Sunday, January 30, 2011

6 comments Woody Paige May Not Know John Fox's History With Quarterbacks Very Well

I may as well write a short book called "The Tebow-Paige Chronicles" with how many times I have discussed Woody Paige and his complete infatuation with Tim Tebow. I really don't mean to talk about this once a month, but I have never seen or heard of a sportswriter advocate for a player like Woody Paige has done for Tim Tebow. I'm not even going to start talking about Tebow's skills anymore. We saw in a couple of games this past year and he didn't look terrible. He showed potential. He was essentially what I thought he was. A fairly raw quarterback with running skills that couldn't magically (contrary to Woody Paige's opinion) make the Broncos defense into a juggernaut with his mere presence in the lineup.

A recent development has happened in the Tebow saga. John Fox was hired as the Broncos head coach. This is a man I have experience with, so I feel like when Woody Paige writes an article saying Tebow is the definite starter for the 2011 season...

let's just say I have questions about whether he has done research on John Fox from his years in Carolina.

Skeptics, soothsayers, scoffers and speculators can cackle until they turn predominantly blue in the face, and the head coach and the executive vice president of football operations can fib until they grow Pinocchio noses.

Oh no, John Fox is not fibbing in any fashion and he isn't playing coy. He doesn't know who his quarterback at this point truly is. If forced to choose right now, I have little doubt he would chose Kyle Orton as his starter.

But there is no quarterback controversy in Denver.

Tim Tebow will be the Broncos' starter next season.

Yes, there is more controversy than Wood knows. John Fox greatly dislikes young quarterbacks. He doesn't like to play them until they are on their second contract in the NFL. He would wait 2-3 years after a quarterback has been drafted to start him.

Along the way through this post I am going to link some posts on Twitter from Darin Gantt, who is a Panthers beat writer for the Charlotte Observer and The Herald (in Rock Hill, South Carolina). He is a person I dare say knows John Fox and his personality about as well as any beat writer in the United States. These are Darin's comments about Orton-Tebow when asked about that situation and when he gave unsolicited opinions and they are evidence Woody Paige is mistaking wishing for something over actual realistic journalism. Very little in Fox's history says he would start Tebow over Orton. Any Tweets you see are Gantt's reactions to the QB situation in Denver.

Though I won't say Tebow won't be the quarterback in Denver, I think Woody Paige is just exercising his Tebow-ner by pronouncing him the quarterback. If Orton is on the roster, then he is the starting quarterback, at least at this point, I would bet significant money in it. Yes, I trust some guy in North Carolina over Woody Paige on this issue.

In another media interview Tuesday, John Fox reiterated that the team's quarterbacks will "compete, and we'll go from there."

To translate in Fox-speak, from Darin Gantt, on what this really means...

Cue the dramatic music. Here's the snap. Orton drops back, ... RT @ProFootballTalk John Fox won't commit to a QB:

These are the reasons Tebow will be the quarterback:

This is what John Fox actually said about Kyle Orton:

Smart, he's got some of the tools it takes to play QB. There's a lot of things he does well

John Elway believes in Tebow. He has used exec-speak since taking over the Broncos, but said the night before his first news conference: "I know Tim has all the intangibles and is a good football player. Now we have to find out if he can become a very good quarterback."

What's he going to do? Bash Tebow? Tebow is exactly what Elway says he is, but it doesn't mean in January of 2011 that Tebow is definitely going to be the starter in 2011.

Elway wouldn't have hired a coach who didn't believe in Tebow.

I don't believe John Elway is basing his entire hiring process around which head coach would start Tim Tebow in 2011. Sure, developing Tebow was probably a part of the process in hiring a coach, but he hired a great defensive coach to help fix the terrible defense the Broncos had in 2010. I know Woody thinks everyone's entire world revolves around Tim Tebow like his does, but really Elway wants to have a winning team and looked to hire a guy who would give him that. It may not have been a Tebow-centric hiring. Especially if anyone looks at the history of John Fox with young he didn't really have any until this past year, and we all know how that turned out.

Fox believes in Tebow. "Whatever it takes for Tim to succeed, he will do.


