Monday, November 28, 2011

Tebow Leads Broncos Past Chargers

Another week, another win.

That's what we're looking at here. John Fox can abandon Tebow on 4th-and-short in OT. John Elway can flash the fakest big-tooth smile in the world.

Tim Tebow just keeps winning.

Not sure how many folks thought the Broncos would go into San Diego and win, but when it became clear the defense would keep it close, it was also clear Tebow Time would arrive again.

It's a pretty good blueprint: Tebow + McGahee + clutch catches by Eric Decker + a monstrous defense = Wins, and plenty of them.

What we're left with now is the idea that it's not unreasonable to expect the Broncos to win 4 of their final 5 games (all except a Sunday Night game vs. the Pats), which should be enough to win the AFC West. Not a bad turnaround from the team's 1-5 start before Tebow became the starter.

My favorite anecdote from yesterday's game comes from Mark Kiszla, who broke the story that Tebow addressed the team on Saturday night (and credit to John Fox for asking him to) and Tebow hit them with some Old Testament -- my favorite kind of Tebow.

Tebow cited Proverbs 27:17 -- roughly, iron sharpens iron and men sharpen other men. The team believes in Tebow. Tebow, of course, believes in himself.

Really: At this point, does it even matter what Fox and Elway think?

Another week, another win. And another week, another week of Tebow hysteria.

-- Dan

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Have a Very Tebow Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Giving thanks -- for whatever you might be thankful for -- and being appreciative of what you have feels like one of the most Tebow ways to celebrate the day. Thanks for your continued support of this site.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tim Tebow on First Take

Tim Tebow went on First Take and really dug into his outward expressions of faith, which came into question yesterday with some recent comments from Jake Plummer, who apparently doesn't particularly appreciate them:
“If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife, I love her, the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and have the opportunity? And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ. It is the most important thing in my life, so every opportunity I have to tell him I love him, or I’m given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I’m going to take that opportunity.”
The whole summary (via ProFootballTalk) is worth reading. And, as usual, this is becoming a national hysteria of the day.

Tebow In This Week's Sports Illustrated

From Peter King, analyzing the Broncos' potential to draft a QB next spring: "Smart teams maximize their players' skills. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy stopped forcing a square peg into a round hole when he made Denver option-centric. There's no reason he can't stay with the option in 2012, whether Tebow's the starter or merely the league's most compelling relief pitcher."

A brief response: This certainly makes sense. But I'm not sure Elway or Fox can bring in a rookie QB and expect them to co-exist with Tebow. For starters, Tebow would be the starting QB until the rookie got up to speed -- there's no way they would start a rookie QB from Week 1 ahead of Tebow, who has proven himself entirely capable of winning games. Second, I'm not sure it's fair to Tebow to keep him as some sort of option option; he would absolutely do whatever the team wanted him to, but just as much, he certainly deserves a shot at starting somewhere, even if his next team ultimately decided against using him as a full-time starter.

In this week's SI, there is also a feature about Tebow where reporter Alan Shipnuck basically collects a variety of pronouncements about Tebow -- from Twitter, from TV analysts, from newspaper reporters -- and streams them together to show the range of heated opinion about him. I'm all for curation, but I'm still waiting for SI's definitive Tebow piece -- you would think that off of last Thursday night, they could have prepared one.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tebow Thursday Special

Let's be real here: Every NFL fan that has NFL Network on their cable system will be tuning in for the Broncos-Jets game tonight. Tim Tebow? Rex Ryan? Come on: The entertainment is assured.

I'm more bullish on Tebow and the Broncos than most: I think they are going to shock the Jets (and the world) and eke out a win.

Tebow just tweeted out his would-be eye-black of the day: Colossians 3:15. A quick translation (and, as usual, there are lots of versions, so you want to take this more generally):

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."

I stopped trying to read into TT's selected Bible passages as metaphors for football strategy back in 2009, but suffice to say, I don't think Rex Ryan has his defensive players thinking "peace."

More after the game.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More Tim Tebow, Less John Fox

Let's not be too quick to praise John Fox for his "revolutionary" shift in strategy with Tim Tebow.

Frankly, Fox should have been contemplating (if not installing) this months ago -- you get the feeling that one of his coaches brought it to him a few weeks ago, and he was like "Oh! Well, uh, why not?"

Let's give Fox credit for actually trying it -- for a while, I figured his commitment to orthodox NFL thinking was going to last all season. Now, Fox seems to be enjoying the credit and attention.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fox Warming Up to Tim Tebow?

"Hey, Tim thinks he deserves to have these plays in this offense. And you know what? After watching our games the last two weeks, it's hard to argue with him."
-- John Fox, to NFL.com's Jeff Darlington, in an interesting behind-the-scenes visit with the coach as he adapts to his new Tebow-centric offense.

Also, don't miss this NYT blog post from Chase Stuart making the clever (and entirely viable) argument that the new Broncos offense is totally underrated, and that all those Tebow runs should be considered completions... to himself. When you do that, his numbers look better than just OK. They look pretty darn good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tim Tebow: Here We Go

All along, all folks wanted was for John Fox and the Broncos to give Tim Tebow a chance.

