"I spent a lot of time with [Josh McDaniels] early on, before the draft," said Tebow. "I got to know his philosophy and really believe in it. What he was teaching made sense. The buying-in process wasn't hard. I see how what they're teaching me is going to make me better. The mechanics—I'm going to be thinking about them for a long time. I've got to make the uncomfortable comfortable, and I've got to hurry."
Maybe Tebow plays this year, maybe he doesn't. Most likely he'll become fluent in a package of goal line, short-yardage and red zone plays and run it a few snaps a game. Orton and Quinn are significantly further along in the offense (Brandstater was cut last Friday), and McDaniels has too much on the line to experiment with Tebow as a starter. After a promising 6--0 start last year the Broncos lost eight of 10, and in the off-season they unloaded the talented but troublesome Marshall.
Still, Tebow is brimming with a quiet confidence about his NFL prospects, even though he knows he's far from the player Denver thinks he can be. McDaniels is befuddled at those around the game who think Tebow's an NFL disaster waiting to happen. Way too high at 25th. Mechanics will never be right. Can't remake a quarterback in one off-season. McDaniels got suckered by the kid's Eagle Scout demeanor.
"Actually, I love that," said Tebow after his throwing session, leaning against the wall across from the team meeting room. His left arm, from the forearm to the nape of his neck, was mummified in ice, wrapped in a dozen ace bandages. "I think we both love it. It's a little bit of us against the world. It will be wonderful when I prove him right."
Growing up in Jacksonville, Tebow had a poster on the wall in his bedroom that read HARD WORK BEATS TALENT WHEN TALENT DOESN'T WORK HARD. For the short term, he and his teammates are following that motto as they prepare for the 2010 season. For the long term the Broncos' success—and McDaniels's fate—will be tied to whether hard work can turn Tebow into an elite quarterback. The NFL is skeptical. The Broncos are not.