Monday Night Football Report

by journojames on February 24, 2012

Originally published Sept. 14, 2011

What an uninspired game the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos bored us with on Monday night. The Raiders couldn’t pass. The Broncos couldn’t run. And both couldn’t play nicely, committing a total of 25 penalties. Someone should have told these players and coaches that preseason was over; that game actually counted.

Raiders win sloppy season opener, Photo by Joe Mahoney, courtesy of LA Times

It was tough to tell which team cared less with all the sloppy miscues and bland performances. However, one thing was made clear: Tim Tebow should start as Denver’s quarterback next week and for the remainder of the Broncos’s 2011-12 campaign.

This isn’t about Denver giving up on its season. In fact, it’s about Denver taking this season more seriously than it has in previous years. It’s about trying to take an honest assessment of the team and moving forward, for both the organization and football fans.

Tim Tebow should start, Photo courtesy of opposingviews

There’s no better time to do that than now. The Broncos are rebuilding.

This team, as currently constructed, lacks playoff-caliber talent. Who do they really have?

On the defensive side of the ball, the outside linebacker Von Miller shows promise, but he’s a rookie who’s still learning the league. Talented defensive end Elvis Dumervil has been hampered by injuries. And cornerback Champ Bailey and safety Brian Dawkins are Pro Bowlers but they’re also quickly aging.

In the last six years, they’ve had six different defensive coordinators. A lack of consistency usually suggests failure. Last season, Denver was ranked having the worst defense in the league. They gave up an average of 29 points per game. Their run defense was a major culprit. It came in second to last in the league, giving up over a 155 rushing yards per game.

Monday night, Oakland’s running game ran wild and free at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, racking up 190 yards. It may be a new season, but the early indication is that it’s the same poor defense.

Offensively, they lack even more talent. But, for some strange reason, they’re actually more competent than the defense. What’s the strange reason? Quarterback Kyle Orton. But what’s even weirder is that Orton’s statistical success, ironically, only emphasizes why he’s irrelevant in Denver.

Orton at the helm Monday night, Photo courtesy of Hays Post

Monday night, Orton threw for over 300 yards and a touchdown, without the help of a running game; they ran for a team total of 38 yards. He also had a higher quarterback rating than his counterpart, Oakland’s Jason Campbell, under the new Total QBR rating system. But, cruelly, Orton still lost the game. That’s the point.

Last season, Orton finished as the no. 15 quarterback in the entire league, statistically outranking other proven quarterbacks like the Giants’ Eli Manning, who has won a Super Bowl, and the Jets’ Mark Sanchez, who has led his team to the last two AFC Championship games.

Despite Orton’s effective quality of play last year, the Broncos still usually lost; they were a miserable 4-12. That’s the bottom line, wins and losses. So, even if Orton plays effectively, which he usually does, Denver is so bad, he can’t help lead the team to victories. And since he’s not considered the long-term solution in Denver, he has very little value, if any, to that organization. That’s why he should be traded and Tebow should be given the chance to start in his place.

The Broncos owe it to themselves to seriously find out if Tebow can effectively play in the league. If it turns out that he can have success, the Broncos can either help develop him for their future, or, at the very least, raise his trade value.

Head Coach John Fox must make QB decision soon, Photo courtesy of the LA Times

On the other hand, if Tebow falls flat on his face, and the Broncos lose the rest of their games this season, it wouldn’t be fun, but the Broncos really wouldn’t be losing much either.

They would give the Bronco fans what they really want, it wouldn’t hurt their non-existent playoff chances, and they would finally be able to end the Tebow experiment and controversy. Perhaps most importantly, it would free them to look to the future in possible players like Stanford’s Andrew Luck, USC’s Matt Barkley or Oklahoma’s Landry Jones in next April’s draft.

Keep up the “Tebow” chants, Bronco fans. You’ll get your wish if Denver’s front office knows what’s good for it. But, also remember: be careful what you wish for.


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