ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – While Tim Tebow’s legion of fans rejoiced in his promotion to starting quarterback Tuesday, his Denver Broncos were in a much more subdued mood.
That was out of respect for Kyle Orton, who lost his job more for what he couldn’t do on the field than anything Tebow did to overtake him.
To make a quarterback change at this point of the season was almost laying all the blame for a 1-4 start at Orton’s cleats, something his teammates refused to do.
“It’s not the case,” said cornerback Andre’ Goodman, whose team has the week off before playing in Miami on Oct. 23. “It could’ve been me. It could’ve been anybody on this team. None of us are doing a good enough job to make plays and help us win.”
That’s where the Broncos are hoping Tebow fits in. He may be raw, he may be unpolished, but he has a certain moxie.
Or, as linebacker Joe Mays put it, he’s an “all-out baller.”
“At the end of the day, he gets the job done,” Mays said. “When his number is called, he’s always looking to go out there and perform and make plays. I’m glad he’s getting the opportunity.
“I’m glad it’s done and all over with.”
No more of what receiver Brandon Lloyd famously termed “The Tebow Thing” hanging over their heads.
Tebow replaced Orton at halftime on Sunday against San Diego and nearly rallied the Broncos from a 16-point deficit. Only when his last-second pass fell incomplete in the end zone did a stadium full of fans exhale from a thrilling ride.
That performance left many wondering: What could Tebow have done if he would’ve played the entire game — or the entire season, for that matter?
Fox made the quarterback switch official when he informed the team at a meeting Tuesday morning.
“It’s the next man up,” Fox said, a mantra he usually reserves for injuries. “All we’re trying to do is win. It won’t be around one guy.”
The knock on Tebow over his career has been that he’s not the most polished practice player around. But when the lights are turned on, he finds a way to shine.
That’s what Goodman is counting on now as the team tries to salvage the season.
“Tim has a presence about him that I’ve never been around before,” Goodman said. “I’ve played with some Hall of Fame players before that weren’t close to the aura that this guy has.”
With the switch at quarterback and the coaching staff analyzing things during the bye week, players were on notice that more changes could be forthcoming.
“Who knows what the positions will be when we come back?” Goodman said. “I’m pretty sure the coaches are going to continue to evaluate every position.”
“No job is safe,” Mays agreed. “Prepare to be successful. Either that or prepare to fail. If that happens, you’re going to be on the sideline.”
That’s where Orton finds himself now.
As miffed as Orton may have been, he still addressed the throng of reporters that showed up at his locker. Asked if he agreed with the decision, Orton simply said, “I don’t think it matters if I agree with it or not.”
“I’m just disappointed and I’m moving on,” Orton added.
For Tebow, the plan now is to practice on his own and take home game film downloaded onto his iPad to cram for the Dolphins. He’s already received a vote of confidence from his teammates.
“I was very grateful of their support,” Tebow said. “Now it’s just my job to go out there and compete to the best of my ability and give it everything I have.”
– By Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)