If Tebow struggles in the Broncos’ wild-card game against the Steelers, multiple sources tell Pro Football Talk that coach John Fox will not hesitate to bench his quarterback, like he did earlier in the season when Tebow replaced a struggling Kyle Orton. A quick hook, even in the playoffs, wouldn’t surprise many inside Denver’s locker room either.
“As one source explained it, Broncos players don’t regard the development as a big deal,” PFT’s Mike Florio wrote. “It’s no surprise that Tebow hasn’t been the same guy lately, with as many turnovers in the last two games (six) as he had in all of the prior 10 games combined. Indeed, it’s smart coaching by Fox to be ready to do whatever needs to be done to win.”
It’s not going to be easy for Tebow or his backup Brady Quinn if he enters the game. Pittsburgh has the league’s No. 1 pass defense, allowing just 171.9 yards per game through the air. They also pride themselves on a ferocious pass rush that surely wants to pound the strangely controversial Tebow into the ground with a little extra umph.
Tebow, meanwhile, has struggled the past four weeks. His passing output has decreased each game and he has thrown just two touchdown passes and five interceptions. He also has lost a fumble in each game.
When news of Tebow possibly losing some of his playing time leaked on Friday, the Broncos immediately went into defense mode. Quinn vehemently denied he received any extra snaps in practice. Fox refused to speculate on what it would take to necessitate the switch.
Still, it makes all the sense in the world if Tebow struggles as badly as expected. If the Broncos coaching staff truly believe their best chance to win the game on Sunday afternoon is with Quinn on the field, they’re going to put him on the field. It doesn’t matter that the fans’ favorite throw-challenged quarterback is one of the reasons the Broncos are in the playoffs. Denver will do whatever it takes to advance at this point of the season, even if it momentarily disappoints its fans, who will surely be forgiving if the Broncos are playing next week in New England.