Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
5. The Endorsements: First EA Sports, to be the cover of NCAA Football 11. Then Nike. Then Jockey. Then, this week, FSR sports drink, in an upset. Few athletes -- certainly no rookies -- had a marketing impact like Tebow. (Let's not dwell too long on the time I stayed up until 1 a.m. waiting for his limited-edition shoes to go on sale, only to fall asleep with 5 minutes to go.)
4. The Super Bowl ad. The most talked-about Super Bowl ad of the year -- even more before the game than after it. Tebow's power to command attention seemed to sneak up on mainstream sports media that hadn't followed Tebow's career more closely. (I remember when this story started as a tiny item in a Colorado Springs newspaper, totally going under the radar.)
3. The Sugar Bowl. A record-setting way for Tebow to close his Florida career. (Remember how FoxSports.com had a live camera shot on Tebow the whole time? A fascinating experiment.)
2. Drafted in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Your draft status isn't what a "draft expert" says you are; it's wherever you end up getting picked. Tim Tebow IS a 1st-round NFL Draft talent, because he was taken in the 1st round of the NFL Draft.
1. The 4th quarter of the Broncos' win over the Texans in Week 16 of the NFL season. Amazing to think that anything could have eclipsed Tebow going in the 1st-round of the draft -- then again, some of us never doubted for a second that he would get drafted in the 1st round. But Sunday's thrilling come-from-behind performance was unexpected -- even to Tebow's biggest fans.
Partly because of the unexpectedness, but mostly because of the tangible, on-field performance itself, this closes 2010 as the top highlight of Tim Tebow's year.
(It is probably worth adding that getting to interview Tebow face-to-face back in April ranks among my own Top 5 favorite -- and certainly most memorable -- moments of the year.)
Happy new year to everyone. Thanks so much for your continued support. Big new things coming for me beginning very early in January. Rest assured: I'll be keeping you updated!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Week 2 of the Tebow-as-starter Era might have been Week 16 of the NFL season -- and might have come against the woeful Texans D -- but it was one of the biggest statements made by any player this weekend:
A slow start was ultimately eclipsed by two 4th-quarter TD drives of 70+ yards each, including the game-winning drive that ended with a 6-yard Tebow scoot into the end zone.
That bookended a 300-yard passing day for Tebow (something that presumptive Offensive Rookie of the Year Sam Bradford has only done once this season, in 15 starts).
On the season, Tebow has accounted for 8 TDs -- about a half-dozen more than most were willing to project (but right in the middle of my prediction of 7-10 TDs for him).
But the story of the game wasn't the stats -- it was the Comeback, leading the Broncos to a win that seemed out of reach just a quarter before.
It was a breakthrough performance.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Tebow signed a deal with FRS -- a drink he had used personally before and at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Here is what makes the deal innovative: Tebow reportedly got equity in the company as part of the relationship. This is huge.
When Vitamin Water was first starting out, they gave a slice of equity to 50 Cent to be an endorser. When the company exploded, 50 Cent made millions more than he would have as a regular endorser.
Tim Tebow's marketing portfolio is well-diversified: Natural fits like EA, market leaders like Nike, interesting "mainstream" partners like Jockey and, now, a calculated reach with a market insurgent, like FRS.
Team Tebow came up with a really impressive effort on this one.
Monday, December 20, 2010
The rest of the folks there were either for the Jets or Steelers, but I out-whooped them all when Tebow, on 3rd-and-24, galloped for that 40-yard TD. What a classic "Tebow" moment.
Then, on the very next drive, when Tebow threw that lob into the end zone, I -- like everyone else watching on TV -- saw on replay that the catch was good for a TD.
Now, the catch was amazing -- but let's not underrate the throw, which split two defenders and gave Brandon Lloyd ANY chance at making a play.
Boom: Two series, two TDs -- one rushing, one passing. Classic Tebow -- and it was only his first start ever.
The performance was more than an acquittal of Tebow's NFL-worthiness; it was a statement that he has the potential to have a big impact on the game.
Don't hang the Broncos' loss on Tebow -- everyone recognizes that it was Denver's D that failed the team. On offense, let's see less calls for line-plunges by Tebow and more scoots around the outside that worked so well in the first half of the game.
But all in all, it was about as good of a start as you could have hoped for: Big, signature, TD-scoring plays, complemented by competent game management totally worthy of an NFL QB making his first start.
It's a start. A great start, in fact.
UPDATE: After filing this post, just read Woody Paige's column today. It's a must-read, as you would expect, and we're on the same page.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
This is huge. I'm not quite sure how else to put it. For Tebow fans, this is the moment we have been waiting for since the first day of the NFL Draft -- if not the moment this year his college eligibility ended and his pro career began.
There is no guarantee that he will succeed tomorrow. There is no guarantee he will throw for 300 yards. Or 3 TDs passing, with another 2 rushing TDs -- typical of his career at Florida.
However, there is a 100 percent guarantee that he will play as hard as he did in any game at UF. And there is a 100 percent guarantee that Tebow will be the most-watched -- and most fascinating -- storyline of the late-afternoon NFL schedule, if not the entire day.
Win or lose, big stats or not, this is what we all wanted to see. Tebow will gain invaluable experience that will only make him more effective next week, next year and throughout his career.
I couldn't be more excited for tomorrow, and I'm sure you feel the same way as me.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Now, that's risky, given how this season has gone. I mean, if he didn't get in the game the LAST time the Broncos played the Raiders, why now?
For starters, Josh McDaniels is gone. And interim coach Eric Dudesville, while eager to play it safe by naming Kyle Orton his starting QB, simply doesn't have the juice to withstand the pressure. But that assumes that Dudesville doesn't want to play Tebow.
The reality is that it is the SAFEST thing to do: What folks don't seem to get is that fans don't care how well Tebow plays -- at least not yet.
They just want to see him play, period.
The same logic holds for why the Broncos -- otherwise totally irrelevant to the season -- become one of the first three highlights you'd see on Sunday if they play Tebow: He simply commands that much attention. And the Broncos, frankly, could use the cachet.
Kyle Orton's injury (or "injury") provides the perfect cover. Tebow already has taken snaps this week with the first team; it is a short leap to put him in the game.
It's Tebow Time.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Does Urban believe that Tim Tebow has the potential to be a very effective NFL quarterback? Absolutely. Does he think he could, if given the reins, make it happen? Absolutely.
But that doesn't mean that he wants everything that goes along with those reins -- coaching the Broncos is a lot more than coaching Tebow.
Tim Tebow needs one thing: A coach who believes in him enough to give him the ball -- in limited (if innovative) ways at first, then full-time.
In other words, he needs a coach that is LIKE Urban Meyer -- if not ACTUALLY Urban Meyer.
“I respect that Coach Meyer had the courage to make the decision that was right for himself and his family. He will be blessed and better off for it. I am truly glad that he’s happy and no matter what, we both will be Gators for the rest of our lives.
“While change is never easy, the University of Florida will find the right head coach to continue its proud football tradition and will have the full support of Gator Nation. I wish Coach Meyer and his family all the best going forward, and they will always be a big part of my life.”
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Like we said about Tebow in 2007, Cam has had one of the greatest individual seasons in college football history.
Tebow in '07 was my gold standard. That Newton even qualifies as worthy of a debate speaks volumes about the kind of year Newton has had on the field.
Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. ET, listen in to the Score's "Morning Jones" show, hosted by my old friend Bomani Jones, for an amazing debate: Shanoff vs. Jones. Tebow vs. Newton.
