We interrupt our regularly scheduled local programming to bring you an update from Denver, Colorado, where head coach John Fox has made the unlikely move of installing Tim Tebow as the Denver Broncos' new starting quarterback.
It's hard for me to believe Fox has done this, but I believe he must have felt painted into a corner. I've kept up with what the nine-year Panther head coach has done in Denver only by reading up on the Broncos every now and then, but from everything I read it sounded like Fox was extremely committed to Kyle Orton and a more traditional style at quarterback.
That won't surprise anyone in the Carolinas. If Fox had been coaching this Carolina Panther team and had the same quarterbacks, he would have started Derek Anderson for the first five games, undoubtedly. Cam Newton would be sitting on the bench except for maybe a handful of "Wildcat" plays in every game. Fans would be clamoring to see more of Cam and Fox would be stubbornly saying that Anderson "still gives us the best chance to win."
Given the choice, Fox is always more comfortable with the veteran.
That's not to say Fox won't ever start a young quarterback. He did in 2010 with rookie Jimmy Clausen, giving Matt Moore a quick hook, and of course that ended very badly. Clausen had a 1-9 record as a starter and the Panthers went 2-14, which means Fox is now 3-18 over his last 21 games as an NFL head coach.
But Tebow? The Broncos are 1-4 (same as the Panthers), but Fox had been adamantly sticking with Orton until halftime of Denver's most recent game, when he replaced a thoroughly awful Orton with Tebow. Tebow then led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives against San Diego, although he also made a couple of errors and Denver still lost.
This all tickles me. Thinking of Fox coaching such an unorthodox quarterback like Tebow -- who is a poor man's on-field version of double threat Cam, but throws the ball less accurately than Newton does and simply doesn't inspire as much fear in defenses -- is delightful.
Not to say it won't work. Let's not forget the Panthers had most of their greatest successes under Fox, including their lone Super Bowl appearance and another trip to the NFC title game. The man is more conservative than Rush Limbaugh, but he can coach. Don't forget that.
Still, Tebow is not a conservative coach's quarterback. I would think that ultimately this Fox-Tebow shotgun marriage will end badly, but it's not out of the question the two can make it work. Denver has a bye week this Sunday, but the Broncos and Tebow will be among the most-watched, written-about and dissected teams in the NFL after that. All of which I'm sure Fox just loves.
3 months ago