Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Dec 2010

Tim Tebow to Start Against Raiders

Adam Schefter reports that Tim Tebow will start for the Broncos against the Raiders this Sunday.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 18 Dec 2010

69 comments, Last at 30 Dec 2010, 3:25am by MC2


by rd (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 5:18pm

Guess that makes me a Raiders fan for the week.

by Basilicus :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 5:24pm

Damn. Looks like the Broncos are really going after the Chargers this week!

by Shattenjager :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 5:25pm

Look out Zeke Bartkowski, Steve DeBerg, Ty Detmer, Ken Stabler, and Tommy Wade! There's a new kid in town!


by Mort (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 6:32pm

With his release I would imagine we'll see more strip-sacks than INTs.

by Yaguar :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 6:25am

What's scary is that the 7 INT game isn't even the worst Zeke Bratkowski game on the list.


In this game, Bratkowski was 5/16 for 27 yards, with three pick-sixes and five total interceptions. That might be the worst QB game I've ever seen.

by dmb :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 6:27pm

You know it's a historically bad performance when the replacement comes in and goes 6/16 for 95 yards, 0 TDs, and 2 INTs ... and the replacement easily had the better day of the two.

by tunesmith :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 5:31pm

I guess this is a good move. The only reasons not to start him are if the game could seriously regress Tebow's development versus if he didn't play, or if they know he's a bust and want to retain his chances at trade bait. If instead something happens that shows he's a permanent bust (don't know how to judge that based off of one game) then at least they'd know they still need to target a qb in the draft in one of the next two drafts.

by Pat Swinnegan :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 5:54pm

You mean I have to root for Tim Tebow?! Curse you, Raiders' draft pick!

by Spielman :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 5:56pm

Oh Lord.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 5:58pm

Will part Sierra Nebada sea tomorrow when watvch this game, gouing to be grrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat!!!

Raiders 42, Broincos 6

by Shattenjager :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 6:32pm

With Tebow starting, I think you're vastly overrating the Broncos.

by Andrew Potter :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 6:55pm

The 6 could come off turnovers if they make a couple of defen...

Yeah, you're right, he is.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 6:37pm

well, win first meteing 59-14. verty unrelaistic to do better than that

by Ruggles Redgap (not verified) :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 6:54pm

This is what happens when you allow the fans and media to dictate to you how to run your franchise. Not that there is much point in making Orton go out there to take more of a beating, but I'm at least surprised that they didn't wait until the Broncos next home game to start Lil' Jesus. The entire stronghold of Colorado Springs would come up en masse on a Focus on the Family chartered bus just to touch the hem of his garment.
Plus, once people see him flounder around against Oakland, the 'thrill' will be gone ( as Tebow reminds us, you never forget your first time ), and then what? Will Woody Paige direct the team to start Brady Quinn?
I've been a fan of the Broncos for thirty years, and I can honestly say I don't care what they do anymore.

captcha is 'scientists eververl'
No comment about Tebow's fanbase should ever involve the word 'scientists', and 'eververl' looks a bit like 'evolve'.
Kill the heretic!

by socctty :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 7:02pm

"The entire stronghold of Colorado Springs would come up en masse on a Focus on the Family chartered bus just to touch the hem of his garment." is the greatest thing I've read on this website.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 4:45am

I am intrinsically no good, I have a heart that's made of wood...

by socctty :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 7:00pm

Today, we're all raiderjoes.

by tunesmith :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 7:08pm

Wow, people apparently hate Tebow! Is it because of the religion thing? I'm not so much into that, but it doesn't strike me as a big deal. He also kind of reminds me of a yellow labrador. But it's also pretty clear that the other players on the team, even the veterans, respect him and have been looking forward to playing with him, I can't discount that.

by JIPanick :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 7:21pm

I think it's less the religion - Kurt Warner never had it this bad on FO - and more the hype backlash. It's too bad, since that ain't Tebow's fault.

I'd like to see him do well, but I don't think Johnny E '93 could do anything amidst this wreckage, let alone a rookie. I *do* like his prospects long term, however.

I'm also waiting for the hype-backlash-backlash to suddenly make him popular again here.

by Pat Swinnegan :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 9:06pm

I'm also waiting for the hype-backlash-backlash to suddenly make him popular again here.