(Click here for instructions of how to listen -- it's on Sirius channel 98, or you can listen on your computer for free here. I'll also post a link after, when his producers have it archived.)
I have no problem laying out my side of the argument: While we might have a fair debate over single-season vs. single-season, Tebow crushes Newton -- and everyone else -- in "body of work."
It's not even close: Two national titles. Three SEC Championship games. One Heisman and THREE Top 3 finishes. And an unprecedented cult of personality.
And so I'm crawling back into Tebow's '07 season:
Comp %: 67% (234/350) (11th in nation)
Yards: 3,286 (23rd in nation)
YPA: 9.39 (1st in nation)
TDs: 32 (8th in nation)
QB Rating: 172.47 (2nd in nation)
TDs: 23 (3rd in nation)
1st QB ever to have 20 TDs passing and 20 TDs rushing.
Compare to Cam's 2010 season -- all stats without an extra game for the bowl:
Comp %: 67% (165/246) (11th in nation)
Yards: 2,589 (43rd in nation)
YPA: 10.52 (1st in nation)
TDs: 28 (10th in nation) (Ints: 6)
QB Rating: 188.16 (1st in nation)
Yards: 1,409 (10th in nation)
TDs: 20 (2nd in nation)
2nd QB ever to have 20 TDs passing and 20 TDs rushing. (Actually, 3rd: Colin Kaepernick from Nevada pulled it off just before Cam did.)
You can understand why Tebow's 2007 season was considered the new standard -- but also why Newton's 2010 season was arguably even better.
Now, Tebow was playing with less around him, while Newton was playing with a championship cast around him. (That cuts both ways: Because Tebow had less around him, he was called on to run the ball a lot more than if he had great short-yardage runners on the team; that said, Tebow WAS the best short-yardage running back on the team.)
Newton also had an arguably superior "championship" moment: Leading Auburn back from 24-0 on the road at Alabama, with a championship on the line, to a win. Tebow's closest analogue was leading his own 4th-quarter comeback against Alabama -- but that was the 2008 SEC Championship game.
That segues into the biggest differentiator between Tebow '07 and Newton '10 -- Newton led late-comeback after late-comeback, while Tebow's comeback moments (best typified by "The Promise," which framed the entire SEASON as a comeback) came in 2008, not 2007.
And that turns the comparison into apples-and-oranges: It is impossible to isolate Tebow's 2007 season; you can't ignore the body of work, from his Offensive MVP role on the national-title team of 2006 to his leadership (and stats!) in 2008's national-title year to his role at the center of a Florida team that was one bad game from playing for a national title.
I'm happy to debate Tebow vs. Newton -- it is a lot of fun, particularly when you start talking about the off-field mythologies... for BOTH players -- but I am content to marvel at what Tebow did in 2007 AND what Newton did this season.
That each are able to compare favorably with the other -- let's call them the two greatest individual seasons in college football history -- is amazing enough.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
They have just been beaten by the worst team of the 2009 season, now on the upswing and ironically a team leaning heavily on a rookie QB, who has responded to the challenge.
I nominally understood why Josh McDaniels wouldn't play Tim Tebow earlier in the season -- although I have no idea why he wouldn't get Tebow more touches in innovative ways.
But at this stage of the season, it is time for Tebow to get more than a handful of touches. It is time to give him lots of snaps -- lots of series -- every game.
There is no downside of losing anymore. There is no scenario where Tebow might play badly and the team would get beaten, because the team is losing anyway.
This is the opportunity to give Tebow much-needed NFL seasoning, to expose him to running plays and facing defenses that will make him a better player in 2011 and beyond.
McDaniels may not survive the season. Cynically, he can hedge against losing his job from more losing by playing Tebow -- there would be little expectation of winning, and McD can point to "The Future."
As an added bonus, playing Tebow would give Broncos fans something to look forward to, something to cheer about, something to make their team relevant.
If they aren't going to make the playoffs -- and they aren't -- the Broncos can at least be interesting. And Tebow can continue to move up the learning curve as an NFL QB.
I hesitate to say "Start Tebow." I'd settle for "Play Tebow," where he gets 12-18 plays per game, with at least half of those being passing opportunities.
But if the eventuality of this season is "Start Tebow," then why not get there sooner rather than later? Regardless...
It's Tebow Time in Denver.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
*Thanks for the chance to watch Tim Tebow have one last record-shattering performance in the Sugar Bowl way back on New Year's Day. (Feels like forever ago, doesn't it?)
*Thanks to all the folks who insisted -- staked their professional credibility -- on the fact that Tim Tebow CAN'T be a 1st-round NFL Draft pick. It made the 1st-round pick all the more fun.
*Thanks to Tim for giving me some time for the much-anticipated Teblog-Tebow interview with me before the Draft. Alas, the story was being saved for the Tebook -- it'll have to wait for 2011.
*Most of all, thanks to all of you for continuing to support the site throughout 2010. Obviously, 2009 was the big year, but things kept rolling this year. So grateful you were here with me for it.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families, and thanks again for making this site not just a success, but something I enjoy keeping as a part of my life.
So he puts Tebow in the backfield and Tebow throws an INT. So what? So he puts Tebow back there and instead of gaining 10 yards, Tebow only gains 2. So what? So he decreases Kyle Orton's snaps-per-game by a half-dozen or dozen or so. So what?
Because I could just as easily see: Tebow throwing completions for first downs or TDs. Or Tebow running for those 10 yards. Or Orton not being treated like a fragile flower who will wilt if he doesn't get ALL the snaps. Cripes: He's a stand-up pro QB; he can handle it.
The point is that this is the stretch of the season -- the point in the season where the Broncos have no shot at the playoffs and need to be scheming for success next year -- where they have nothing to lose by being innovative when it comes to Tebow.
Unless... well, McDaniels isn't as innovative as we once thought. (Here's a thought experiment: How many touches do you think Tim Tebow would have had by now if he was playing for Bill Belichick? If he has had 13 for McDaniels, I'll go with at least double that for the Genius, and I'll take Tebow's 4 TDs through 10 games and double them, too.)
McD is going to ride his sudden fealty to NFL orthodoxy all the way to an eventual ouster.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Not inside the red-zone, not in short-yardage situations. Not once.
It is hard to accept, given that the Broncos' season -- at least in terms of playoff hopes -- is over. I don't expect McDaniels to start Tim Tebow anytime soon, but you would think that he would at least experiment with him in new and interesting ways.
This is doubly true if the expectation is that McDaniels will stick with Kyle Orton next year, using Tim Tebow in spot moments. (That sounds familiar. If it's anything like this season, don't hold your breath.)
You would think that the coach of a team out of the playoff picture would have a bit more of a nothing-to-lose attitude about developing his 1st-round pick and future QB -- heck, even developing a unique asset that can be used alongside Orton.
(You'd hope McDaniels would be paying even a glimpse of attention to what Urban Meyer is doing in Gainesville, where lining up a dual-threat QB in the same backfield as the single-threat QB -- even moving them around depending on the defensive schemes -- has been Florida's most effective offense this season... even if Florida's own coaches won't stick with the concept.)
The coach has nothing to lose, except games. Sorry: More games.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Expect to see plenty of Kyle Orton and Philip Rivers slinging the ball around, but let's not discount the new expectation that Josh McDaniels will give Tebow a shot inside the 5-yard-line to score.
Consider this: Within the platform of a nationally televised game, what better way for McDaniels to showcase how smart he was to draft Tebow by letting him score a TD or two?
