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.
Friday, August 6, 2010
The shoe sold out in just a few minutes.
I had been sitting with my laptop since around 10 p.m., compulsively hitting "refresh" every few minutes, in anticipation of the "August 6" release at midnight or so.
Midnight came and went. Then 1 a.m. came and went. It was unclear when they would be released on the site. At 1:30, I was lying on the couch.
At 1:45 or so, I dozed off.
At 1:50, the shoes released. (1:50, get it?)
By 2, they were gone.
I woke up startled at 2:20 to a bunch of IMs about the release -- I didn't check their time-stamps; I thought they were live. I rushed to the site and refreshed the page -- no shoe.
Then I checked when the IMs were sent... D'oh! After all that, perfectly poised to buy the shoes within 10 seconds they were released...
...I had slept through it -- and missed out.
Suffice to say, I was most definitely not asleep the next few hours, tossing and turning over my fumble.
I suppose the shoes will make their way to eBay -- they could be bought for $90 but I suspect they will be dangled for much more -- but I was going to get them last night.
There is also a cool "Tebow Knows" T-shirt (a play on the old "Bo Knows" tagline for the original Nike Trainers) that was supposed to release last night but didn't. Look for that at some point.
But as for the shoes?
Note: Writing this post was only midly cathartic.
(Update: My consolation prize -- only small consolation, I can assure you -- was ordering a "Tebow Knows" T-shirt. Here's the link.)
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
(1) It really took them three months to get to it?
(2) And this was the un-nuanced way they did it?
I know that Denver media is just catching up to the Tebow phenomenon, but they could have at least caught up from Florida (and national) media: It's not a big deal.
When I say that, I don't mean that religion isn't a big deal to Tebow, or to many of his fans. And there are probably lots of non-Bronco and non-Florida fans who appreciate that side of him.
But what I mean is that almost all Tebow fans, religious or not, are ready to set that aside as a point of divisiveness and simply exist of fans of the football player, in all of his complexities.
For some background, go back to that meme from mid-October when some columnists around the country took Tebow to task for his religious values.
This was my response, ironically filed from Sin City.
For those of you who weren't reading last August, be sure to check out Ted Kluck's thoughtful column on ChristianityToday.com. (Read my post initially, then click through to Kluck's.)
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
In short, league rules make it very complicated to deploy the 3rd-string QB in any scenario but an emergency -- those rules seem pretty anti-innovation to me, but it is what it is.
The solution, however, is fairly simple: Tebow should be the 2nd-string QB, so that Josh McDaniels can deploy him however -- and whenever -- he wants.
Should Kyle Orton (presumably the starter) get injured, then the Broncos have a bigger problem than QB eligibility, and then-3rd-string Brady Quinn might get elevated.
(Then again, there is a strong argument to be made that in that scenario, Tebow should be thrown into the starter's role and let's let it ride.)
The Post's analysis goes a little astray when it mentions that Brady Quinn might not appreciate being No. 3, behind Tebow, even if he is deemed the "better" QB. That is meaningless.
In the case of the Broncos, strategy has to rule: The starting QB is No. 1; the "situational" QB is No. 2. Tough luck, Brady.
I see it as a non-issue. It would be a waste -- not to mention disappointing -- if McDaniels didn't take advantage of Tebow's unique skills by deploying him innovatively from the QB2 spot.
Whatever you feel about the Wildcat -- let's label it as a running back taking direct snaps -- the real evolution/revolution is when teams have a QB who can run the single-wing.
When McDaniels and Tebow succeed this season, you'll see more teams follow suit with a QB2 who is a multi-purpose threat. And then the QB3 rule will get changed.
That would be a good thing. You don't have to root for Tebow to root for offensive innovation in the NFL.
Monday, August 2, 2010
The place was a zoo. My wife and I got there with our 2-year-old son and 9-month-old daughter at 8:45 AM when it was scheduled to start.Thanks again, Ryan. Always love the first-hand reports. (Of course, given last night's situation, another reminder of "D'oh!")
We had to park almost a mile away and hike it to the fields. Then we waited in line for 45 minutes before we could even get in there as they had already reached capacity and we had to wait until people left before we could get in the gates.
Most of the people around us in line seemed to be attributing the huge turnout to Tebow. A local news crew was interviewing people in line right by us and all of the questions they were asking had to with Tebow.
I'd say 1 in 4 fans that were wearing sports gear were either wearing Gator gear (like my son and I) or were sporting a Broncos Tebow shirt or jersey. The crowd was VERY pro-Tebow, screaming and chanting his name every time he took a snap, completed a pass, or ran it hard up the middle. The rest of the players got golf claps.
Tebow looked....ok. About what one could expect from a rookie quarterback on Day 1 of training camp. On the way home we listened to the local sports talk radio and there was one sports jock who was nit-picking everything Tebow did. Of course this guy has been bearish on Tebow from the day he was drafted.
It was quite an experience. Can't wait to see the Broncos (and hopefully some Tebow) in person at their home opener against Seattle.
(Special treat coming at 12:30 -- a first-hand account of the training-camp scene from a Teblog reader. Check back!)
Sunday, August 1, 2010
The sound you just heard was me banging my head against the wall, after I booked an 11:50 a.m. flight out of Jacksonville, when the Tebow-Jaguars game starts at 1 pm.
My attention was on getting a flight that would work with flying with two kids under the age of 4; the next available flight wasn't until the evening; we wouldn't get home until 10 or 11. Logistically, I was thinking about my family, not football. (That'll teach me!)
And so in one of the most insanely followed games of the season -- by fans in Florida, Colorado and around the NFL -- and in the signature Tebow/Teblog game of the year, I will be airborne. That I will be on JetBlue and able to track the game in progress is little consolation. (As I have been predicting for months, I think he will be given plenty of chances to make an impact, including a TD or two. It's just bound to happen that way.)
There will likely be more Tebow fans in the stadium than Jaguars fans. (Hopefully, we can go to the Jaguars tailgate area in the early-morning and spot for ourselves just how Tebow-crazy everything is.)
Just without me in attendance, apparently. It's like an O. Henry short story that the editor of TimTeblog will be in Jacksonville for the day of the Broncos-Jaguars game -- Tim Tebow's NFL debut and a veritable homecoming game, in his hometown and among his loyal college fans -- and won't be able to attend. The cruel irony!
That earns a big, fat "D'oh!"
(I will now revise my prediction that he will score at LEAST two TDs -- the 1st he was always going to, and now a 2nd because it would maximize the irony of me being so close to attending, yet about 36,000 feet up and a couple hundred miles away.)