Me too! I'm ready to hop on the Tebow bandwagon as soon as it goes off the rails.

by The Human Spider :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 7:34pm

Tomorrow marks the official start of The Church of Tebow. In the name of the Gator, the son and of the Holy Tebow...

by Coaldale Joe :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 10:11pm

The Raiders are gonna get all sacrilegous on his ass...

by Drunkmonkey :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 1:01am

I think the Raiders are going to spread Tebow's blessings all over the field.

by Maximum :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 7:38pm

Its not the religious thing, a ton of NFL players are all about God, its the fact that he's been hyped to death because he has a unique skill set and the average fan has been indoctrinated to believe he's unreal when he really isnt. It probably doesnt help that he's chosen to represent himself as the fourth Jonas brother to the media though.

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 5:41am

Chosen to represent? Odd choice of words. His "media persona" is not a construct- that's 100% Tebow. The guy goes on missions and into prisons to preach to the inmates. Community service among Gator football players doubled when Tebow arrived on campus. He's the real deal. I get people getting sick of the hype, but I wonder how everyone can direct so much vitriol at someone who appears to be one of the genuinely good guys in the NFL today. I mean, you might as well hate on Luther Ellis and his 6 adopted children, or on Todd Heap and his refusal to swear.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 7:55pm

If he were to be benched on a Friday, would he suddenly arise and be starting on Sunday?

by William Lloyd Garrision III (not verified) :: Tue, 12/21/2010 - 12:16am

Yea...see...don't tell me the backlash isn't because of the religion thing after comments like this.

Good for you Tebow. Hope you go 11-17 for 92 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. 7 rushes for 23 yards. And all of these jealous Raiderjoe wannabees sitting in front of their Playstatations playing Madden and picking their noses can talk you down, because you love Jesus. You Jesus-loving big jerk. How dare you love Jesus and win an NCAA championship and Heisman trophy! Serves you right if you break your femur and still manage to rumble 60+ yards for a TD. Hope it hurts! That will teach you not to be Christian.

But this has nothing to do with that. Oh no. I just hate white running quarterbacks. Except for Steve Young.

by Spielman :: Tue, 12/21/2010 - 6:03pm

Again, comments like that still have more to do with the backlash against the way Tebow is portrayed and hyped by the media. Seriously, have you read some of that stuff? It's downright Messianic, and the jokes are sitting there just begging to be made.

PS: I also hate Steve Young.

by Eddo :: Tue, 12/21/2010 - 6:48pm

This is correct, I feel. I really don't think Tebow bashers dislike the fact that he's Christian; they dislike that commentators imply that his Christianity makes him a better football player.

by William Lloyd Garrision III (not verified) :: Wed, 12/22/2010 - 4:00pm

Yes, I have read much it, it annoys me and I can't stand it. And, I think he is a sure-fire miss as a starting NFL quarterback. Thought last week was filled with lucky bounces that won't be repeated again. I think he is a poor man's Dennis Dixon.

But not sure that its really his fault though. I blame ESPN. And Erin Andrews in particular.

And I thought the focus on the family thing was funny. And I think starting him is a publicity stunt as much as it is anything else. But also think that 50% of the ire towards him is because he actually has values.

by Mike Y :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 9:00pm

We are all Raiders fans on Sunday. Too bad the game is blacked out for me in the Bay Area and I cannot watch Tebow fail. Damn it!

by Jerry :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 10:37pm

You could go to the Coliseum.

by Mike Y :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 11:12pm

Or I could value my life and not go to the Coliseum.

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 12:15am

Go there sdressed up as blakc and silver devil and peopel will think oyu are cool and also it woudl scary Tebow

by dbt :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 4:28am

I've been to Raiders games, the crowd is downright friendly. Dressed to the nines, sure. (I went to the Seahawks beatdown on Halloween, but I didn't feel like much of it was special to that day).

by BucNasty :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 8:20am

Maybe he's just afraid of actually going into Oakland.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 10:01pm

Well... If the Broncos weren't such a festering crap-pile, I'd be all angry about this, much like when the Ravens suckered McDaniels into trading away three picks for this guy. But throwing away a season this awful is not much of a story. Added to the fact that if Orton was currently capable of moving under his own power, let alone throwing, Tebow wouldn't be starting, there's really nothing to see here.
The two advantages of this a) the sooner the Tebow experiment begins the sooner it can (theoretically) be abandoned. And b) he could be eaten by a pack of feral Oaklanders.

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 5:49am

Wow, you seem remarkably convinced that Tebow is a bust, one career pass attempt be damned. Don't you, you know, want to at least give him 5 pass attempts before you close the book on him?