As usual, if Tebow does score a TD, expect him to be among the Top 5 most-searched terms on the Web within a few minutes, lasting into tomorrow morning.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Sam Bradford seems to have NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year sewn up -- if only for surviving as a rookie QB on a fairly mediocre team with little WR talent to speak of -- but it begs a question of how many TDs Tebow has to create to generate any consideration. 10? More?
Looking forward to Tebow Time in primetime on Monday Night Football. Let's hope Josh McDaniels is planning to use Tebow more aggressively, especially with the national-TV audience tuning in.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
More than that, I cannot believe that Tim Tebow won't win an online popularity contest. In fact, it would be a massive upset if he didn't win. Vote here.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Unlike the Broncos' rout of a loss to the Raiders a few weeks ago, when Tebow was ignored by Josh McDaniels, Tebow made the most of his opportunities in the Broncos' blowout of the Chiefs:
Tebow not only threw for a TD, but ran for one, too -- that gives Tebow 4 TDs on the season, including 3 rushing.
Let's put that in perspective: That is more rushing TDs than Ray Rice. It is more TDs than heralded 1st-round-draft-pick rookie RBs Ryan Matthews or CJ Spiller. It is more than Broncos teammate -- and starting RB -- Knowshon Moreno.
And Tebow's 4 total TDs accounted for are more than a slew of players, including future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, All-Pro WR Andre Johnson and many more.
What you hope today's game indicates is that when the Broncos are inside the 5-yard-line, it's Tebow Time -- and he delivers. Maybe McDaniels might even consider using Tebow in more situations than on the 1-yard-line. (Probably not, but you can certainly hope.)
Suddenly, my over-under for Tebow TDs this season at 7 doesn't look unreasonable. Just give him the ball, and Tebow does the rest.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
In April, he led the league in jersey sales. This wasn't much of a surprise: His jerseys were new, the Broncos fan base (combined with the Gator fan base and Tebow fan base) is rabid.
But it's November, and -- guess what? -- per CNBC's Darren Rovell, Tim Tebow leads the NFL in jersey sales between April and October. As in: For the entire season.
When it comes to "Brand Tebow," every time people say "Tebow can't," he proves he can. Just because it has never been done before doesn't mean it can't be done.
It's that way with jersey sales. It's that way with endorsement deals or shoe sales.
And so when I say that his memoir will not just be a No. 1 New York Times best-seller or the top-selling sports book of the year, but one of the Top 5 top-selling books of the year, period, why not give me/him the benefit of the doubt?
Now, if only Josh McDaniels would get the message....
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
- Tim Tebow, talking about Cam Newton. (Because, of course, who ISN'T talking about Cam Newton this week?)
As a Heisman voter, Tebow has a particularly interesting perspective on Newton. Then there's this: Cam was his back-up at Florida before Newton transferred.
For what it's worth, I think that as long as Newton isn't suspended, the vast majority of voters will focus entirely on what Newton has done on the field and he will win the award.
(Obviously, if he starts playing terribly or gets injured or Auburn loses unexpectedly, Newton would lose Heisman momentum in the same way any fading front-runner would.)
Monday, November 8, 2010
The book will be published by Harper Collins; Tebow will collaborate with Nathan Whitaker, who helped Tony Dungy write his best-selling books.
Expect Tebow's book to similarly dominate the best-seller list. I predict it will be No. 1 in the New York Times bestseller list by its 2nd week. (It should lead Amazon by its first day of release, if not earlier.) I'll go further: It will be the No. 1-selling sports book of 2011.
I'm really excited to hear that it will hit the shelves so soon -- coinciding with the NFL Draft, a timely moment. (In fact, when I was developing out the Tebook, that was the publication date that was suggested to me.)
Speaking of the Tebook -- the book byproduct of the work I put into this blog (but mostly new material, and only using the blog as a reference) -- it will have to take a backseat to other things, for now.
(But inspired by the news of Tebow's memoir, maybe I will polish up what I had already done and self-publish an e-book. It's a nice complement to Tebow's book.)
Friday, November 5, 2010
I doubt Josh McDaniels will be watching Florida-Vanderbilt on ESPN3.com (or GamePlan) like Tebow and his friends in Denver surely will be, but McD could take a lesson on offensive innovation. Oh sure, it took Urban and Steve Addazio a few weeks to figure it out -- but that merely gives me hope McDaniels will eventually figure it out, too.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
That's Yahoo's MJD making the argument that starting Tim Tebow over Kyle Orton right now would be entertaining, but entailing a whole lot of losing, too.
I agree with MJD that it isn't time for Tebow to start... yet.
But let me qualify with a wholeheartedly Bad-News-Bears-style "Let! Him! Play!"
Let's see more reps for Tebow. Start with short yardage situations in the middle of the field (and not just on 4th down!). Layer in some opportunities to throw passes and not just plow ahead for a yard or two. Then start testing innovative formations that put Tebow in a position to help the team more consistently -- but in ways that take advantage of his skills.
That's what everyone was hoping for when the Broncos drafted him, right?
There was never a guarantee that Tebow would start -- plenty of NFL QBs spent their rookie year on the bench, learning. But Tebow can actually help the Broncos in games right now, all while accruing on-field, in-game experience that will help next year, 2012 or whenever he eventually starts.
I'm not asking Josh McDaniels to start Tim Tebow. I'm simply asking the coach to play him.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Inside the 5, Tebow will simply get the ball in the end zone, as he showed yesterday in (very) limited usage. In a Broncos offense that sputters, Tebow delivers points.
It would be great if McDaniels expanded that to let Tebow have the ball inside the 20, or in short-yardage situations in the middle of the field (and not necessarily only on 4th down and short).
That's 2 TDs on the season for Tebow. I seem to recall a bookmaker setting the odds of Tebow's season TD total at 1.5 -- and at the time, me scoffing at that. Halfway through the season, he has already topped that prediction -- with a lot more to come if McDaniels would use him more.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
That's not me talking, although it could have been. That's from the New York Times' Toni Monkovic, in a post from this morning titled "Why Not Give Tebow a Try?"
Josh McDaniels' choice on Sunday was an odd one: No one would have second-guessed him for giving Tebow a few series -- even a few snaps.
Instead, McDaniels seems to have made the active decision NOT to play Tebow -- perhaps specifically to confound the expectations.
There is being contrarian and then there is something else.
Monkovic's "Then when?" is as good of a short-hand slogan for Sunday's mystifying decision-making as anything I've seen.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Among the highlights:
*Yes, the globe-hopping Tebow has been to England before.
*They asked him what he would be typically dressing up as for Halloween. Tebow replied that he spends this week getting ready for Georgia. (Ahh, memories.)
*They asked him about how well Kyle Orton has been playing. Tebow said all the right things: "Whatever opportunity I get I’m trying to do my best with it."
*And, then, the Tebow money question: "As an athlete how important is it for you to send good messages to the wider public?" This is Tim's best thing. Take it away, Tim...
"I think one of the greatest things that pro athletes have is a platform that their sport gives them and to have so many people looking up to them.
"I believe it is their responsibility to be a role model to the kids and families that look up to them, because they can make a difference to so many people’s lives and bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need if they only try.
"That’s something I want to be is a better role model to kids and all the people looking up to me, and I would like to encourage other athletes to do the same, because who knows what a difference they could make if they just go into a hospital and spend time with kids and let them know that they care about them and encourage them.
"If more athletes took that approach they could really make a difference in people’s lives."
Let's see what the notoriously finicky London press does with that.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I was excited to watch the Broncos-Raiders game, one that I would never get regionally in NYC. By the time we were settled in our seats, the Raiders were up 31-0.
