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Tim Tebow or Kyle Orton: Who would you rather have at QB?

December 27, 2011 |  9:35 am

Tim Tebow or Kyle Orton? Who would you rather have as a quarterback?
Tim Tebow or Kyle Orton? The question was asked early and often this season when both players were quarterbacks for the Denver Broncos. The fans seemed to have their minds made up from the beginning -- they wanted Tebow.

The Broncos organization did some flip-flopping, first going with Orton after a terrific preseason but switching to Tebow after a 1-4 start. We all know what happened next -- Tebow leads Denver into the playoff hunt (although the team now has lost two straight) and Orton gets shipped off to Kansas City, where he helped the Chiefs knock off the previously unbeaten Packers two weeks ago.

Well, here we are at Week 17 with another opportunity to ask the question about the two quarterbacks. Only this time it's because Orton is coming into Denver as the Chiefs starter, with a chance to prevent Tebow and the Broncos from completing their miracle turnaround with a postseason berth (Denver is in with a win; otherwise, it needs an Oakland loss to keep from watching the playoffs from home).

So who would you rather have at quarterback, Tebow or Orton? Writers from around Tribune Co. will be discussing the topic. Please check back throughout the day for more responses. And join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Steve Svekis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

This is like trying to select the valedictorian of summer school. I'm taking Orton if my idea of success is non-spectacular but decent production, enough to get a team to 9-7. If I want to put fans in the seats, you have to go with Tebow, despite the disconcerting transformation of his Bronco-propelled crystal carriage into a smashed pumpkin the last 10 days.

Poor John Elway and John Fox are in a no-win situation Sunday. Either former Bronco Orton rubs their nose in it by leading the Chiefs past the Broncos in Denver, possibly eliminating the Mile-Highers, or Tebow's bandwagon is refueled by an AFC West-clinching win, further marrying the team president and coach to a QB they really want no part of.

[Updated at 12:18 p.m.:

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

I would take Tebow, but with the caveat that I could handle the situation just like Denver is. Tebow could be my starter with the understanding I would aggressively pursue a long-term alternative at quarterback, either through free agency or the draft, and then give that player the opportunity to supplant Tebow as the starter.

I'm not convinced that you can build a winning offense around a 48% passer, as exciting as these last 10 weeks have been. Whereas some of his passes have been on the money, many have been far off target. The last two games have underscored just how big a role Denver's defense and special teams played in the Broncos' winning streak.

Does Tebow help spread that sense of belief, the feeling that the team can overcome late deficits to win? Yes, and he's remarkable that way. He's also an exceptional athlete who adds value to a team, but that value might ultimately be as a hybrid player like Buffalo's Brad Smith as opposed to an every-down quarterback.

Then again, if he can continue to improve, maybe Tebow rounds into the answer at quarterback. At this point, it's too early to tell. 

Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

There are many things Kyle Orton does better than Tim Tebow. He plays with consistency. He throws with accuracy. He reads defenses. He runs a conventional offense. He finds the open receiver. He applies sound fundamentals. He avoids the costly interception.

Orton is not an elite quarterback, but he has a pretty impressive body of work with three teams in the National Football League. He is much more of a known commodity than Tebow, who is in his second NFL season. 

But there are two things Tebow has done better than Orton this year: lead and win. Tebow has gone 7-3 with the same Broncos team that Orton was 1-4 with. For that reason, this vote goes to Tebow.]


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Is Tebow getting too much credit for Broncos' success? [Poll]

Left photo: Kyle Orton. Credit: Ed Zurga / Associated Press

Right photo: Tim Tebow. Credit: David Duprey / Associated Press