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Although they’ve slowed his growth as a passer, they haven’t stunted it, Douglass suggested.

Cunningham, who spent 16 seasons in the NFL, said the results speak for themselves.

“The bottom line is the man wins games. I’m probably his biggest fan,” Cunningham said. “When I look at him, I see a large Michael Vick. People tell Tim what he can’t do; he defies the odds. He doesn’t do it in a way that everybody else does it. He doesn’t do it like Tom Brady or my man Drew Brees. But let me tell you something: At the end of the game, it’s always exciting and he comes out ahead.”

Eventually, all scramblers are forced to rely more on their arm. Age and injuries catch up.

Tebow ran the ball 22 times two weeks ago, more than any NFL quarterback since 1950, prompting Vikings coach Leslie Frazier to crack that he’d like to get his star tailback Adrian Peterson that many touches.

The Broncos dispute the notion they’re putting Tebow in harm’s way with so many designed quarterback runs, insisting he’s susceptible to bigger hits in the pocket.

Young’s not worried about Tebow’s health.

“No, he’s a bull,” Young said. “Physically, he’s as ready to go take that beating as anyone in the league, running backs, anybody. Now, can you transition from running somebody over to then dropping back and reading the zone blitz and drop off the ball to the hot read? I mean, that’s the transition he has to get used to, but I’m not worried about him. The guy’s built for it.”

Theismann agrees that “your vulnerability to big shots in the pocket are greater than outside the pocket. But when you start to tuck and run, somebody’s going to come in and just say, `Hey, this is my shot at Tim Tebow and I’m going to take it.’

“And my bet is he’ll get up. But after how many can you get up?”

Young said he thinks Tebow’s biggest problem in the passing game is that his head’s swimming.

“So, I just got a feeling that yeah, maybe he’s not a 70 percent passer but he’s not 45. And so I just feel like as he plays more and gets more opportunity, he’ll throw the ball better as he relaxes more and gets more reps,” Young said. “But that’s what I’m worried about with him. I feel like it’s a disservice if he’s not getting the reps throwing the ball.”

Douglass disagrees.

“You have to use his talents,” he said. “I believe you have to use his physicality, his ability as a runner and the physicality is the size which means he can take some punishment, maybe run through a guy once in a while.”

Like they do with everything else, opponents will eventually decipher the option, critics say.

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