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Five reasons Tampa Bay Buccaneers should say no to Tim Tebow

Former Gator star Tim Tebow led Denver to an unexpected playoff win in January but now will move on.

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Former Gator star Tim Tebow led Denver to an unexpected playoff win in January but now will move on.

Tim Tebow to Tampa Bay? Are you crazy? Hey, we all like the kid, or at least we should like the kid. But we should like him as someone else's quarterback, another town's feel-good story. Oh, Tebow is going to go somewhere. Maybe even somewhere in Florida, like Miami or Jacksonville. Tebow's soon-to-be ex-team, the Broncos, likely will trade him now that it has signed Peyton Manning. But Tebow's destination should not be Tampa Bay. Here are five reasons.

1. They don't want to make Josh Freeman's life miserable.

The Bucs have a quarterback and darn good one in Freeman. He is only 24 (five months younger than Tebow, by the way) and has 17 regular-season victories — more than twice as many as Tebow (eight). And, listen, if you put all NFL quarterbacks in a draft, Freeman would be selected long before Tebow.

Okay, so what about having Tebow as a backup in case Freeman got hurt or played like a bum? Well, just look at what happened in Denver last season. Every time starter Kyle Orton made a bad throw, fans started chanting Tebow's name. It was only a matter of time before the Broncos had to cave in and give Tebow a shot. The Bucs can't lay the groundwork for such a scenario here.

Freeman is the franchise quarterback. The Bucs are building around him. They are committed financially and philosophically to him. You don't want your young quarterback coming off an injury-plagued season that staggered his confidence looking over his shoulder after every incomplete pass. If the Bucs traded for Tebow, you would have a quarterback controversy that would never stop.

2. They don't want the circus.

When you bring in Tebow, you just don't bring in a football player. You bring in a media storm that is relentless. If you acquire Tebow you might as erect a big top over One Buc Place and sign the Flying Wallendas, some clowns and a couple of dancing bears.

It's not Tebow's fault, but he gets covered by ESPN and TMZ. He is in Sports Illustrated and People. They talk about him on Today and The Tonight Show and most entertainment and sports shows in between. Remember how sick you were of hearing about Tebow when he was playing 1,500 miles away? Now imagine if he played right down the street. For all the tickets sold and jerseys purchased, bringing in Tebow is potentially way more destructive off the field than constructive on it.

3. Tebow cannot play quarterback.

That's not me saying that. It's the Broncos. Why would they turn their back on someone so young who led the organization to its first playoff victory in six years for an old man with a creaky neck who hasn't suited up in a year? The Broncos aren't even sure Manning can play, but seem convinced Tebow cannot.

If the Broncos hadn't landed Manning, they were going after Matt Hasselbeck. And if they couldn't get Hasselbeck, they would have gone after Matt Flynn. And if not Flynn then Alex Smith. Their list was so long that you half expected to see Joe Kapp on it. What does that tell you?

Tebow is a lot of things: an inspirational human being, a remarkable leader, a good man, a role model. But if the Broncos, who saw him every second last season and benefitted more than anyone from his 2011 performance, didn't want him, why should the Bucs?

4. Tebow would not fit in Tampa Bay's scheme.

Bucs coach Greg Schiano said he wants the Bucs to take shots down the field. Unfortunately, taking shots down the field is not in Tebow's bag of tricks. He can run over linebackers. He can throw quick slants. He might be the best jump-passer since games have been shown on color TV. But he has trouble dropping back seven steps and hitting a wide receiver in stride 50 yards downfield. That's not exactly the type of QB you want when you just signed speed burner Vincent Jackson to a $55.5 million contract.

The other issue is you would have to install a spread-type offense specifically to suit Tebow whether he is your starter or your backup. Geez, with the Bucs, it's tough enough to get one offense to work, let alone two. Anyway, there is not enough time in an NFL season to practice one offense for one quarterback and a complete different offense for another quarterback.

5. Tampa Bay is not Denver.

Want to know the real reason the Broncos won eight games and made the playoffs? They had the league's top rushing attack and a punishing defense that bought enough time for Tebow to put together just a drive or two to win the game. That would not have happened in Tampa Bay. Even if you swapped the Bucs offense last season for Tebow and the Broncos offense, there's no way the Bucs would have gone 8-8 like Denver because the defense was so lousy. Unless the defense improves, Tebow would never have an impact in Tampa Bay. Heck, neither would Manning. The only way the Bucs improve is if the defense improves.

Hey, can Tebow play linebacker?

tom jones' two cents


•Peyton Manning (five-year, $96 million Broncos deal) would welcome Tim Tebow as a teammate, wishes him well "if other opportunities are presented to him."

• John Elway says Tebow, who has not commented, is disappointed but understanding about Manning.

More coverage, 7C

Five reasons Tampa Bay Buccaneers should say no to Tim Tebow 03/20/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 2:03am]
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