Monday, November 29, 2010

Broncos Tebow: It's Time for Tim

The Broncos season is -- if the playoffs are your goal -- effectively over.

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

A Very Tebow Thanksgiving

Let's take the opportunity to give some thanks from notable moments in 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.

Broncos Tebow: Nothing to Lose

I'm not arguing that Tim Tebow should start. I'm arguing that Josh McDaniels has nothing to lose by deploying Tebow more innovatively (or, alternatively, more at all).

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

Broncos Tebow: Another Lost Week

I feel about last night's Monday Night Football blowout a bit like I felt about the Raiders blowout -- not quite as hostile, but still plenty disappointed: Josh McDaniels didn't even TRY to deploy Tim Tebow last night.

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

Broncos Tebow: Monday Night Madness

Tim Tebow makes his "Monday Night Football" debut tonight, taking his league-leading TD percentage (30%: 4 TDs in 13 touches) and leading the Broncos against the division-rival Chargers.

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

Tim Tebow Wins NFL Rookie of Week 10

As entirely expected, Tim Tebow won the NFL Rookie of the Week award for Week 10. The award is based on a fan vote, and there was no way that Tebow wasn't winning that. Tebow accounted for two TDs last week, including passing for his first-ever NFL TD -- on his first-ever NFL pass.

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

Tim Tebow: NFL Rookie of the Week?

Was Tim Tebow the best NFL rookie last week? You can make a pretty good case -- 2 TDs, 1 passing and 1 rushing.

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

Broncos Tebow: 1st Pass, 1st TD Pass

Chalk up another milestone in Tim Tebow's NFL career: He threw his first pass -- and his first TD pass. They happened to come on the same pass.

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

Brand Tebow: Still the NFL Jersey King

Before Tim Tebow was drafted into the NFL, I predicted he would lead the league in jersey sales as a rookie -- even if he didn't play a down. People I floated this theory to laughed at me.

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 on Cam Newton

"I'll have to look at everything and judge it honestly, but speaking as just a player, he has had a great year and it has been very impressive to watch."

- 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

Tebow Memoir: "Through My Eyes"

Tim Tebow will publish a memoir -- "Through My Eyes" -- in April 2011.

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

Broncos Tebow: Bye Week Fun

I think that Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson might have said this last Saturday, but my favorite part of Florida's new three-headed QB system -- John Brantley to throw, Trey Burton to run and Jordan Reed to be "Cam Newton"-ish -- is that they basically Voltron together to form... Tim Tebow.

I doubt Josh McDaniels will be watching Florida-Vanderbilt on (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

Broncos Tebow: Start Him? Not Yet

"You want to throw Tebow into that mess? Tremendous idea ... as long as you also happen to like the idea of finishing 2-14."

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

Broncos Tebow: London Calling... a TD

Looks like Broncos coach Josh McDaniels no longer finds the idea of using Tim Tebow as something closer to a running back than a quarterback -- certainly as a quarterback whose primary threat is to run -- no longer "ridiculous" (or whatever McD called it a few weeks ago).

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.