It's amazing. The draft is such a crapshoot- 50% of 1st rounders wind up being busts who never amount to anything- so I have a really hard time wrapping my head around the absolute certainty some people have that Tebow is a failure. I mean, Willie Parker wasn't even a starter in college and he still managed 4,000 rushing yards in a 3 year span. Miles Austin was undrafted out of Monmouth and he still went for 1300/11 last year. Marques Colston had one of the top 5 rookie seasons in NFL history as a 7th rounder who almost got converted to TE. Stranger things have happened than a three-time Heisman finalist who ranks 2nd in NCAA history in passing efficiency turning into a competent NFL player.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 2:48pm

I am aware that my position is not necessarily rational, but whatever, it's football, not chemistry, I'm allowed to be irrational.
Well, I side with the fact that McDaniels seemed to be the only decision maker in the league who thought Tebow was likely to be worth a high round pick, and I also side with Josh McDaniels' pretty much uninterrupted history of being wrong about everything.
So, it's less about Tebow, and much more about putting the exclamation point of failure on McDaniels. But at the same time, in my opinion, I think it is more likely that Tebow crashes and burns than turns into a pro-bowl caliber player.
Third and final point, living in Denver since the draft would have soured just about anyone who previously had doubts about him on Tebow. It has been almost impossible to have a discussion about this guy's actual suitability to the NFL game because once you got about one and a half seconds into the conversation, the other participant would just collapse into a puddle of goo capaple of nothing but saying the word "intangibles!"

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 6:09pm

I'll agree that Tebow is more likely to crash and burn than become an All Pro. That's simple percentages. That's true of every single draft pick in NFL history. Robert Gallary was once described as a "sure thing", and Charles Rodgers was one of the best WR prospects of the past decade. Very, very, very few players become All Pros, so the odds are stacked against Tebow... I just don't think they're any more stacked against Tebow than they are against anyone else.

Also, we don't know that McDaniels is the only guy who would have taken Tebow in the first. Plenty of other smart NFL minds have weighed in favorably on Tebow. Bill Belichick is a big Tim Tebow fan. So is John Gruden. That's a pair of SB-winning coaches. We don't know how many other coaches would have drafted Tebow, because McDaniels didn't afford them the opportunity.

Like I said, I get people having an opinion and thinking Tim Tebow will be a bust. There are tons of players I think are going to be busts. I just don't understand the certainty that people seem to have that Tebow will be a bust. They don't even allow for the possibility that they might be wrong. We're talking about one of the greatest college football players in history. It's true that being a great college player doesn't necessarily make you a great pro, but at the very least it's a nice place to start.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:44am

It's silly to claim certainty that Tebow will be a bust, but I don't think it's unreasonable to view him as a particularly high risk pick. His skill set is substantially dissimilar to that of any successful NFL quarterback to date, and appears far better suited to types of offense which are common in college but extremely rare in the NFL. In particular, his release is decidedly slow. Moreover, in college his running ability, coupled with the system he played in, allowed him ample time to find wide open receivers. That will not happen often against a decent pro defense, and the fact that it did in college means there is less to look at in terms of evaluating his pro-style skills than is usually the case. I actually think he's probably big and tough enough that an NFL team should take a shot on running some sort of college-option or similar base offense, and concerns about "getting your quarterback killed" be damned. Dude's built like a defensive end.

I am, however, impressed at how effectively he was able to run, even against a suspect Raiders defense. For ultimate neutral-fan fun, Denver should pick up Vince Young this off-season, hire a creative offensive-minded coach, and throw some really wacky stuff out there.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Mon, 12/20/2010 - 6:40am

"I'll agree that Tebow is more likely to crash and burn than become an All Pro. That's simple percentages. That's true of every single draft pick in NFL history."

I'm going to pick a nit here, because I chose the language of my assertion intentionally. I specifically chose "Pro Bowl" rather than "All Pro" because I felt like choosing the lower standard made my position more derisive, and because it's (as you pointed out) ridiculously hard to be named All Pro, and therefore almost meaningless to say that a specific rookie will never be an All Pro. That said, while I was at work tonight, I realized that he probably will be a Pro Bowler, because they let fans vote on that nonsense, and nobody mobilizes the base like that guy.

"so the odds are stacked against Tebow... I just don't think they're any more stacked against Tebow than they are against anyone else."

