Carlos Sandoval blogs about football and basketball for BallHyped Blogs. He asks you to join him in his quest to chew bubble gum and kick ass by signing up to contribute to BallHyped Blogs. Also, follow him on Twitter.
The title of this blog post is a little harsh and should be reconsidered despite the fact that I know it leaves a bad first impression. But if we’re going to be 100% honest (and that’s what our relationship entails, dear reader; how can I sleep next to a liar my entire life?), Tim Tebow is, indeed, an awful quarterback.
He is inaccurate and he can’t read moderately not-horrible defensive schemes. He’s jumpy in the pocket and his throwing motion stinks.
But that doesn’t mean the dude’s not a great leader.
Because despite his deficiencies at the quarterback position, he’s doing a hell of a lot more for the Denver Broncos than just managing the game while letting his wide-outs, offensive line and defense cover up his weaknesses. (None of those are positives for the Denver Broncos, anyway.) That was evident in the Broncos’ nearly-improbably 17-13 win over the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football.
Instead, Tebow’s firing up his team. He’s winning purely because he has all the intangibles, which nearly never pans out in the NFL if the player in question lacks any skill-set for his position. Tebow’s determination, his faith (not in the religious sense) and his trust in teammates is winning games. We know that sounds something straight out of an awful sports flick, but there’s really no other way to describe Tim Tebow’s 4-1 record as starter for the Denver Broncos.
Because, no, he isn’t throwing the ball very well, and no, he isn’t putting his team in position to win the way a good quarterback would. He’s using his split-second decision-making (which is top notch, as far as we can tell) and his incredible motor (which is probably his only real tangible skill, aside from his strength).
Tebow knows that the entire coaching staff has re-worked their gameplan to make him more comfortable. And Tebow’s delivering, because the dude’s working hard and stepping up when it’s needed most, even if it’s not in the right manner that he should be stepping up as an NFL quarterback.
But how long can this gameplan last? How long will it be until defensive coordinators — smart cats that they are — figure out how to further limit a Broncos’ offense that rarely scores, but scores when it’s needed most? And how long will it take for defensive coaches to stop Tebow from having such a huge impact on the game in such a minimalist way?
That’s a tough question, and perhaps the only question that’s worth answering when talking about the Denver Broncos.
History tells us that this somehow-successful offensive gameplan — structure, sameness and skilled players be damned — will fail by season’s end, if not sooner. Ask the Miami Dolphins, who adopted the Wildcat as part of their offense in 2008 and then saw the entire thing fall apart in the playoffs against the Baltimore Ravens. The Wildcat was a one-season fad.
This Broncos’ offense is similar in the sense that it relies on the fact that defenses will be kept on their toes. Teams will have a harder time with the Broncos’ offense mainly because Tebow has a better arm than, say, Ronnie Brown. Sure, Tebow’s tosses won’t kill you often, but if the secondary plays loose enough on their receivers to cover a big Tebow scramble, then that leaves guys like Eric Decker open enough for Tebow to throw in his general area. What teams need to do is set up more QB spies from their linebackers to limit Tebow’s mobility, and then stay tight on the receivers. But what defenses should and shouldn’t do is beyond the scope of this blog post.
Because, X’s and O’s aside, you can’t count Tebow out anymore. The stupidest argument for Tebow is that he “just wins.” The best argument for Tebow? The dude. Freaking. Wins.
Tim Tebow gives the Broncos the best chance to win right now. Why? Because of his maturity level, which allows him to see past adversity and incredible amounts of criticism and perform at something resembling a high level.
It’s too hard to answer if the Broncos can keep this up for an entire season, or even for the duration of Tebow’s career. (Who knows? Maybe this modified offense changes the landscape of NFL offenses in general?) Anyone who claims to think Tebow won’t be a perennial starter or who believes Tebow will start for the rest of his career is an absolute prat hell-bent on taking a side on one of the most polarizing issues in the NFL today.
For now, though? Let’s enjoy the ride, which sees Tim Tebow help the Broncos win games in the weirdest of ways.