Broncos fans might not like the following sentiment, but my feeling was: Well, at least we'll get a nice long look at Tim Tebow, because Josh McDaniels can't possibly NOT play him in THIS one.
When the first half finished up and Tebow hadn't played a down, I was a little frustrated, but I was able to rationalize it: Gotta try to keep Kyle Orton in some kind of long-term rhythm.
But then we got into the 3rd quarter and the game was blown open -- I mean, more than it was when it was 31-freaking-zilch.
Into the 4th quarter... no Tebow. Not a series.
In the most meaningless half of football the Broncos will play this season -- at least until they are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention -- McDaniels refused to play Tebow.
And I use that word "refused" purposely. He had every reason to give Tebow some much-needed in-game reps, against an opponent up so many points that they were half-speed.
"That's not really the time that I'd want him to get work," McDaniels said.
Instead, he let him linger -- the most notable Tebow appearance coming during all those TV camera cuts to him on the sidelines, helmet off, not even close to warming up.
If McDaniels isn't going to even give Tebow a glimpse of game action during a zillion-to-not-so-much rout, I'm not sure he is at all serious about Tebow as the future of the team.
As the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla said: "Stubborn and stupid is no way to go through life."
If not then, when? It is a fair question -- and one that would have taken at least some of the sting out of what turned out to be the most humiliating Broncos regular-season loss in a generation.
The Broncos play in London next week -- Tebow Takes the U.K.! -- and then have a bye week. As predicted before the season started, the week after the bye seems as good a time as any to give Tebow a try.
But given McDaniels' decision-making yesterday, I won't be holding my breath.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
*"Tebow Package" must evolve. (L. Jones, Denver Post)
*More on need to expand Tebow's plays. (M. Krieger, Denver Post)
*Designing a successful pass play for Tebow. (National Football Post)
*Tebow on a 2-year development plan. (Denver Post)
*Should Tebow get more touches? Me: Um...yes. (ESPN.com)
*Tebow gets a dog: Bronco. (LB Sports)
Monday, October 18, 2010
McDaniels finally decided to use Tim Tebow in special situations, and -- go figure! -- it paid off with points.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Sounds like the Ravens aren't particularly concerned -- about my attendance or about Tebow. Tebow will be the No. 2 QB, however, so you never know. I'm not holding my breath that Josh McDaniels will use Tebow even as a one-time strategic gambit.
Meanwhile, I'm still reeling from last night's Florida loss to LSU at The Swamp, which was even more depressing than Florida and Tebow's loss at Baton Rouge in 2007.
At least that LSU team was a national champion. This year's edition is terrible -- of course, this year's Florida team looks far worse than that building-for-a-championship team in '07.
The defense came up big in the 4th (until they blew it on that long pass after the fake FG, which set up the game-winning TD for LSU). The special teams were just OK (the good: Debose's TD KR; the bad: not knowing Miles would go for the fake FG).
The offense? Ugh. If it wasn't for Carl "1st-Down Maker" Moore -- who I would call the team's offensive MVP this season -- things would have been unredeemable.
I know Demps was injured (and Brantley was limited), but come on. For the first three quarters, the offense was anemic.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
(Despite how well Kyle Orton is playing, I also remain annoyed that Josh McDaniels seemingly won't even consider possible innovative uses for Tebow in the game plan.)
I will say this: Tebow and the Broncos come as close to NYC as they will this season when they journey to Baltimore to play the Ravens on Sunday.
I am seriously considering driving down -- I may even take my 4-year-old with me for his first-ever NFL game. Unclear how he/we would be received in Tebow gear by the Ravens faithful.
Meanwhile, Florida's LSU week is a fun one for Tebow fans -- it is a fascination bookended by 2006 and 2009. More on that tomorrow.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
"We're not going to do that in short yardage. People who mention that, I don't know, that's ridiculous."You could make the case that suggesting that the team use Tebow in short-yardage situations is no more ridiculous than a coach rejecting any possible solution to a team's glaring problem.
Here's what I mean: You would think that given the Broncos' inadequacy in short-yardage situations, McDaniels would be MORE open to new, out-of-the-box ideas, not less.
Tebow being drafted by McDaniels once looked so promising, because it would take a fearless, innovative coach to take advantage of Tebow's unique skills -- particularly this season.
If McDaniels won't even consider experimenting with Tebow -- mocking the mere idea of it as "ridiculous" -- then he is probably not the coach we thought he was.
There is still time. Perhaps as the losing continues, creativity with Tebow will seem less absurd to McDaniels.
He might want to pay attention to what Urban Meyer is doing with a rookie quarterback down at Tebow's old stomping grounds.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Ha: I'll leave that to someone else, but Trey Burton did something that even Tim Tebow never did:
6 TDs. In a single game.
What is most remarkable, of course, is that Burton is just a freshman. Not only did he top any single game's worth of TDs that Tebow had as a freshman, but he topped any production from Tebow at Florida... ever.
Wild stuff, to be sure.
What does Burton in 2010 have in common with Tebow in 2006?
For starters, both are arguably their team's offensive MVPs, even in a non-starting role. After 4 games, Burton has reached that point. And in 2006, I think a strong case can be made that Tebow -- even in a limited role -- played the most critical role in the team's success.
Which brings the two players together: Four games into Trey Burton's Florida career, Urban Meyer has used him at least extensively a he had used Tebow four games into Tebow's career.
2006 Week 1: Tebow had one touch (and one TD).
2006 Week 2: Tebow accounted for 143 yards, including a team-high 9 carries for 62 yards and 6/9 passing for another 81. But no TDs in a Florida route of UCF.
2006 Week 3: 7 carries for 29 yards against Tennessee. Zero TDs, but that critical, season-saving 2-yard run on 4th-and-1 in the 4th quarter on a drive that would end with the Gators' game-winning TD.
2006 Week 4: 6 carries for 73 yards and 1/2 passing for 12 yards (but 0 TDs) in a fairly easy win over Kentucky.
You get the sense -- even with an eventual outcome of a national championship -- that four games into the 2006 season Urban Meyer really wanted to use Tim Tebow a lot more than he did -- particularly in the red zone or near the goal-line. (Something you saw in Week 6 when Urban unleashed Tim Tebow near the goal-line against LSU.)
And so, four years and two championships and top-of-his-profession success later, Urban is doing with Burton exactly what he wanted to do with Tebow this early in the season five seasons ago.
Urban is removing the starting QB in key red-zone situations and letting Burton run the offense. And he is calling Burton's number (or should I say NEW number), over and over.
When you score 6 TDs in a single game -- in the fourth game of your college career -- the possibilities seem sort of limitless. It is exciting to see Urban Meyer taking advantage.
Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels might take a lesson.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
(By the way, in the 14 months since TimTeblog.com launched, this past 7 days has been, by far, the slowest week for Tebow-related material.)
I have to say: Rivalry Weeks for Florida (Tennessee, Georgia, Florida State, etc.) are all well and good, but I'm never going to experience "Kentucky Week" the same way after last year's game.
The image is seared into my memory: Tebow lying on the ground, arms perpendicular to his body, which was otherwise limp and -- dare I say -- lifeless.
For more than a fleeting second, I was convinced he was paralyzed. And that was just about the worst feeling in the world. Horrifying, really.
Kentucky defensive lineman Taylor Wyndham earns a place in Tebow mythology for his part -- certainly not intending to rush Tebow into a head injury. Wyndham will hear 90,000 boos rain down on him in the Swamp the first play his name is called out over the PA system.
But even after Tebow got up, there was the dazed look. The live-on-TV vomiting. The camera tracking him toward the ambulance. More glazed looks from Tebow.