Woody Paige needs to do his research much better on John Fox. The Panthers owner had to order the General Manager to cut all of the older players on the roster because he knew if he kept them around the younger players would never get a chance to perform. Sure, we can argue about the effectiveness of this strategy, but where between "whatever it takes for Tim to succeed, he will do," and knowing the Panthers owner (Jerry Richardson) had to cut players completely off the roster so the younger players on the roster could play major roles, should Woody believe a second year quarterback would get the starting job over a veteran on a John Fox-led team? It may be a bullshit excuse for cutting costs in preparation for the lockout from , but there was some history to back up this worry.
You may ask yourself, "couldn't the owner have just demanded Fox play the younger players on the roster, rather than cut them?" Perhaps, but his history shows that Fox wouldn't do it necessarily at the quarterback position. This is the same coach who started Brian St. Pierre 10 days off the street over Jimmy Clausen one game this year just to prove he could do it to Panthers upper management. This is the same head coach who brought in Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson's quarterbacks coach to coach the quarterbacks. Sound like a good idea to you? Developing quarterbacks hasn't been a strength of Fox. So I don't know if Elway will be able to force Fox to start Tebow, even if Elway was an asshole who tried to do that.

If Tebow had been available in the second round last year, Fox probably would have lobbied for the Panthers to choose him.

I love how Woody is passing this pure speculation off as fact. Fox didn't want to take Clausen with the #48 pick and he was a steal (at the time) at that spot and Fox is close to Charlie Weis who gave Clausen a glowing recommendation. Why would Fox have chosen to draft Tebow over Clausen at that point? In fact, there is one draft in the entire time Fox was in Carolina that he had very little say in who was drafted and that was the 2010 draft. Prior to that, during Fox's time as Carolina coach the Panthers had drafted a quarterback twice...and never before the 4th round. He simply doesn't believe you need an elite quarterback to win in the NFL. What makes anyone think Fox would have lobbied to take a project quarterback in second round if he had a say, which he didn't, knowing he wasn't going to be in Carolina the very next year? So talking bullshit about how Fox "probably" would have lobbied for Tebow fails the smell test. It's just not true, no matter how much Woody wishes it were.

The Fox run-oriented offense will be perfect for Tebow, who won't be asked to carry the Broncos on every possession.

I absolutely agree with this. Tebow could thrive in Fox's system.

Mike McCoy, who will be the "real" offensive coordinator, believes in Tebow, and can design specific plays for his talents. McCoy developed Jake Delhomme into a Super Bowl and Pro Bowl quarterback with Carolina.

McCoy doesn't do a terrible job with quarterbacks, but it is a bit misleading to say he "developed" Delhomme into a Super Bowl quarterback. The Panthers made the Super Bowl, in McCoy and Delhomme's first year working together, and never made it back again while working together. McCoy worked for the Panthers from 2003-2008 and Delhomme made the Pro Bowl a total of one 2005. So it is not like Delhomme "developed" into a great quarterback and stayed there. He made the Pro Bowl one year and then never seemed to play that well again. McCoy was also there for Delhomme's 2008 playoff meltdown and Delhomme peaked in 2005 never to reach that peak again. So it is fine to credit him with the good stuff, but also blame him for the bad stuff too.

The Broncos cannot keep Kyle Orton for myriad reasons. He has proven to be an average quarterback — based on third-down and red-zone conversions, mobility and, most important, victories. In his past four years (after being benched for the entire 2006 season), Orton's overall record as a starter is 22-24 (5-18 since the seventh game of 2009).

After Tebow became the starter, Orton sulked on the sidelines and never tried to assist or encourage him.

Check out this post where Paige is in love with Kyle Orton and credited him for being a good teammate and working hard, which contradicted what Woody had said in training camp and what he says here.

Orton has to be traded and there could be as many as seven suitors. He will be gone before training camp.

