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Friday, June 22, 2018

Matt Cassel Played Worse Than Tim Tebow Against the Lions

One of the things that really bothers me about sports fans and pundits is the tendency to overreact. It’s embarrassing how little foresight people have. Go back and read the headlines from week one this season. Joe Flacco was considered a quarterback who had taken that next step towards being elite after his Ravens beat the Steelers 35-7. Pittsburgh’s defense was called old and done. Fast forward six weeks, and Flacco is considered a guy who can’t get it done, and the Steelers are being called the best team in the AFC. It’s pure comedy the way people react and overreact to one week’s events.

In the case of Tim Tebow, the overreaction is even more exaggerated because he’s such a widely loved and widely mocked figure. His win over the Dolphins in week seven was blown out of proportion. If you truly examine the game, you’ll see an offense that struggled to produce for three and a half quarters. You’ll see a team that needed an onside kick and strip sack in overtime in order to win. Tim Tebow delivered for about five minutes but played poorly for around 55. Most people only looked at the team’s comeback and ignored how much the Broncos struggled most of the game.

If he had that much difficulty against the Dolphins, you could see he was going to have a tough time against Detroit. The Lions have one of the most disruptive defenses in the NFL. Both Del and I had Detroit covering the spread, and Del locked them as a Top 3 pick. We just knew it would be a bad situation for Tebow — how could you not?

Tebow is an inexperienced quarterback and he was going against a real man’s defense. He was sacked seven times, intercepted once, and lost a fumble. He was pressured on almost every play and he constantly looked lost. He missed wide open receivers and struggled with his accuracy. He had seven straight drives from the second to third quarter where he failed to get a first down. It was a disaster, but I remind you to place the game in context.

Only one quarterback consistently moved the ball against Detroit this year, and that was Tony Romo who ended up throwing three picks to end the game. Jay Cutler played well against them, all things considered. Every other quarterback had difficulty against Detroit. Take a look at the numbers.


I’m not arguing that Tim Tebow played well against the Lions. He didn’t. He was awful, he gave his team no chance to win, and he was completely overmatched. But so were other quarterbacks this year. Matt Cassel was even worse against Detroit in week two but he came back and has put together three straight wins.

Tim Tebow is inexperienced, and he does not look like he’ll be winning many games with his arm. But he’s also very young and has room for growth. Calling him the worst quarterback in the league ignores how little Curtis Painter, Blaine Gabbert, John Beck, Charlie Whitehurst, Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, and Colt McCoy have done this year. How much better have those guys been than Tim Tebow?

People who think Tim Tebow is the worst quarterback in the league, or that he needs to be benched, are overreacting. It was a disastrous start, and he doesn’t stand much of a chance against real defenses, but they weren’t going anywhere with Kyle Orton, and they wouldn’t go anywhere with Brady Quinn. Can’t hurt to let him have a month of starts to see what he can do.

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