We tend to ignore or disregard most everything Rick Reilly writes these days. Call it the Leatherheads effect.
We’ll make an exception for his eye-opening piece on the Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow mess in Denver because Reilly lives in the area, and has close ties to the top of the organization: Broncos Executive VP of Football Operations John Elway.
(Reilly mistakenly calls Elway the team president. Ignore that for now.)
Let’s start with an Elway quote:
“He’s a great young man who is really working hard,” Elway said. “But he didn’t get an offseason to work on [playing from the pocket]. He didn’t get much of that in college. And it’s a completely different thing than the shotgun. Plus, he’s only had the one season. But he’s an amazing football player. I’d never give up on Tim Tebow.”
Whoa. Who said anything about giving up on Tebow? He’s a second year quarterback that lost his biggest supporter (Josh McDaniels) and didn’t get his second offseason. Just the fact Elway’s mind went there is surprising.
Also telling: Reilly’s harsh assessment after getting the low down from Elway. Reilly says the quarterback competition is “over.”
“Orton won by the kind of margin Kim Jong Il wins elections,” he writes.
Tebow is stiff under center and can’t make decisions quickly enough. Something tells us Reilly didn’t suddenly turn into a football scout to make these assessments. They are coming from the Broncos.
“The other way you know it’s over is that Orton is talking to Tebow again,” Reilly writes. “He didn’t talk to him all last year. He told people it was because Tebow was a ‘rookie,’ but it was more than that. Tebow, ever gracious, kept talking with reporters every day. A lot of the players thought he should’ve stopped, in deference to the starter, Orton, who was getting scrums one-tenth the size.”
The locker room is firmly behind Orton.
The Broncos organization, meanwhile, seems further away than ever from figuring out what quarterback can emerge from Elway’s long shadow.