Want to know another reason Orton needs to be traded? Because otherwise Fox would start him. Darin Gantt says it incredibly effectively here:

Wouldn't. That's why if DEN values TT, they might ought to take the bat out of Fox's hands. RT @kravon1 Why would Fox want Tebow over Orton?

but it wouldn't be a surprise if the Broncos bring in Delhomme, who was Fox's QB from 2003-09 in Carolina, as a backup. Fox felt so badly for his veteran QB at the end — when he was booed at home — he released Delhomme so he could sign with another team,

Look, I don't expect every NFL writer in the United States to know what is happening with every NFL team. If I were a sportswriter, and I was writing about the team I cover and that team's new coach, I would make damn sure I knew what the hell I was talking about. This isn't how it went down. First off, John Fox had no control over personnel matters this past offseason, so he didn't suggest cutting Delhomme. In fact, as I stated above, Delhomme was cut so John Fox wouldn't be tempted to start him again this year and give Matt Moore a chance to start (of course Moore got the chance and he wasn't great either). Moore was going to be a free agent after this past season and the Panthers had to know if he could play or not.

In regard to the booing, Delhomme was booed at home in the Arizona Cardinals playoff game in 2008 AND during the opening game the next season against Philadelphia and that didn't prevent Fox from starting Delhomme as much as he could until Delhomme got injured at the end of 2009.

With Delhomme and Quinn, there won't be the competition Fox claims. Tebow will get the time with the first team.

Which of course Woody assumes makes the Broncos a better team. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Why would Woody just assume Orton couldn't be a backup though? He's been a backup before and it is not like Orton didn't see the writing on the wall when Tebow was drafted.

The two can't return to compete now that Orton is the backup — Orton won't accept a demotion (again) —

I think Woody makes the assumption Orton wouldn't take the backup job with the Broncos for two reasons:

1. He doesn't like Kyle Orton and he wants to make him look like he can't accept being demoted, despite the fact this continuously happens to him.

2. He knows if Orton stays on the roster there is a chance he is the opening game starter in 2011 and he doesn't want to make this entire column sound ridiculous, since the entire point of the article is that Tebow is the 2011 starter no matter what.

Fox does know quarterbacks, between his 16 seasons as a secondary coach and defensive coordinator in the pros, when he specifically studied films of every quarterback, and in his nine seasons as the Panthers' head coach.

Eight of the quarterbacks on teams he coached were ultimately in Super Bowls — from Steve Young to Delhomme.

The relevance of this statistic eludes me. So eight quarterbacks on teams John Fox coached were in Super Bowls at one point? Is this good compared to other coaches? I'm asking, I don't know.

Fox was saying the other day in the hallway at Dove Valley how Young was a crude, inexperienced running quarterback (and Fox was an inexperienced pro coach) when the two were with the same USFL team in Los Angeles in 1985. "A lot of people thought he'd never be a quarterback." Young, who was close to finishing his career with the Broncos before he retired in 1999 because of a number of concussions, wound up in the Hall of Fame, and Fox wound up in Denver.

So obviously we can take from the sentence about Steve Young being inexperienced in 1985 that (a) Tim Tebow is definitely the starter this year, (b) John Fox considers Tim Tebow to be like Steve Young and (c) Tim Tebow will eventually be in the Hall of Fame. Woody wants you to believe this I think.

Tebow, as with Young and Elway before him, will make himself into a very good NFL quarterback and will make the disbelievers believe.

I believe Tim Tebow can be a good NFL starting quarterback. That's not what this post was about though, it was about how Woody Paige is a huge advocate for Tim Tebow...which is probably a relevant point because Woody can write an article about the Colorado Rockies raising ticket prices or eulogize a famous Denver area athlete and end the column by stating Tim Tebow will be a good NFL quarterback. It all comes back to that for Woody.

This column was an abomination. Woody came to the conclusion Tim Tebow will be the Broncos starting quarterback next year by cherry-picking every somewhat-positive quote that has been said about Tebow by John Fox, while ignoring the positive comments Fox has said about Orton. The conclusion may end up being correct, but the way Woody got there reeks of his love for all things Tebow. He should start a fan club for Tebow instead of using his Denver Post column as a forum for his Tebow-ner.


Martin F. said...

I am sad. I work most Sundays, which isnt' so bad during the football season, since I get to watch the highlight shows on ESPN and the NFL Network, and get to watch the Monday night games. Tonight I came home....and nothing. This makes me sad. No more highlights at all after next week until next Sept. That's going to make for some boring Sunday nights winding down and having a snack.

Bring on the 18 week season with 4 playoff rounds!! I'm good with 6 months of football!

