Steve Tensi is the tallest of the experienced quarterbacks in pro
football. No one, however, seems really high on his chances to become a
major star at Denver.
Now 28 and a 6-year veteran, the Florida State product has seen his
progress stymied at times by critical injuries. He has missed lots of
action with shoulder and back problems which required sur¬gery. At 6-5
and 215, Tensi definitely has more physical equipment than the other
Bronco quarterback, 6-2, 195-pound Pete Liske, but his future is clouded
at the moment.
"Tensi is just fair," said one scout. "He's a big tall guy who can throw
the ball but he doesn't have the peripheral vision which allows you to
look and pick things out. Other quarterbacks have better clarity of
vision as far as seeing people in the secondary."
A veteran defensive back noted, "Tensi has all the physical
capabilities- good height, strong arm- but there's something missing. I
think it's his aversion to pressure. He doesn't want to get hit. We've
known if we could get to him quickly, he was going to release the ball
when he shouldn't. Someone like Joe Namath will sit there, sit there and
sit there. He'll see guys coming and he'll wait as long as possible.
Tensi's not that type, He's just gun-shy."
Tensi came into pro football with impressive credentials. He threw five
touchdown passes against Oklahoma in the Gator Bowl and then signed with
San Diego in '65. In '67 he was traded to Denver and the Broncos had
hopes he would prove the answer to their problems. He's had his moments,
but not all of them have been good.
Now, the injuries and ineffectiveness may have taken their toll.
"Tensi has excellent size for a quarterback," one scout said. "He's tall
enough to throw over defensive linemen from the pocket. He can set up
shorter than most quarterbacks due to his height. He has a very strong
arm and can throw long and he also has good accuracy on short routes. He
can beat you with the bomb if his protection holds up, but he is not a
"A good competitor and accurate on the short stuff but he doesn't have a
great arm," noted another scout. "He's not what you're looking for. He's
a .500 per cent quarterback. But he's probably a better leader than
Tensi because of his schoolhouse. I think he's smarter."
A rival defensive back said, "Liske is a good quarterback but he just
throws a soft ball. You can always make up five, six or seven yards on
him. The receiver can get a jump on you and you can still have a chance
at the ball. He's not a quarterback to take you all the way."
The quarterback potential in Denver, it seems, is not a mile high.