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Tebow Experiment Labeled as Embarrassing, "A Joke"

Posted by SMAZ on Mon Oct 31 15:32:31 2011

the only reason this guy even got a shot in the NFL was to appease professional victims of the white extremist so-called Christian variety.

Thank God (I kneel down and pray as i write this) that competitive sports is still judged by merit and results on the field

Opponent: Tebow experiment is ‘embarrassing’

By Michael Silver, Yahoo! Sports

DENVER – During more than two decades of covering the NFL, I’ve heard players disparage opponents on numerous occasions. As a journalist who has yet to be crushed by the proliferation of trash-talk, I’ve happily facilitated this dastardly dissing and shared it with the masses when given the chance.

Usually, these statements are designed to rile a rival, or to send a message that a player and his team won’t be intimidated. On Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, however, Tim Tebow(notes) was disrobed and demystified by a superior team – and then the young quarterback got low-blowed with a degree of disrespect that blew my mind.

“Can you believe ’15’?” one Detroit Lions defender asked after his team’s 45-10 immolation of Tebow and the Denver Broncos. “Come on – that’s embarrassing. I mean, it’s a joke. We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn’t do anything. In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, ‘Come on – that’s your quarterback? Seriously?’ ”

It would be one thing if this particular defender could be written off as an outlier, but during the time I spent in the Lions’ locker room after the game – and, later, on the phone with various coaches, front-office executives and players around the league – similarly harsh assessments were uttered about the second-year quarterback making his second start of the 2011 season.

Words like atrocious, terrible, completely exposed and not even close to ready kept coming up in these conversations; a couple of Lions even used the term oh my god. They did not appear to be mocking Tebow’s devout Christian beliefs – however, at least two Detroit players (middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch(notes) and tight end Tony Scheffler(notes)) made a point of “Tebowing” during the game, imitating the prayerful pose the quarterback struck following the previous Sunday’s stunning overtime victory over the Miami Dolphins.

The point that was driven home on Sunday, and quite forcefully, was this: Against a crappy team like the winless Dolphins, the possibility exists that Tebow can get away with 55 minutes of flaccid football and, with the help of a blessed onside-kick recovery, add to the legend forged at Florida, where he had one of the most decorated college football careers of all time. However, against an emerging power like the Lions (6-2), he’s as overmatched and vulnerable as an adolescent’s eardrums in the front row of a Nickelback concert.

“As long as he felt our pressure,” said Lions defensive end Cliff Avril(notes), whose third-quarter sack/fumble/recovery/return produced one of Detroit’s two defensive scores, “he was gonna make crazy decisions.”

In fairness, Tebow’s 18-for-39, 172-yard performance – numbers padded considerably by garbage-time completions, if you can believe that – wasn’t solely the product of dubious choices. His limited skill set was also on display, from an acute lack of accuracy, to a deliberate delivery (Avril dislodged the ball while Tebow was extending his arm backward before attempting to pass), to an apparent uncertainty about where to go with the ball.

None of this was necessarily a surprise to the Broncos’ brass, including coach John Fox and executive vice president of football operations John Elway. Tebow’s flaws were obvious to all trained observers during training camp, which is why veteran Kyle Orton was named the team’s unquestioned starter in August.

Orton’s struggles – and Denver (2-5) losing four of its first five games – caused the Broncos’ decision-makers to call an audible, a move greeted by great popular acclaim. Yet it’s hard to imagine that Elway, one of the greatest quarterbacks in football history, saw anything he didn’t expect on Sunday. It was as if, by starting Tebow, he said to the 74,977 fans at Mile High, “You wanted this guy? OK, then … Heeeerrrree’s Timmy!”

Said one Lions offensive player: “It was like, ‘See? Here’s why …’ ”

Realistically, playing Tebow makes sense on a practical level. Trading up to pick him in the first round of the 2010 draft was the highest-profile move of former coach Josh McDaniels’ reign of error, and even if the Broncos plan to trade or cut Tebow after 2011, it behooves them to evaluate his potential under game conditions.