Bengoodfella said...

Martin F, if you watch baseball then you could wait a few months and watch the Sunday Night Baseball game if you wanted. You did get highlights of the Pro Bowl, wasn't that exciting?

I am kidding of course.

Unfortunately, I don't think the players are good with an 18 week season. Also, if there is a lockout then we may have to wait until longer than next September to see more professional football.

Jake said...

"Eight of the quarterbacks on teams he coached were ultimately in Super Bowls — from Steve Young to Delhomme."
Yeah, I'm sure Fox's one year of coaching defensive backs for the USFL's Los Angeles Express while Young quarterbacked was instrumental in Young's one day reaching a Super Bowl.

Bengoodfella said...

Jake, haha. You kidding me? I bet Woody thinks Fox motivated Young that entire season telling him how good he was going to be. It's all John Fox behind Young's eventual great quarterback play.

I don't know if 8 QB's in the Super Bowl are good or not. I have no idea really. I would think that is a small number, but I can't say for sure. It's probably the most random and meaningless statistic (outside of something Joe Morgan said) I have used here.

Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

i am actually very surprised that the denver post has allowed woody to pull this tebowner off for so long. I've never seen a journalist cover a particular athlete and team in such an unprofessional manner. I mean even when tebow was at florida, people weren't going out of their way to put down others in order to prop up tebow the way paige has attacked orton. It was so clear from the get-go in this article that woody was making shit up to support his conclusion that tebow will lead the broncos to heaven. As i was reading the article I was basically thinking the whole time "wait, where the hell did he get that idea from? and how does that prove anything in relation to tebow?"

"John Elway believes in Tebow. He has used exec-speak since taking over the Brncos, but said the night before his first news conference: "I know Tim has all the intangibles and is a good football player. Now we have to find out if he can become a very good quarterback."" So obviously elway has no doubt that tebow already will be a great quarterback. they need to find out if he can become a good quarterback because they already know he is a good quarterback. makes perfect sense.

"Elway wouldn't have hired a coach who didn't believe in Tebow." right - john elway's job is not to hire a coach who can make the most out of this roster; his job is to make sure his coach will do everything he can to help tebow as opposed to the rest of the team. Elway is not concerned with kyle orton at all, only tim tebow.

"Fox does know quarterbacks, between his 16 seasons as a secondary coach and defensive coordinator in the pros, when he specifically studied films of every quarterback, and in his nine seasons as the Panthers' head coach.

Eight of the quarterbacks on teams he coached were ultimately in Super Bowls — from Steve Young to Delhomme."

this is so irrelevant that i don't even know where to begin. yes those quarterbacks went to pro bowls - and obviously their success had everything to do with their common secondary coach. was fox coaching his defensive backs so well that the quarterbacks were super well-prepared for games against other secondaries? look i actually think tebow can be a good quarterback but i can't stand how emotional and unobjective many sportswriters get in regards to him and cover him unfairly. i don't mind woody paige on tv but his columns are beyond atrocious

Bengoodfella said...

Arjun, no kidding. It's ridiculous. What's interesting is Woody is making blind conclusions based on the information he gets to get to the ultimate conclusion that Tebow should be/is the starter for the Broncos. He may be, but not with Orton on the roster. Tebow would have to significantly outplay Orton in training camp this upcoming year to secure the job.

Woody knows Denver sports. I know John Fox. Fox had Jimmy Clausen has the 3rd string QB, that means taking snaps with the 3rd string offense until final cuts when he cut the 2nd string QB Hunter Cantwell. Three weeks later, Clausen is the starter. Again, Fox intentionally kept Clausen behind a guy that ended up getting cut in all through training camp and the preseason. That's what he thinks about young quarterbacks.

Cantwell was a 2nd year player and that's the entire reason he was ahead of the depth chart over Clausen. If Tebow is going to start, something has to be done with Orton.

I completely agree with your next to last sentence. Tebow has a ton of potential and I talked about this a lot a year ago here:

I intentionally made the comparison to LeFevour, a guy who probably wasn't going to make it in the NFL as a starter, just to show how much Tebow's intangibles were pushing his draft stock up. 2-3 years in a system and I would love to have Tebow as my starter.