It was the most indestructible player in the history of college football... laid low.
And then, heading into a bye week before a season-making road game in primetime at LSU, the incessant will-he-or-won't-he debates.
But the "Kentucky game" will always make me wince -- even shudder. Mostly about my fears of what might have been, fortunately not what was.
That is the oddest thing about it: Given that I thought Tebow was paralyzed, the concussion was nearly a relief. Nearly.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
It should surprise no one that the way Kyle Orton was playing -- like an All-Pro, frankly -- that Josh McDaniels wouldn't even put Tebow in for a change-of-pace play or two.
I actually thought that the offense was chugging along so smoothly -- and the game was so securely in hand -- that I thought McD might put Tebow in for a few plays.
He didn't, but it's not like Orton didn't deserve to take every snap along the way, all the way to the winning finish. I'm sure Tebow was thrilled to see the team get its first win of the season.
Friday, September 17, 2010
If offseason jersey sales and training-camp attendance figures are to be believed, the crowd should be decked out in Tebow gear. (My blue Tebow Broncos jersey finally arrived -- 6 weeks after ordering it -- a little earlier this week.)
All signals point to similar use of Tebow as last week: 2-3 plays, with the expectation that they will be QB keepers. (That makes it a perfect moment for McDaniels to switch things up and either let Tebow pass or pull off something besides a plunge up the gut.)
No posting until Sunday, as I'll be observing Yom Kippur, but as I will be planted in front of my TV on gameday, expect some updates throughout the late-afternoon game.
In the meantime, pleasantly recall the way Tebow crushed Tennessee throughout his Florida career.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
An aside: Tebow takes a lot of caustic grief for not being "ready" or "able" for the NFL. But did you see Kevin Kolb? Heck, did you see Mark Sanchez last night? These are "starters," apparently.
Let's put it more plainly: Even playing in his first-ever NFL game -- and let's credit the Packers and Ravens defenses as being awesome -- Tebow could have done better than Kolb or Sanchez.
UPDATE: Worthwhile perspective from the AV Club, but I'd throw in there that I'm not suggesting he start (yet) -- and I'm not sure even the most ardent Tebow fans think he should be starting right now. Also note that the AVC seems to be fine with Tebow starting eventually, just not -- y'know -- Week 2. Fair enough.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I think King doesn't mean Tebow was a dud, specifically, as much as the way he (and I and lots of other people) thought Broncos coach Josh McDaniels would use Tebow more aggressively.
It wasn't about Tebow playing in Jacksonville, so the Broncos should play him -- it was that Tebow offers an innovative coach the strategic opportunities to produce productive gains.
When Tebow got the ball on the third Broncos offensive play of the game, it looked promising, even if the run itself was for just a yard.
Tebow later was inserted again for a QB keeper: Again, just a single yard. And that was the extent of Tebow's productivity -- and McDaniels' originality.
I think Woody Paige saw it right: With less than 5 minutes to go, with the Broncos down a TD and sitting on the Jags' 14-yard-line on a make-or-break 4th-and-3, it should have been "Tebow Time."
It is sheer speculation -- even delusion -- but does anyone else think that in his first-ever NFL game, in front of a "home" crowd in a stadium he has basically destroyed teams in for four years, Tebow doesn't create either a 1st-down or a touchdown?
Instead, the play call from Orton to Lloyd fell incomplete -- close, but ultimately a failure -- and the Broncos went on to lose the game.
Tebow spoke briefly with reporters after the game: "Obviously I’m competitive and I love playing in games. So I love being out there, but for me right now, I’ve just got to learn and try to improve every day."
For me, the disappointment -- the "dud," in King's words -- was that given this opportunity to innovatively take advantage of Tebow (and why else did McDaniels draft him?), McDaniels passed.
Obviously, if he puts in Tebow and he falls short, McDaniels would have been crucified. But at least he could have said "I won't apologize for trying something unorthodox to try to tie or win the game." Instead, McDaniels was risky in the wrong way, and it didn't work out.
Hopefully the lesson is that for a non-playoff team like the Broncos, there is very little downside to innovation. And hopefully next time, McDaniels gives more consideration to Tebow Time.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
As I tweeted earlier today, I think that his Twitter account will reach 100,000 followers in the next seven days -- if not by the end of the weekend. (At the time of this post, he is at nearly 12,000; he was at 600 roughly 4 hours ago.)
And I predict he will cross a million sometime in the middle of the NFL season, perhaps as early as Halloween. (Then again, you'd think by now, I would understand the Tebow Phenomenon well enough to boldly predict he will cross a million followers by Sunday's kickoff.)
You can follow me at @danshanoff and this blog at @timteblog.
(We'll see if @timtebow follows either!)
Team Tebow has also launching TimTebow.com, not to be confused with TimTeblog.com.
In case you're wondering "GB-squared" on his message to fans on his new site stands for "God Bless, Go Broncos."
Both the new site and the new Twitter feed qualify this as a huge day for Brand Tebow.
Then came the pre-draft training. ("Tebow 2.0")
Then the Draft itself. (Defying the doubters.)
Then rookie camp. (Hysteria!)
Then training camp. (Haircuts!)
Then exhibition season. (TDs! INTs! Injuries!)
Tim Tebow has yet to play a down in a regular-season (read: real) NFL game. He has the league's No. 1-selling jersey. He is a Top 3 product pitch-man. He is one of the most popular players -- certainly the most intrigue-inducing player -- in the league.
And that is all before this Sunday, when Tebow will make his NFL debut -- either symbolically or ironically, depending on your point of view -- in Jacksonville.
It isn't even clear Tebow will play a down -- although it is an educated guess to say that Josh McDaniels knows it is in everyone's best interests to find a way to get Tebow the ball at least once.
After all, Tebow only touched the ball once in his first-ever game at Florida, five years ago last week. It was a QB keeper inside the 5-yard-line -- a touchdown. It is easy to envision a scenario like that in Jacksonville on Sunday.
That play -- and the way Urban Meyer used Tebow throughout his freshman year (his "rookie" year) in college -- is a pretty good template for how McDaniels and the Broncos might deploy Tebow in his rookie season in the NFL. The key word is: Selectively.
It Tebow ready to be a starting QB in the NFL? I'm not sure any rookies are ever ready to be starting QBs in the NFL in Week 1. Not Peyton Manning. Not Tom Brady. Not Aaron Rodgers. Not Troy Aikman. Certainly not Sam Bradford, who will start anyway.
The point is that Tebow doesn't have to be a starting QB in the NFL -- at least not yet (and at least in the absence of the kind of random accident, like an injury, that thrusts any NFL backup into a starting role).
But that doesn't mean that Tebow doesn't have a role to play in his rookie year. Thinking back to his freshman year at Florida, a valuable role.
There are short-yardage situations where critical first-downs need to be gained, to extend drives or manage the clock. There are red-zone or goal-line situations where touchdowns need to be scored. Tebow doesn't have to have Manning's release or Brady's accuracy or Rodgers' zip.
He just needs to be... Tebow.
He needs to be good enough to make the throw or good enough to muscle a run -- or, perhaps, potentially good enough at either that a clever coach can create enough defensive uncertainty that the play will be a success, no matter what the call.
That has always been Tebow's appeal -- at least for his rookie year. That he can allow for an unorthodox coach to create an unorthodox play with an unorthodox result:
*"4th-and-short" to "1st-and-10."
*Removing the "conventional" starting QB at the goal-line for his backup, who is a goal-line specialist.
*Forcing the defense to account for the quarterback as a ball-carrier -- creating confusion somewhere, just long enough to pull off a positive, even game-impacting play.