It’s not Tebow’s fault that his draft position heightened already inflated expectations, or that McDaniels got fired last December and a new regime less enthusiastic about the quarterback’s abilities was installed. And it’s debatable whether the kid has a fighting chance given Denver’s obvious talent deficiencies.

Again, this reflects poorly on McDaniels, now the St. Louis Rams’ offensive coordinator, whose record as a first-time talent evaluator is proving to be Millenesque. He made eight picks in the first two rounds of the 2009 and 2010 drafts, yet that crop yielded only three current starters: Tebow, guard Zane Beadles(notes) and defensive end Robert Ayers(notes). Of McDaniels’ 19 picks overall, only eight are on Denver’s active roster, three in reserve roles.

So, is Tebow being judged in an unfairly harsh light? His legions of fans would undoubtedly answer in the affirmative. They revere him for his work ethic, his values, his leadership qualities and, not insignificantly, his faith.

However – and this is a big however – there’s a glaring disconnect between many fans’ assessment of Tebow’s status as a wholesome winner and the way many NFL players process his presence. To some, the notion that Tebow somehow pushes harder or taps into a higher power than they do is insulting. The NFL is full of maniacally driven grinders who’ve overcome incredible odds to reach the pinnacle of their profession, and many of them are clean-living and well-mannered, too.

While few NFL players seem to have a problem with Tebow on a personal level, I know plenty who are put off by the mythology and the holier-than-thou fan base that lionizes his every accomplishment and perceives negative depictions of his ability through a persecution-complex-tinted prism.

The result, as we saw on Sunday, is in-your-face Tebowing: Tulloch, after a first-quarter sack, literally knelt over the fallen Tebow while striking the pose. He later said he meant no disrespect – and Tulloch is a thoughtful veteran hardly known for his insolence – but neither he nor his teammates were overly apologetic, either.

After a decade as the NFL’s laughingstock, these Lions are embracing a Bad Boy image similar to that of the ’80s Pistons, with second-year defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh(notes) playing the role of Bill Laimbeer. On Friday, an NFL.com headline portrayed Sunday’s showdown as a struggle between good and evil, with accompanying photos of Tebow and Suh.

“Evil prevails,” Suh told reporters after a defensive effort that included seven sacks.

How torturous was it? With 11 minutes left in the game, not long after he’d served up a 100-yard interception return to Lions cornerback Chris Houston, Tebow was 8-for-26 for 85 yards. At one point, the Broncos had seven consecutive three-play drives. He ran 10 times for 63 yards, getting pummeled by safety Louis Delmas(notes) after a 12-yard scramble on the final play of the third quarter. When he threw, he seemed locked in on his primary receiver.

That “IN-COM-PLETE” cheer that Broncos fans like to bust out for opposing passers? They might want to come up with an alternate version to herald Tebow’s completions.

Afterward, Fox refused to commit to Tebow as his starter for next Sunday’s game against the Raiders in Oakland. “It’s too early to say,” he told reporters.

A source familiar with the Broncos’ thinking said he expected Tebow to last another couple of games until – barring a dramatic improvement on the left-hander’s part – the team turns to current third-stringer Brady Quinn(notes), a 2007 first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns. The Broncos would then target a quarterback in the first round of next April’s draft, with a trio of Big 12 passers – Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Baylor’s Robert Griffin and Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden – the likeliest candidates at this point. The draft’s projected top QB prize, Andrew Luck, would presumably be off the board before Denver picks.

Until then, the Tebow Dream lives on, albeit in a slightly battered and heavily disrespected state after Sunday’s thrashing.

“You’ve got to go out there and get better,” Tebow told reporters in his postgame news conference. “[If] you want it to be different, then make it different.”

If he’s going to make it different in Denver, he’d better get better soon. For right now, as some of Tebow’s opponents will gladly attest, it appears as though he doesn’t have a prayer.


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