I disagree. I think that they are significantly more stacked against Tebow because he is very unlikely to run into the set of circumstances that contributed to his undeniably great college success. (Some of these points were dealt with, more eloquently, by the first person to respond to this post) First, his teams at Florida were much better, relative to opposition, than any Broncos teams he's likely to play with. Second, he's probably never going to wind up with a coach with the willingness and the ability to tailor an offense to his unique skill set again. Third, he won't be facing college defenses from this point on. Fourth, if he's habitually forced to/choosing to run as much as he did today, he'll be lucky to last three years in the NFL. Fifth, his throwing motion is really, really weird and slow, and nearly a year of solid work on it hasn't improved it much. Which is completely understandable, as he spent most of his life learning to throw it the way he throws it. But that just raises the question of when or if he will be able to remove the bad mechanics from his repertoire, especially when he's under pressure.
Maybe I'm being too narrow-minded, and there's someone in line for the Broncos Head Coach or O Coordinator position that will be able to make him into this year's Michael Vick, over time. But given that there was over a decade between Steve Young and this improved Vick, I would have to think those minds are not common.

by William Lloyd Garrision III (not verified) :: Wed, 12/22/2010 - 4:13pm

Look, he's not a starting NFL quarterback. He throws wrong and always will.

But he might be a viable backup and novelty player.

Why are people not really angry at the Jets and Brad Smith? When he checks in and gets some snaps at QB for some reason I just don't get angry at him or the Jets.

And if he were to ever start a game or two in a lost year, I would think to myself "Well Sanchez sucks anyway, so what difference does it make?"

by Comedic.Sans (not verified) :: Fri, 12/24/2010 - 6:19am

"I also side with Josh McDaniels' pretty much uninterrupted history of being wrong about everything."

I'm not so sure about *that*. For all his failings as a GM overall, the guy knows one thing, and that's how to evaluate and mould QB talent. Look at his track record - Brady, Cassel, Orton. McDaniel's was OC for Brady's 2007 demolition job of league passing records; he was OC when he guided Cassel from a guy who hadn't been a starter since High School into a legit NFL quarterback; and he turned Orton from a guy who had the record for the least impressive rookie starting QB season, ever, into a Pro Bowl-level producer. After that track-record, I'm willing to give McDaniels the benefit of the doubt when it comes to evaluating QB talent. That's what he used to coach, after all - for all his errors as a GM, it's hard to fault his QB coach/ OC credentials.

by MC2 :: Sun, 12/26/2010 - 2:17am

Giving McDaniels credit for Brady's '07 season is like giving Brian Billick credit for Randall Cunningham's '98 season.

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 12/30/2010 - 12:55am

Considering McDaniels had been Brady's QB coach for three years at that point, with Brady improving substantially in that period, I'm pretty sure giving McDaniels credit is quite easily justifiable.

by MC2 :: Thu, 12/30/2010 - 3:25am

If I were allocating credit (to people other than Brady himself) for Brady's statistical quantum leap from 2006 to 2007, I'd do so as follows: 60% to Moss, 30% to Welker, 10% to McDaniels.

by PerlStalker :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 11:56pm

Don't forget that Orton was listed as questionable on the injury report. He's still trying to heal up from bruised ribs. At this point, with nothing left to play for, there's no reason not to let Orton heal up and give Tebow a shot. He may suck hairy monkey balls but it's better than getting Orton hurt even worse.

The hype around Tebow is horrendous but that's no reason to write him off. He's worked hard to shorten up his throwing motion and it may make a difference. In fact, besides from the usual rookie mistakes, he might even be good. Heck, Payton Manning and Philip Rivers didn't get off to the greatest starts either. Then again Tebow could go another round with the hairy monkeys and McDaniels will show himself to be an even worse failure than he already is.

by AudacityOfHoops :: Sat, 12/18/2010 - 10:34pm

So if the Broncos lose by less than 45 point, we can conclude Tebow > Orton, right?

by CuseFanInSoCal :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 12:05am

Eh. AFC West game not involving the Chargers, so irrelevant to the rest of the NFL. But as Cleveland native living in San Diego, I'm for a meteor strike. Don't really care about Tebow one way or the other.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 4:53am

Imagine if he goes to Oakland and actually wins - sticking a monkeywrench in the Raiders' playoff project. He'd be unbenchable.

by Whatev :: Tue, 12/21/2010 - 8:04pm

But, that's not how this works. The Raiders are the team that sticks monkey wrenches in other teams' playoff projects.

by ammek :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 6:22am

And behold a white horse: and he that burnished him was a (Te)bow; and a helmet was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to be intercepted.

by MDCHARGER (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 8:48am

now THAT was funny! bravo.
The really funny thing is how Denver panicked when they moved up to draft him. I have nothing against the guy, but come on.