In an ideal world, that is Tebow's role this season: Contributing in a way that impacts the team's chances of winning games in the short term, while being given training and coaching in how to play the position full-time in the long-term.
Tebow fans have seen this before: The fall of 2006. It worked -- at least well enough for Tebow's team to win a national championship. Some might argue he even wasn't used enough.
But the fact is that even a little Tebow can go a long way, if he is deployed innovatively enough.
That has to be the extent of fan and expert expectations for Tebow this season. And that feels like both a challenge in and of itself -- and something he is more than capable of matching.
Programming note: I will not be blogging tomorrow or Friday for the Jewish holidays. Saturday I will be at The Swamp for the Florida-South Florida game, but will certainly update if any news related to Tebow's status in Sunday's season-opener comes up. As I mentioned before, I will be in Jacksonville on Sunday -- just long enough to climb on an airplane about an hour before the Broncos and Jaguars kick off and probably landing and finally settled at home in a position to post here well after the game is over. But I will certainly have plenty to say in the wake of the game's results by Monday morning.
Friday, September 3, 2010
(Yes, my stay will include not one but two Gator home games -- alas, I will by flying out of Jacksonville one hour before Tebow and the Broncos kick off against the Jaguars.)
Let's talk briefly about the game last night:
*It was Tebow's most extensive and valuable playing time yet, which can only help.
*The first play was... well, forgettable: A fumble that turned into 6 for the Vikings. He also threw an interception -- turnovers plagued the Broncos, generally.
*All in all, though, Tebow showed poise in completing 12 of 16 passes, including a TD.
I will check in from the Swamp, but look for extensive Tebow/NFL Preview coverage here next week, as we gear up for Tim Tebow's first real NFL game.*
(* -- That's a hint: I think he will get 4-6 snaps in Jacksonville, including the chance to make a play from inside the red zone. Josh McDaniels has big plans for Tebow right away.)
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Ironically, Tebow barely played -- yet offered marvelous foreshadowing of his future: 1 play, 1 carry, 1 yard, 1 TD... en route to a 34-7 pasting of Southern Miss.
I was at that game and vividly remember the crowd's reaction when Tebow entered the game -- there was a buzz. The touchdown brought a cheer louder than anything else that day. (Check out a homemade clip of the TD here.)
There are plenty of "Tebow's legend at Florida started HERE" stories, but that single play five years ago today is as good of a starting point as any.
And so we come to the first game -- the first season -- of the post-Tebow Era, this Saturday at the Swamp against Miami (Ohio).
Tebow has loomed so large over the program over the past four seasons -- even as a freshman (arguably the Offensive MVP of a national champion) -- that this feels... yes, odd.
That is not to say the team will suffer much without him. Even with losing Tebow -- and at least a half-dozen other NFL-quality players -- the Gators are still consensus Top 5.
John Brantley is good -- really good. Good enough to be a 1st-round NFL draft pick... in 2011. (Think Mark Sanchez after his only year as a starter at USC.)
And Brantley is good enough to lead Florida's offense to a lot of points. I'll call it right now: Brantley will be so successful that people will wonder, in hushed awkward tones, if he is just as good -- if different -- of a fit in the Florida offense than... no, really? Really?
Now, beautifully thrown balls and TDs by the bunch are great, but Brantley will ultimately be judged by winning -- and winning championships. Needless to say, if he can lead Florida to an SEC title this year, past Alabama, he will earn his place, and then some.
I'm not sure Florida will win on October 2 at Alabama -- but I will give them a puncher's chance. Even if they lose there, I do think that Florida will not lose again: That includes winning the SEC East, then beating Alabama in an epic rematch in the SEC Championship Game.
(That may or may not be enough to make the national title game. In theory, a one-loss SEC champ that beat the No. 1 team in the country -- and whose only loss is on the road to the No. 1 team in the country -- has a pretty good resume. But the BCS formula will favor lesser teams with unblemished records, whether they are from the Big 12 or Big 10... or Idaho.)
But I think that Florida's offense is in good hands with Tebow's heir to Urban Meyer's spread offense. Tebow will be missed, in a lot of ways, but the offense will be less reliant on the QB keeper on 1st-and-10 or 3rd-and-short -- that diversification will make the offense more dangerous: As dominant as Tebow was in 2007 or 2008, remember what a factor Percy Harvin and the other wide receivers presented for defenses.
The best analysis is to recognize that John Brantley isn't Tim Tebow -- not in skill-set or style or celebrity. Urban Meyer is ready to move on; the team is ready to move on; Brantley is ready to take over.
Florida fans may or may not be ready to move on, actually. The legacy of the greatest college football player of all time doesn't dissipate when he leaves campus, or the following season... maybe not for a while. But they will certainly be cheering just as loudly for the 2010 team. Even with expectations like I outlined above, they don't compare to last year's near-suffocating expectations from Day 1 of "championship or bust." The breathing room will feel refreshing.
I will be at Florida's season opener on Saturday at the Swamp, just like I was 5 years ago. I will be wearing my blue Tim Tebow jersey, like I have worn for every game since the jerseys came out in advance of the 2007 season.
And I can't lie: It will feel strange to sit in the Swamp wearing it, without him on the field.
How do you feel about it? Put your observations in the comments.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Team Tebow is entirely within its rights to shut down commercial companies trading on Tebow's name. I'm sure sports media folks will rap Tebow's knuckles, but every brand does it.
The T-shirt company should have known this was coming. There are a bunch of T-shirts out there that traded on Tebow's cachet without outright infringement on his name.
(There is the one model of T-shirt that has a "T" inside a Superman-style geometric outline. There is the T-shirt that says "HE15MAN." There are plenty of T-shirts that display the "Promise" speech. None were as blatant or brazen, and they have largely been left alone.)
Anyway, this development is entirely unsurprising -- and credit the TebowTees folks for folding the online shop when Team Tebow asked. Let's hope it was all relatively friendly.
Monday, August 30, 2010
The bad: The INT. (And, only tangentially related to Tebow, Kyle Orton deciding to ram into James Harrison.)
The ugly: As Josh McDaniels pointed out, the INT wasn't as bad as the missed opportunities on 3rd down, especially that first underthrow to Eddie Royal.
The best part is that it's only the preseason -- every snap is a learning experience. At a macro level, the biggest news is that Tebow played ahead of Brady Quinn.
The final preseason game is Thursday night against the Vikings -- Tebow and Brett Favre on the same field? The internet might explode.
Then: 10 days until the regular-season opener at Jacksonville, in which you can expect to see Tebow used in ways you have not during the preseason.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I suspect that given the current state of his ribs, Tebow won't see any game action; the emphasis should be on getting him as healthy as possible for Week 1 of the regular season at Jacksonville.
Not that Tebow's absence will keep Fox from prominently featuring him during the broadcast....
UPDATE: Tebow apparently will be playing, probably in the 4th quarter -- not unlike the first preseason game.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
That night, for the post-dinner, pre-bedtime activity with my 4-year-old, we opened up the dozen or so packs left in the box. Needless to say, my kid was hoping to find a Tim Tebow card, but I knew the chances were slim.
We opened each individual pack -- I hadn't opened a sport-card pack in probably 25 years, yet there was that old thrill of anticipation: "What players will I get?" It was crazy to revive the exact same sensation I had as a kid -- and to see my kid experience it for the first time.
The players came and went: Oh, there's Peyton Manning. And a Brett Favre. And a Cadillac Williams. Hey, there's a Joe Haden rookie card. Oh, wow: A card with an actual swatch from Adrian Peterson's game-worn jersey. And a real gem: A card signed by Ndamukong Suh.
