Who Needs Tim Tebow When You Have T.J. Yates (Or Just About Any Other NFL Quarterback)?
Vince Young was not who Jeff Fisher wanted to draft in 2006. His choice for the future quarterback of the Tennessee Titans was Jay Cutler. Bud Adams wanted Young, so Young became a Titan. Young was the 2006 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as the Titans went 8-5 in the 13 games he started and made the playoffs.
The Titans reworked their playbook a bit for Young, simplifying it and basing it on the offense he ran at the University of Texas. This was an offense tailored to Young, who had an awkward throwing motion and had trouble with taking a snap from under center. He often had an option to run the ball, and at first, defenses had difficulties with figuring out his game. In the years since, Young's career has cratered and he's now a backup to Michael Vick on the Philadelphia Eagles.
This history lesson is a bit of a primer for Tim Tebow, the quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Like Young, Tebow is not wanted by the current coach or management of the Broncos, having been drafted by the previous regime. He's proven unable to run a pro offense, and the Broncos are running a simplified offense based on Tebow's college offense at Florida. He's got an awkward throwing motion, he can't take snaps from under center and his first option is usually to run the football.
Young was often called lazy and dumb by critics. It was said he was too stupid to learn a pro offense. Tebow, however, is referred to as a hard worker who wills his teams to victory after victory. Those who dare to criticize Tebow are referred to as anti-Jesus. John Elway, perhaps the greatest QB in NFL history and the president of the Broncos, was met with vitriol when he dared to suggest that perhaps Tebow wasn't exactly the best quarterback in the history of history. And even Kurt Warner, a man known for his strong Christian views, thinks Tebow's taking his act a bit too far.
Except for Tebow being a white Christian who is open in his desire to ban abortion, there's really no difference between him and Vince Young. For a supposed hard worker, Tebow has yet to learn how to take a snap from under center. He still hasn't learned the intricacies of a pro offense, and despite years of supposedly practicing on his technique, he makes Vince Young looked like a polished quarterback.
ESPN devotes hours and hours to discussion of Tim Tebow and about what a great person he is. Last week, they even devoted a whole SportsCenter to Tebow. Aaron Rodgers is having one of the great seasons of great seasons for NFL quarterbacks. He and the Packers haven't lost a game since November of 2010. He's won a Super Bowl. He's having an MVP season.
And unlike Tebow, who was heavily recruited out of high school and starred for Florida from the start, nobody wanted Rodgers. He had to play junior college football before getting a chance to play at Cal, then he had to watch as the likes of Alex Smith were drafted above him in the NFL draft. Yet strangely, ESPN has never devoted an hour to Rodgers.
And how about Drew Brees? He was a second-round draft choice of San Diego. And after suffering a shoulder injury, the Chargers chose to let him become a free agent. The Miami Dolphins passed on him to sign Dante Culpepper. The Saints, a team immersed in chaos with a new coach and playing in a city devastated by the aftereffects of a major hurricane, took a chance on him. He's won a Super Bowl, been an MVP. He's devoted to the city, he's supposedly a good Christian. ESPN's never devoted an entire SportsCenter to him.
Don't forget Tom Brady, a sixth-round draft choice who had to battle the likes of Brian Griese and Drew Henson for playing time at Michigan. Eli Manning led one of the great Super Bowl comebacks of all time, and has driven his team to more fourth-quarter victories this year than Tebow. Neither has gotten the ESPN all-Tebow-all-the-time treatment.
Then there's the case of one T.J. Yates, the current starting quarterback of the Texans. Yates is a rookie. He's a fifth-round draft choice. He was a combine arm at the last NFL combine, meaning that all he did all day during the entire combine was throw passes -- bombs, screens, slants, fades, soft and hard -- to receivers, tight ends, running backs, linebackers and defensive backs. He was the Texans' third-string QB until Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart were lost for the season with injuries.
The Texans have won all three games he's played, including Sunday's thrilling 20-19 comeback over the Bengals. Gary Kubiak hasn't dumbed down his offense for Yates. Yates doesn't have the option of taking every snap in the shotgun. He's got to read defenses and find receivers. He's got to know when to check down. He's got to be able to get the ball to his receivers.
So stop shoving Tim Tebow down my damn throat. There are quarterbacks doing what he does every week in the NFL. Of course, Rodgers doesn't drop to his knee and pray to an invisible man in the sky for five minutes after completing a pass, and Brees doesn't need his kicker to bail him out in the fourth quarter every week. Then again, in about five years, Rodgers, Brees and Brady will be cementing Hall of Fame careers while Tebow will be hanging on as a third-stringer somewhere because, as Vince Young has shown, at some point, you actually have to be able to run a pro offense if you're going to start in the NFL.
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