Usually the response is something like "well, if you ever met him or saw just how hard he works, you would understand."

by Anonymus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 9:29am

Perhaps, he should appear with "REV" and "6:2" written on his "eye black" stripes today. He won't for sure, but it would be awesome...

by Theo :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 10:05am

Jonah 2:8 (NIV) "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."

by JonFrum :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 7:48pm

So we've got plenty of Tebow hate here before the game, but silence while it goes on? Based on the numbers he's not doing much with his arm, but he's playing as bad as some other QBs have in recent games.

Funny how haters disappear under their rocks when the facts don't suit their bile.

by peachy :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 10:53pm

See also : Harvin, Percy

by Eddo :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 11:17pm

I don't get this comment; you're basically saying that Tebow is playing bad, like the haters said he would.

I would say it reflects well on the haters that they haven't showed up to crow.

by JIPanick :: Mon, 12/20/2010 - 2:29am

Tebow actually played considerably better than people seemed to expect...

by The Hypno-Toad :: Mon, 12/20/2010 - 5:53am

I happened to be at work while most of the game was going on. And the portion that I was at home for, I preferred to watch the game than comment on this thread... But whatever, in my (admittedly biased) perception, he looked like the sort of player that will drive fans nuts. He has the capability for an explosive play from time to time, he trusts his physical gifts to overcome bad decision making (that TD pass was an atrocious decision, regardless of the outcome) and he looks to run too frequently, which is probably quite related to the shambles that the Denver o-line has become.
Will he get better? Almost certainly. Was he awful? Certainly not, especially considereing the supporting "talent" the Broncos have to offer. But when your favorite team's "qb of the future" who they traded away 3 picks for, while ignoring glaring holes all over the defense has a 50% completion rate (while getting bailed out on two pretty awful throws by Brandon Lloyd, who's just hoping his car doesn't turn back into a pumpkin before he gets home) and continues to exhibit the weird delivery and run-first tendencies that made him such a controversial pick in the first place... well, I can't say I'm particularly bowled over by him, or confident that his unique (and amazingly effective, in college) skillset is a good fit for the NFL.
I want to make it clear that I am not saying that Orton would have had a better day. In fact, I'm leaving the comparisons between the two completely off the table. I'm just saying that I didn't see anything today that leads me to believe that Tim Tebow is likely to be an effective, long-term NFL QB, unless he finds himself on a stacked team, with a coach who knows how to use him, the way he did in college. And when you look at the performance of the defense this year, can you blame me for being bitter that the Broncos used three draft picks for a gimmicky, project QB?

by zerlesen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/21/2010 - 9:41am

I think I'm about as bitter as you, mostly because we (ie Denver) are now officially one of these teams that just blows the whole thing up every couple of years, and I don't know how you get out of that downward spiral once you're in it. But I also think the "gave up three picks" meme deserves a closer look. (I checked this to cheer myself up just after the draft - please correct me if I have the details below wrong.)

We began the draft with the 11 (which became the 13 and the 113) and the 43. The 13 then became the 24, 70, and 87. The 24 and the 113 became the 22. The 43, 70 and 114 then became the 25.

So, all told, we turned the 11, the 43, and the 114 into the 22, the 25, and the 87, unless I missed another half-dozen trades in there. Can't argue with the value as far as that goes - especially since we still had another 2nd rounder (the 45) and 3rd rounder (the 80) and you only have room for so many draftees. To me the trade with Baltimore for the 25 is far less egregious than what the Chargers did to get Ryan Mathews. Of course, at the end of it, they got Ryan Mathews.

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 12/19/2010 - 10:41pm

Raiders won.

whoc arres what T. Tebow did?

by Fan in Exile :: Mon, 12/20/2010 - 1:37am

The Raiders are 7-7, who cares that they won.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Mon, 12/20/2010 - 6:37am

I'm guessing the answer is: Most of the people who are reading a thread named 'Tim Tebow to Start Against Raiders'.
But, I tip my hat to the Raiders and their third consecutive win over the Broncos.

by Fan in Exile :: Mon, 12/20/2010 - 9:56am

Boy you really didn't understand the point of the comment at all.

by Theo :: Mon, 12/20/2010 - 6:33pm

His imaginary superbeing friend wasn't looking this time.
Probably doing something more important.

by tunesmith :: Mon, 12/20/2010 - 7:37pm

How many times did Tebow audible from a pass to a run, or bail out of a dropback to improvise-and-run instead? Sideline calls for him to run the ball don't count.

by Martial (not verified) :: Tue, 12/21/2010 - 12:03pm

I still think Tebow'd make a hell of a special teams player.