|Tebow shouldn't be an NFL MVP candidate but he's certainly in the running for team MVP, right? (US PRESSWIRE/AP)|
By Ryan Wilson
If Philip Rivers has been one of the league's most disappointing quarterbacks on one of the league's most disappointing teams, Tim Tebow has been just the opposite. What he's done has taken everybody by surprise, including head coach John Fox and Broncos executive VP John Elway.
Yes, Tebow has benefitted from an improved Denver defense, and more importantly, a revamped offensive game plan that predates the forward pass but spotlights Tebow's strengths: running the option (with an emphasis on "running").
Tebow's had so much success in such a short period of time that in two months the conversation has gone from "Might as well let him play, the Broncos are 1-4" to "Holy crap, Denver's 6-1 with Tebow under center!" to "Should Tebow get MVP consideration?"
The MVP talk might sound like the ramblings of a mad man, but it's gained traction in the media. We even brought it up on Monday's Pick-6 Podcast and discussed it again during Wednesday's expert live chat.
And while most folks (us included) don't think Tebow is MVP material, he's certainly worth of team MVP consideration, right? Along with our CBSSports.com colleague Will Brinson, we came up with a short list of Broncos players in the running for the award (in random order):
* Tim Tebow. The Broncos are 6-1 with him. His numbers are forgettable, although he does play better in the fourth quarter than he does in the first three, and his passing has improved marginally in recent weeks. Still, he ranks as one of the league's worst quarterbacks in terms of total value and value per play (as measured by Football Outsiders). But...
His intangibles make up for his physical shortcomings. Namely: the ability to inspire his teammates. Yes, this sounds like some hacky, new-age nonsense, and if we were talking about anyone other than Tebow that's exactly what it would be. But like a lot of things, Tebow's the exception.
* Willis McGahee. The Bills' 2003 first-round pick saw his career stall with the Ravens from 2007-10. In 11 games with the Broncos this season, McGahee is averaging 4.9 yards per attempt and is on pace for 1,200 yards (it would be the first time he eclipsed 1,000 yards in three years). An effective running game sets up everything else the Broncos want to do offensively and McGahee is a big part of that.
* Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller. Going by the raw numbers, the Broncos' defense is mediocre. They're also opportunistic (sorta like Tebow), which has been a big part of their success.
* Eric Decker. On paper, Demaryius Thomas should more valuable, but Decker is Tebow's favorite target as evidenced by his eight touchdown grabs. That's hard to overlook. Also worth noting: his 39 receptions are 21 more than the nearest receiver.
We could even add John Fox's name to the list. There aren't many coaches who would run a high school offense to fit their personnel. Of course, Fox didn't have much choice; the Broncos were dreadful the first five weeks of the season with Kyle Orton. And the Lions embarrassed Tebow when he tried to run a conventional offense. In evoluationary terms, Fox would have three choices: adapt, migrate or die. He adapted. And now the Broncos appear headed for the playoffs. Which explains why we're even entertaining thoughts of Tim Tebow, NFL MVP.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.