But no Tebow card, signed or otherwise. I was mildly disappointed, but recognized that it is perfectly easy for me to find a card shop or go on eBay and buy a single if I really wanted one. (Or really wanted one for my kid.
That's what I thought of when I read this latest from Beckett's blog -- I have loved their coverage (mainly from Tracy Hackler) of the Tebow phenomenon. And it is fairly described as a "mania" -- perhaps the biggest sport-card phenomenon in a decade.
The post, by Mike Fruitman, is about how the Tebow card phenomenon is playing in Denver. As you would imagine, it is fairly insane. Good for the card companies. Good for the card-shop owners. And good for fans who are, perhaps like me, finding renewed interest in cards.
Tim Tebow was named "Single Christian of the Year" by the website Christian Partners for Life. It is only August, but I am going to nominate CPL for P.R. brilliance of the year for that one.
Much like the ESPYs for "Top College Athlete," I posit that Tebow could win "Single Christian of the Year" EVERY year he finds himself single.
(Speaking of "I'm late on this but..." I'm sure you all have noticed I haven't touched on the hyperbaric chamber. Maybe I have just read too many stories of athletes using them. It just didn't feel like news that he used one; I kind of almost expected it.)
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Here is my question: For all the complaints about Tim Tebow's NFL potential or his performance all of 3 months and 1 preseason game into his NFL career, how about a moment to note how atrociously, judgment-erodingly wrong the NFL draftniks were about Matt Leinart, who almost all rated as "NFL prototype" and "can't-miss." Certainly, Leinart didn't get graded as a prospect as severely as Tebow was. The draftniks swooned.
And yet, five years in, Leinart is terrible. Maybe it's the team; maybe it's the lack of development help; maybe it's him. But the fact is: The draft "experts" couldn't have been more wrong. And, given what we see out of Leinart, I'll take Tim Tebow's prospects 5 years from now over where Leinart is now.
After 1 or (more likely) 2 or (less likely) 3 seasons as an understudy to Kyle Orton, Tebow may or may not turn into fellow longtime-understudy Aaron Rodgers -- maybe Tebow will simply be a serviceable starter, like Alex Smith or Vince Young.
But he certainly won't be -- can't be -- as bad as Leinart.
Ironically, Leinart was displaced as college football's best QB of the decade by Tim Tebow.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
In the meantime, don't miss Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley's profile of Tebowmania in Denver.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I have not one but two fantasy football drafts today. The running joke among my league members is how early am I going to reach for Tim Tebow.
Based on data from "Average Draft Position" -- the average spot a player is taken in thousands of drafts being tracked -- I will not have to reach very far.
The ADP charts I have seen have Tebow listed close to the 300th overall pick -- in far more leagues, he is going undrafted than being drafted.
(In the NFL.com fantasy football preview magazine, they didn't even have an entry for Tebow -- he didn't "qualify," given their prediction of where he would be drafted... or undrafted, I guess.)
Here is the quandary:
It is unlikely that Tebow will have a fantasy impact at QB -- at least until he becomes a starter, which could happen at Week 10 (or not at all).
Now, that's not to say that Tebow won't rack up fantasy points as early as Week 1: If he scores a TD or two in Jacksonville, that is real fantasy value.
Except for the QB slot, where it can't compete on points with a typical 10-, 12- or 14-team league starting QB that will account for multiple TDs plus 200-300 yards passing.
That is why I made the suggestion a few months ago that one of the leading services -- Yahoo, ESPN.com or CBSSports.com -- qualify Tebow as a QB... and an RB... and a TE.
Consider the TD that Tebow scored on Sunday night: He performed much more like a running back than a quarterback.
There's still that problem: Even with 5-6 plays from the QB position where Tebow acts like a RB as much as a QB -- even if he scores on 1 or 2 of those plays (per game? can you imagine?) -- no fantasy GM would start him over a full-time RB that will get 15-20 carries per game, with a lot more chances to score TDs.
And that's why I throw in the TE designation, even though Tebow won't play TE and is unlikely to catch any passes, even if he lines up in a single-wing strategy.
If Tebow really can score anywhere from 7-10 TDs this season -- that's only 1 goal-line plunge every 2 games -- that makes him every bit as points-valuable as a 2nd- or 3rd-tier fantasy TE.
I pinged a friend who is part of the Yahoo! fantasy brain-trust about the idea, including in my sell that Yahoo would get a TON of publicity for making Tebow more fantasy-friendly.
He found the idea intriguing, but ultimately a tough sell internally.
I tried to remind him that when Marques Colston was accidentally listed as a TE a few years ago, Colston became a fantasy legend in a way he never could have had he been accurately listed as a WR.
I think there are a lot of folks out there who WANT to draft Tim Tebow on their teams. The major fantasy league sites don't do the fans -- or the game -- any favors by artificially limiting Tebow this season.
Yes, it's an exception. But it's an entirely fun idea -- and I wouldn't be surprised if Tebow started showing up in lots of starting lineups as a TE, especially once he starts scoring TDs.
Do it, Yahoo. Do it, ESPN. Do it, CBS. Who will be the one to get the headlines for giving Tim Tebow the unprecedented QB/RB/TE eligibility?
Everyone thinks I'm kidding that I will take Tim Tebow No. 1 overall. I think it would be kind of awesome -- certainly would add a bit of newsworthiness to the league, don't you think?
While I know many of you would appreciate the effort, unfortunately the most likely result would that I would become a national laughingstock.
I will content myself by simply making sure I draft Tebow at some point -- I'm quite certain he will still be available in the draft's later rounds.
The first sign? He offered none of his typical emotion. Yes, it was ultimately a losing game, but I expected him to show at least some enthusiasm after scoring.
Instead, he merely looked pummeled -- and he was, sandwiched between two Bengals defensive players. Tebow didn't take any hits to the head, but he did get thumped in the midsection.
Today at practice, Tebow left the field with a trainer, with speculation that there are some lingering effects from the game-ending hit.
The word is that it's his ribs. Don't be surprised to see Tebow held out of the 2nd preseason game. (Although, as the Post put it, if it was the regular season, he would play.)
Will missing the game stunt his development? Not really. His role the first 6-10 weeks was going to be getting a half-dozen carries a game in short-yardage or red-zone situations; they need him as healthy as possible for the regular season.
Of course, the injury begs the question -- asked by many, including on a radio interview I did yesterday -- of whether Tebow can take the pummeling without feeling the effects.
Credit the Post for zeroing in on the larger point: Defensive players will be ready to deliver his "Welcome to the NFL" hits, but should Tebow modify his style for the situation?
(Here's the thing: If he had gotten up from that TD unscathed, no one would be asking that question -- as they didn't until the injury effects surfaced. Big hits happen.)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Here's why this question is a bit of a straw man: Tebow was ALWAYS going to be elevated to No. 2, if only so Josh McDaniels could use him as a change-of-pace QB during the game.
(That Brady Quinn doesn't look good enough to be the 2nd-best QB on the team anyway -- regardless of the strategic imperative of making Tebow "QB2" -- is another story.)
Monday, August 16, 2010
From last night's NFL exhibition opener, TV ratings in Denver actually went UP as the game came closer to finishing.
Please consider that for a moment:
An NFL preseason game -- where the starters usually play a quarter before giving way to the 2nd-stringers and, by the 4th quarter, the scrubs -- saw its audience increase.
They weren't tuning in for the scrubs. They were tuning in for Tebow.
Again: More people watched the END of the exhibition game than the start, because of the Tebow Effect.
