The statements usually say something like this: winning is all that matters. Of course, it sounds better than that most of the time as coaches and writers spin phrases like "You are what your record says you are." And that's true. Ten times out of ten, a team or coach or player will take the ugly win over a close loss. So it's no surprise that everyone associated with the Denver Broncos are happy right now and it's also why they can't understand why there would still be detractors concerned with Tim Tebow when the Broncos starting quarterback has the team winning four of their last five games, including a win on Thursday night against the New York Jets.
But Mel Kiper, the popular ESPN NFL Draft analyst, takes issue with the way the Broncos are handling their quarterback. He doesn't slam Tebow in his column so much as question the long-term prospects with Tebow running the limited offense that he's been handed -- one that plays to his strengths.
"By turning the scheme into what it's become, Fox and McCoy are playing to Tebow's strengths," writes Kiper. "The problem is they know it's not a system that can be sustained long-term (these systems didn't even work in the 1970s, much less today), and they also don't know if Tebow will have a capacity to grow as a passer in a more refined attack. Even if Denver manages to keep winning this way, they won't know what their quarterback can really do. I really like Tebow and have enjoyed the chance to talk to him before -- and I know he is a kid who isn't afraid to fail if he's asked to throw the ball more. He has to see the limitations of the current offense.
"Just winning is great, but at some point Denver needs to do more than merely escape with a win," he continues. "Denver needs to test the idea that Tebow can be not merely a resourceful, brilliant winner of close football games, but a quarterback capable of relying on more than his will and his legs. Denver needs to find out if Tebow has the capacity to throw, and grow."
Kiper has a good point. Gimmick offenses rarely work and once the wheels begin to come off of Denver, they're going to be right back where they started -- unless, that is, they're willing to work with Tebow and make the offense more complex while still playing to his strengths. Kiper says it doesn't work but maybe that's because no one has tried to expand this sort of playing style enough to develop an entire offensively philosophy out of it so that it's versatile enough to get over special schemes against it. If so, then Denver might just know what it is doing.