer no backlash if he doesn’t work out.

“It’s not so much fan outcry as we’re in a result-oriented business, and we’re 1-4,” Fox said of making the switch. “It’s not one guy. We’ll see if this helps.”

On the team, Tebow has his supporters.

“He’s just a baller, an all-out baller,” linebacker Joe Mays said. “Some people may call him unorthodox, but at the end of the day, he gets the job done.”

Now he’s being given the chance.

“We’re 1-4, and we’ve got to move on,” Fox said. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to get out of that. Whether this works or not, time will tell.”

And one way or the other, the controversy in Denver will be over.

BUCS HAVE SOME EXPLAINING TO DO

Following their embarrassing performance in San Francisco on Sunday when they were hammered, 48-3, by the 49ers, you would think there would be a long line of Tampa Bay players who would stand up and take their share of blame.

The Buccaneers are off to a 3-2 start but are a team that is unsure of where they stand and unsure of their overall ability.

Wide receiver Mike Williams, however, has figured out where he stands in the greater scheme of things and it’s far from where he would like to be.

“I have got to step up. I’m playing terrible,” Williams told PewterReport.com. “From my aspect I am playing terrible. I should be doing a lot more to help my team win. I should be getting in the end zone. That is something I did last year, and that was getting in the end zone. Putting up points for this team. That is something I’m not doing right now so I have to put it together.”

One of the problems the Bucs have is the lack of a big-time receiver. Currently, Williams is the best of a mediocre bunch.

“I have to play better,” said Williams, who has 19 receptions for 183 yards in the five games. “I’ve got to know they are looking for me. They want me to make big plays. I have to get open. I have to say forget the double teams, forget the frustration and catch the ball and do what I do. That is on me.”


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