For starters, here is a tough-but-fair take from Yahoo's Doug Farrar -- an excellent analyst, by the way, for the must-read Shutdown Corner blog. The money quote is his kicker:
"The early results as I see them are that he's far more valuable in a situational role right now. His NFL future has a lot of work involved."Per Farrar: The bad? The mechanics need a lot more development (which is something everyone knew already, right?). The good? Tebow could/should contribute in the red zone immediately.
I don't care about Tebow's windup. Josh McDaniels will find enough plays 4 Tebow to win 2-to-3 games Broncos lost last yr even w/o MarshallMort is closer to reality than the folks insisting Tebow won't have an impact.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
*Next: Regardless of how Tebow played -- we'll get to that in a second -- the bigger issue is that the No. 2 QB role is entirely up for grabs after Brady Quinn's miserable performance. (I think it is clear that Tebow will be the No. 2 QB for the team, if only because it gives Josh McDaniels the strategic flexibility to deploy Tebow creatively.)
*Now, on to Tebow's performance: Entered to boos from Ohio fans, promptly completed his first pass, and finished 8-of-13 for 105 yards (would have been a lot more if WR Matthew Willis didn't drop the sweet 35-yard strike on that first series), plus 2 rushes... including that running TD (naturally) as time expired in the 4th quarter.
Tebow: "I saw an opening, so I went to go get it and thankfully got in there." (OnlyGators has the video.)
*All in all, a perfectly fine start, given that it was Tebow's first-ever NFL game situation -- regardless of whether it was against 3rd-teamers. (I'd contend 3rd-teamers try extra-hard.)
*Much commotion was made over Tebow's throwing motion -- mechanics he has been working on since January. Reviews were mixed. Some said it didn't look like there was any change; I trust Smart Football's Chris Brown, who noted that Tebow's delivery looked quicker.
Let's give Josh McDaniels the last word:
"Tim showed the ability to take what the defense gave him late, in that two-minute drive. He didn't panic. He showed some toughness getting it in, and I thought he made some loose plays. That's part of him. You can't script him in practice, but sometimes he's going to make those plays and when he makes them, sometimes they're big ones."
The Denver Post has the complete game story. Here is a video clip of the Tebow TD:
Though most fans won't be able to watch and the results should be extremely qualified, I suspect that how Tebow does -- however many snaps that might be (and it could be a substantial part of the 2nd half, if very few snaps against the Bengals' 1st-team defense) -- will be a huge topic of discussion among NFL fans tomorrow morning.
Complete post-game coverage will be coming here tomorrow morning.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Most people seem to think it's a "when," not "if" proposition. The only question is at what point the Broncos' 2010 season is "over" (playoffs as an impossibility), because at that point, it would make no sense not to give Tebow as much experience as possible as the starting QB.
It's just one person's opinion, but Lee Corso said he thinks that Tebow will be starting by Week 6. That implies the Broncos will quickly be out of playoff contention -- like 1-4 after 5 weeks.
Week 1: At Jacksonville.
I think Denver wins this.
Week 2: Home vs. Seattle.
Week 3: Home vs. Colts.
Week 4: At Tennessee.
Week 5: At Baltimore.
Likely loss. (But I'll be there!)
So let's call it 2-3 as a best-case scenario, but even if the Broncos are 1-4 (or even 0-5), here's where I don't think Corso is right on the timing:
Week 6 is a home date against the Jets, as nasty of a defense as you'll find in the NFL this season. There is no way Josh McDaniels has Tebow make his first NFL start against Rex Ryan's Gang Green. (Corso likely didn't look at the schedule before making his prediction.)
Look ahead, though: Week 7 is in Denver against the woeful Raiders. Week 8 is in London against the mediocre 49ers. Both are winnable.
If the Broncos win both and appear to have regained some playoff momentum, I think McDaniels sticks with Orton -- provided Orton isn't injured along the way, which is never an impossibility.
But what if the Broncos stumble through those Week 7 and Week 8 games? After the London trip, the team has a bye week -- a perfect opportunity to make a change and install Tebow as the starting QB. As long as the season is all-but-over (at least in terms of playoff contention), why not?
That puts Tebow's debut as a starter at Week 10 -- November 14 -- a home game against the sorry Chiefs.
Week 10 -- following the bye week -- seems like a much more realistic option for Tebow's debut as the Broncos starting QB.
That said: I fully expect Tebow to play as early as Week 1 in Jacksonville, with increasing (and increasingly meaningful) snaps-per-game as he proves himself entirely effective in short-yardage, red-zone and goal-line situations.
Friday, August 13, 2010
We're about to find out. Yes, Tebow has had to tweak his release point, and no, he's not the prototypical NFL quarterback. (Tebow is actually more multidimensional than that: a superior athlete.) Maybe Tebow will pan out with the Denver Broncos and open-minded head coach Josh McDaniels. Maybe he won't. But if Tebow never thrives as a pro -- well, the way I see it, if one of the most exciting players in the history of college football can't find a home in the NFL, that's more an indictment of the League than it is of the player.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
"McDaniels had the guts to pick Tebow, but not the nerve to start him immediately."
Here is the crux of Paige's argument of why Tebow should start right now:
*Tebow is a winner.
*He is mobile.
*He can throw short as well as Kyle Orton.
*His exhibition PT will accelerate his development.
And then there's this, based on the idea that the Broncos aren't going to make the playoffs this season -- no matter who is playing QB, including Orton:
"As the starter, Tebow would give the franchise hope, national relevance and excitement unlike anything witnessed in Broncos Country since briefly in 2005 and consistently from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s."
I'm a big believer that if you're not going to win championships -- or at least make the playoffs -- you better find a way to be relevant while you rebuild. Tebow would offer that -- along with the promise that pain now will translate into gains later.
It might be hard for Broncos fans to accept this season as a stepping stone (that their team is closer to Bradford's Rams or Freeman's Bucs than Sanchez's Jets or Ryan's Falcons), but they really need to take the long view here: Give Tebow reps as the starter now now, while the team is in rebuilding mode; reap benefits faster -- in Years 2, 3 and beyond.
Tebow might not -- will not -- start the season as the starting QB. But you can bet that as soon as it appears the team will not be making the playoffs, he will be starting. He should be starting.
That's in the best interests of the team's and the player's development. And, to Paige's point, you will never see a losing team get so much attention or be so relevant as you will with the Broncos using Tebow as starting QB.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
"I just took it," Tebow said. "Tried to be a good sport with it."
(By the way, how much of an instant national sensation was this haircut? I got no less than 20 emails from readers alerting me to it -- by far a record on any Tebow-related topic.)
Oh, and apparently Tebow had a terrific practice yesterday, on and off the field.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Here is Leitch's kicker:
Read the whole thing here.
“Football is just a platform for me,” he says, alluding to his very public faith. “The games are a bonus. But I also recognize that to keep that platform, I have to perform. I think Denver fans will see how willing I am to work hard to make sure I keep it.” He pauses. “I think I can make that work.”
And there it is, plainly stated, appropriately humble and yet supremely confident. What, or where, does this come from? Does it come from the fact that he has always been told he was a golden boy—the Golden Boy—and he can’t understand a universe in which he isn’t the best? Or does it come from within, from his God, from an inner confidence that only he understands?
An American icon, in the prime of his life, conqueror of all that he has ever surveyed, is now the Christian being thrown into the lion’s den. He has been handed the future of the Broncos. It’s all on his shoulders. It’s a big moment in Denver. Does Tim Tebow look nervous to you? He doesn’t look nervous to me.