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Get off Tebow, will you?

When the national pundits start talking Tim Tebow, as they’ve been known to do, oh, a million or so times in the past two weeks, I can’t listen.Tim Tebow was rushed hard by the Detroit Lions last week. For most of the game, he never had a chance.Isn’t there a 15-yard penalty for excessive piling on? That’s what these know-it-alls are doing and it makes me uncomfortable.

I’m not a big Tebow guy. I respect him and believe him to be a genuinely good person. But I don’t know if he’s going to make it as a quarterback in the NFL. I’ve watched bits and pieces of his performances the past two weeks as a starter for the Denver Broncos. I’ve seen what everybody else sees.

The difference is that I’m not ready, or comfortable, burying Tebow at this point. I don’t think we’ve seen enough. He’s playing for a terrible team with a terrible offense and, most glaringly, a terrible offensive line. I’m not sure Joe Montana in his prime would look good in a 2011 Broncos uniform behind this front.

I don’t understand this rush to judgment when it comes to Tebow. I think he was put in a no-win situation the second the Broncos made him their first-round draft choice in 2010. There was no way for Tebow to come out ahead in this. It was obvious that if he was ever going to be an impact NFL quarterback it would take him some time. Significant time.

Instead, the Broncos threw him into the fire a couple of games ago as Kyle Orton’s replacement. Even after rallying the Broncos to a win over Miami, nobody thought Tebow was at a place in his development where he should have been starting games.

The only chance for Tebow to succeed would have been for him to be an understudy for three or four seasons. Not one or two. He is not a polished enough quarterback to be able to lead a team at this early stage of his career.

Denver did Tebow no favors by taking him with their first-round pick. Because it was inevitable that Orton would struggle this season, new Denver coach John Fox felt the pressure to turn to Tebow. I’m sure Fox, a veteran coach, knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. But Broncos fans and media were eager to see what the Chosen One could do if he got to start some games.

Well, we’re finding out. And there’s nothing the Broncos, one of the four or five worst teams in the NFL, can do to protect him.

Sure, Tebow has bad mechanics. No, his ability to run the football doesn’t translate to the NFL the way it did to college football during his career at Florida. Too many runs at this level will shorten Tebow’s career. If he’s going to be a quality starter, he’ll have to refine his passing skills.

Games, though, aren’t the place to be doing that. The Tebow Process should be going on during practices and in the off-season. He should have never been anywhere near starting a game until some of his deficiencies were properly addressed.

I hope Tebow can figure things out and prove his critics wrong, but because of the way he’s being rushed I have my doubts. He’s such an easy target now and I’m alarmed at the viciousness with which some of those critics attack.

Lay off the guy.