Where have you gone, Tim Tebow?

Whatever happened to … Tim Tebow?

Remember that guy? It was impossible to make it through the preseason without a heavy dose of Tebow updates. After all, this was perhaps the most decorated player in college football history and a lightning rod for attention and speculation as to his NFL future. The endorsements and jersey sales rolled along from the moment the Broncos traded up to take Tebow in the first round of the April draft.

And with the general football public not sold on the merits of Broncos starter Kyle Orton, some Tebow-maniacs even believed the QB would see a lot of action in this, his rookie season.

Four weeks in, here’s what we have from Tebow: Two carries for 2 yards, zero pass attempts in Week 1. That’s it. He hasn’t appeared in a game since. And while nobody is surprised that Sam Bradford is starting in St. Louis and few are shocked Jimmy Clausen has been pressed into action in Carolina, it’s safe to say Max Hall being under center in Arizona wasn’t expected to happen before Tebow attempted his first NFL pass.

Then again, while Tebow was inactive as the Broncos’ No. 3 QB two weeks ago, he was active last week and on the sidelines as Orton’s backup during a road victory over the Titans. But whether it’s by design or due to Orton’s surprisingly prolific start to the season, Tebow hasn’t seen the spot action some believed he would.

Our experts don’t believe that’s a bad thing.

“Tim Tebow is in the best situation to most benefit his career,” NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi said. “He is watching an offense operate at the highest level in terms of passing yards, as he can visualize his playing without having to actually play. He is learning, he is developing and he is going to benefit from this time much like Aaron Rodgers benefited from his time off.”

NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan agreed, noting it’s better for Tebow’s development if he doesn’t have to focus on being a change-of-pace player in the Wildcat formation.

“Tebow has a lot to learn before he can be an effective NFL quarterback,” Kirwan said. “The Wildcat doesn’t really help him advance his pro career as a QB.”

As for Tebow’s role as the Broncos’ No. 2 QB, Kirwan doesn’t view it as a ringing endorsement that the former Heisman Trophy winner is ready to lead a pro offense, but rather it’s a reflection on the team’s other backup signal-caller.

“It says there isn’t a lot of faith in Brady Quinn,” Kirwan said.

– Craig Ellenport

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