But not just any chance -- we saw that in the Lions game. Ideally, we wanted them to give him a chance while running an offense specifically suited for his unique skills and talents. We got a glimpse of it vs. Oakland in Week 9.

Yesterday in Kansas City, that is exactly what we got -- Eight passes with two completions total? Great. (Particularly when one is a game-sealing TD bomb.) Running and running and more running? Yes, please.

The zone read. The option. The veer. Whatever it is getting called, it suits Tebow just fine -- and it is working. Let's ride this as long as it goes.

(Tantalizingly, the Broncos are in primetime on Thursday night against the Jets, who will have only three days to prepare for what is suddenly the most innovative offense in the NFL.)

For a terrific read, try Chris Brown's analysis this morning. Brown is the best at dissecting strategy, and he has a lot of complimentary things to say about the Tebow offense.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tim Tebow: Football vs. Faith in NY Times

Curious what everyone thinks of this story in today's New York Times about Tim Tebow at the intersection of faith and football.

I've been pretty clear on this over the years: Because of Tebow's fundamental popularity and visibility, I think that the demonstrative displays (from the eye-black in college to "Tebowing" two weeks ago) are overblown -- specifically as they relate to any argument that Tebow is somehow thrusting his beliefs on the rest of us.

If anything, I think that Tebow's genius-level communication skills and empathy has allowed him to be far more thoughtful and nuanced about when, where and how he expresses his faith -- specifically, I think he doesn't force it on audiences he knows are not interested.

Let's not confuse public displays of faith -- or even a fundamental interest in evangelizing -- with Tebow somehow imposing on anyone who might not be interested in it.

(This is actually a big part of the long-awaited "Tebook" I have been working on. But read the piece in the Times and think about it for yourself. Always enjoy your comments.)

-- Dan

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tim Tebow Runs Broncos To Win

That's more like it: If your quarterback is uniquely skilled, you design an offense to take advantage of those skills.

Is the Broncos' new zone-read run-first/run-second/run-only offense sustainable? Not to be cavalier, but that isn't the point.

Can Tebow take week-in, week-out punishment as a runner? Maybe. Can the limited Broncos coaching staff -- spraining their wrists for only now finally figuring out what to do -- make adjustments to counter the inevitable adjustments of a defensive coordinator who has a week to watch tape and game plan for the new offense? Maybe.

The fact is that the new offense was deployed yesterday. It did take the Raiders by surprise. It was effective. It did lead the team to a win (along with some nifty work by Eddie Royal). It was exactly in Tebow's sweet-spot as a QB.

It takes a leap of faith to build a philosophy around that -- a leap that I'm still not sure the Broncos leadership is willing to make for the long-term. That they are willing to do it for now is probably good enough.

It wasn't just a satisfying win -- all wins are fundamentally satisfying. It was satisfying the WAY they won.

-- Dan

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gameday: Tim Tebow vs. History

In today's Denver Post, Woody Paige offers a bit of history, showcasing just how terrible so many ultimately great QBs played through their first five career starts. The lesson: It's way WAY too early to judge Tim Tebow -- and way too early to pull the plug on him as a starter.

(Of course, John Fox is so bumbling at this point that it is impossible to rely on him to make a sound or considered decision. He isn't a Tebow fan and he will likely use any hint of underperformance to say "See? I gave him a chance!" and yank him. At that point, fans of Tebow should be openly rooting for the team to cut him so he can land in a better situation, even if it isn't as a starting QB -- yet -- but merely with a coach who has some smart, authoritative ideas about how to deploy him.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Media Coverage of Tebow This Week

We can point to the various columns about Tebow this week -- oh, and was there ever a backlash -- and I probably should have made mention of the "X > Tebow" mid-week meme on ESPN.com.

But when we talk about even-handed Tebow commentary, I think this piece from Deadspin's Tommy Craggs is worth a read.

It's not that Craggs doesn't have a position about Tebow -- he very clearly does, and it's one that many of you won't agree with. Set aside that disagreement (along with problems about the sensationalized headline of the essay) for a second.

Because you're not going to find a more astute and nuanced take on the punditry frenzy around Tebow, specifically the punditry that goes away from the football and talks about religion, where the punditry is clearly out of its depth.

(As for Sunday, I'm not looking for a dramatic turnaround from last week, and neither should anyone. What I'm looking for is the incremental progress you see when you're talking about your 5th-ever NFL start vs. your 6th-ever. I certainly expect a media frenzy, however it goes.)

-- Dan
"The goofy thing is, it's almost like if he doesn't have success it will be anybody's fault but his. It's almost that kind of polarizing thing. They'll say it could be his supporting cast, or the type of plays. At the end of the day, we are what we are."

-- Broncos coach John Fox (via Sam Farmer, LA Times)

In one interpretation, you could say that Fox is giving Tebow a break -- that Tebow will work so hard that you honestly won't be able to fault him. But that's not what is going on here. Fox is mocking the die-hard support Tebow gets. If anything, what we've seen this week is that there are plenty of people who will fault Tebow if he doesn't have success...

...Starting with Tebow himself. Fox isn't sophisticated enough to deploy this kind of straw-man argument -- the coach just sounds petty and small and more concerned with his own CYA than with developing his QB. Talk about goofy.