ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Save your bankroll and your breath Tim Tebow fans, the object of your desire and the target of your dislike both agree this is Kyle Orton’s offense.
Tebow said Thursday that while he’s honored his fans are cheering for him to take over as the Denver Broncos’ quarterback, he trusts his coach and will bide his time without complaint.
“Well, I guess I appreciate the support, you know, but we got people in charge here that we trust and (I) trust they’re going to do the right thing,” Tebow said.
A group of Tebow supporters have said they’d like to buy two billboards in downtown Denver urging coach John Fox to bench Orton in favor of the former Florida star.
Tebow said he’d rather they donate the $10,000 to his charitable foundation.
“That’s a good idea, man,” Tebow said.
Especially because Fox probably wouldn’t see the billboards anyway, and even if he did, he certainly wouldn’t be swayed by them.
“Well, I’ve seen a lot of billboards and I can’t remember one that really influenced me,” Fox said.
Tebow never came close to beating out Orton this summer and was even outplayed by Brady Quinn.
Tebow’s fans started calling for him anyway when Orton had a poor performance in Denver’s 23-20 loss to Oakland on Monday night, when he fumbled the ball away without getting hit while his tight end was open in the end zone for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.
While the Raiders salted away the win, Tebow’s fans made sure they were heard.
“You don’t have a chance but to notice it,” teammate Kevin Vickerson said. “You hear it: ‘Te-bow! Te-bow!”’
Along with the catcalls directed at Orton, who fell to 11-18 as the Broncos’ starter.
“I love our fans’ passion, as I mentioned before, the fact that they care enough to do whatever they do,” Fox said. “I know they cared enough Monday night. We had a great crowd. They were very vocal and they care about the team. So, I think that’s a tribute to the fans.”
Orton went 24 of 46 for 304 yards and a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and five sacks against the Raiders.
Hall of Famer John Elway, now the Broncos’ chief of football operations, chimed in Thursday, tweeting, “If decisions were made based on one week, I’d have been outta here after my first start!”
That was on Sept. 4, 1983, at Pittsburgh, where Elway was just 1 for 8 for 14 yards with one interception and four sacks.
The Broncos introduced the defense in the opener and will introduce the offense Sunday, when there will probably be some boos for Orton again.
Still, Orton has the support of the only man who matters — Fox.
“Right now we feel like Kyle Orton gives us our best chance. Even the staff before us felt that way,” Fox said. “… I think he’ll improve this week, and I expect him to. Right now, he’s our starting quarterback. There’s no question about that.”
Quinn in all likelihood would go in if Orton were to get hurt, so when Tebow plays is anybody’s guess.
Tebow said the Broncos don’t have a specific package of plays right now that are designed to capitalize on his running skills like they had last year, when he went in on short-yardage situations on occasion before starting the last three games of the season.
“But if they wanted to dial it up I’m sure we’ve (practiced) that stuff enough times just to go out there and run it,” Tebow said.
Orton grew testy when a reporter asked him Wednesday if he felt any added pressure with the fans booing him and calling for Tebow. He said the contingent of fans voicing their disapproval doesn’t bother him.
“I just look at it like I don’t care,” Orton said. “(Fox’s) opinion and my teammates’ opinions will always be the ones that matter.”
Tebow said he’s not affected by the chants, either.
“I just try to stay focused on what I can control,” he said. “And everything else, the good, the bad, in between, I can’t do anything about it, so I’m not going to spend my time worrying about it.”
The Broncos are expecting to face rookie quarterback Andy Dalton when they host Cincinnati on Sunday.
Tebow said he won’t be wondering, “Why not me?” as he stands on the sideline.
“That is not at all me. I am very lucky to be a Denver Bronco. I’m very lucky to be here and I’m very thankful for my opportunities,” Tebow said. “And I don’t once question why at all. I am very thankful for what I have and what I’ve been blessed with in my life.”
Tebow’s footwork and throwing mechanics remain a work in progress as he tries to morph from a combination college quarterback to a pocket passer in the pros. But he said he doesn’t ponder the possibility of sitting several more seasons like Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers or Dallas’ Tony Romo had to do before getting their chance and running with it.
He said his competitive nature makes him want to get on the field as soon as possible.
“So, when I get those opportunities, I want to make the most of them,” he said. “But when I don’t get those opportunities, I’ve got to be the best leader and the best supporter and the best teammate that I can be.”