Let me start by saying I was a huge Tim Tebow fan when he was at the University of Florida. The guy was a winner. He was (and is) tough as nails. He gave you no reason to dislike him.
When he transitioned to the NFL, I thought his chances of developing into a respectable NFL signal caller were slim. The offense he was coming from, his accuracy – I know you guys have heard it a thousand times by now. Ultimately, I thought he was an elite college player. But I (like millions of others) felt his time in the spotlight was coming to an end.
While he’s certainly struggled at times during his two years in the league, I’m convinced he can have success long term. Sunday’s game – albeit just 1 game – impressed me beyond belief. If he can conquer that defense in the pressure packed playoffs – one still rock solid despite the absence of guys like Ryan Clark and Casey Hampton -- he can do it against anyone.
The thing that’s most intriguing to me is how Tebow doesn’t have to be particularly accurate to win games. He completed an ugly 46.4% of his passes in the regular season, and completed just 10 of 21 attempts Sunday. But for the most part, the guy doesn’t turn the ball over. And that’s huge. He also has a knack for the big play, which leads me to my next point.
Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy should be aggressive, and Tebow should be completing bombs down the field. I won’t pretend that I’ve watched every game Tebow’s started, but I have watched several (including Sunday, and unfortunately, one of Tebow’s comeback victories… over my Dolphins).
Over and over again, I see how easily defenses bite on his play-fakes. Really, they have every right to. After all, Tebow’s best strength remains his legs. Throw in Willis McGahee’s resurgent season and a cohesive run blocking line, and you have even more reason as a defense to focus on the run.
Oh, and there’s that part about defenses not respecting his left arm… What results are some pretty sweet matchups for Tebow. Man coverage across the board, sometimes with a single high safety. Usually no complex reads to be made, no need for Peyton Manning-like audible at the line of scrimmage. Just take the snap, drop back, and find the open man.
Of course, he’s got to make the throw. But it’s hard to understate just how much the threat of Denver’s ground game opens up a world of possibility for the aerial attack. If Demaryius Thomas, Eddie Royal and company can step up going forward, I don’t think there’s any reason he can’t go for another 300+ yards with a couple scores against an underwhelming New England defense.
So congrats Broncos fans on your team pulling off one upset. I might have to order my own #15 jersey if they pull off another one against a Patriot team all of Dolphin nation despises…
Kevin English is a blog contributor for Gold Star Games, a one-stop-shop for tailgating games and much more.