Tag:Tim Tebow
Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Tracking Tebow, Week 14: Transformation continues

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

By Ryan Wilson

Week 14 Tim Tebow looks nothing like the quarterback we saw in Miami on October 23. Let's be honest: when he made his first start against the Dolphins in Week 7, he was a curiosity, a sideshow that brought out the gawkers and the critics.

We joked about this after the Jets win. Maybe we should give the new Denver helmet serious consideration...
In the seven games since, Tebow and the Broncos are 6-1, and have gone from early season laughingstock to AFC West leaders destined for the playoffs. It isn't all because of Tebow (everyone -- o-line, defense, special teams, wideouts, coaches -- has picked up their game in the last two months) but he's done his part, too.

And after Denver's most recent come-from-behind win, this time against the Bears, it's clear that Tebow is evolving into a legitimate NFL passer as well. No, seriously. A proper quarterback, who reads defenses, manipulates coverages, and gets the ball out accurately and on time (see the play-by-play below for proof).

We were blown away by Tebow's performance against Chicago, and his numbers belie just how well he played. For starters, he threw the ball 40 times. The last time he approached that many attempts was in Week 8 against the Lions, a complete and absolute throttling in which Tebow looked confused and outclassed.

In the subsequent five games -- all wins -- the Broncos stressed the read-option running game and used the forward pass only in cases of emergency. Tebow's attempt totals over that span: 21, 8, 20, 18, and 15. His completion percentages: 48, 25, 45, 50, 67.

On Sunday, he set season highs for attempts and completions. The reason: the Bears weren't going to let Tebow beat them with his legs. But also because the Broncos coaching staff clearly is comfortable with Tebow's progress as a passer. In the previous weeks, he struggled from the pocket, both with going through his progressions and getting the ball out on time. Against Chicago, he was decisive and poised, and most importantly: accurate.

(Also noteworthy: even when Tebow misses intended targets badly, he seldom throws interceptions. That can't be overstated in a league where turnovers equals losing.)

Yes, he was just 3 of 16 for 45 yards (with an interception) in the first three quarters against Chicago, which is pretty much the script for Broncos' games the last seven weeks. But this time was different. Tebow was throwing with touch and anticipation, except that his would-be receivers couldn't hold onto to anything. Maybe it was karmic payback for all those medicine balls Tebow had thrown in prior games, or perhaps it was God's way of ratcheting up the drama for a fourth-quarter run that has now become a cliche.


Whatever the explanation, with the Broncos trailing by 10 points and with sufficient time having expired in the final quarter, Tebow got down to doing what Tebow does. He was 18 of 24 for 191 yards in the final period, including a nifty touchdown pass that shows just how far he's come as an NFL passer.

On this TD pass with just over two minutes to go in the 4th quarter and the Broncos trailing 10-0, Tebow drops back, looks left, then comes back right. He steps up in the pocket, looks as if he's going to run (and draws in the two defenders in pass coverage in the process) and then calmly throws to a wide-open Thomas in the back of the end zone. That's a big-boy play. (Watch the Xs and Os of the play here.)


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



"He’s a good running back. He does a good job for them. They have a good offense with him back there. They do some different plays. I thought we did a good job overall." - Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, talking about Tebow who, by the way, was 21 of 40 for 236 yards and only rushed 12 times for 49 yards.

"He played hard. I respect a guy that plays hard, him and all the other 10 guys on that field for the Broncos." - Bears linebacker Lance Briggs

"It wasn't anything special that he did." - Bears defensive end Julius Peppers

"Everyone believes that something good's going to happen. And, obviously, Tim's been the guy that's led that thinking. He's just such a strong believer. He's really got everyone else believing if you stay strong, stay positive, something good's going to happen. When guys are thinking that way — and it's been led by Timmy with that positive attitude — all boats have been rising with that." - Broncos executive VP John Elway, former Tebow doubter.


                                                   Audio-Visual




Tim Tebow led another comeback victory, and Matt Prater's 51-yard field goal with 8:34 left in overtime gave the Denver Broncos a 13-10 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.


Tim Tebow led another comeback victory, and Matt Prater's 51-yard field goal with 8:34 left in overtime gave the Denver Broncos a 13-10 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

And if you want to experience two totally different post-game press conferences, here's John Fox and Lovie Smith A.T. (After Tebow, natch).


                                                   Eye on Tebow



(Click on photos to enlarge)


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Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:14 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Week 14 review + MNF preview

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Week 14's just about taken care of and several things are abundantly clear. Well, OK, not that much is clear, but we know that Tim Tebow is a winner.

On Monday's podcast, we break down Tebow's success against the Bears, who's to blame for the Cowboys latest fiasco, whether T.J. Yates can help the Texans win in the playoffs, if Greg Jennings injury is an indication that the Packers will sit or start their players the rest of the way, if Detroit's righted the ship with a narrow win against the Vikings, whether Raheem Morris is on the hot seat, plus much, much more.

Also, we preview the Seahawks-Rams Monday night scorcher of a matchup.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



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Posted on: December 12, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 10:11 am
 

Urlacher on Tebow: 'He's a good running back'

By Will Brinson



Top of the Tebow to you, folks. Monday is the day where the bandwagon following Tim Tebow and the Broncos probably becomes too crowded (and the coverage of Tebow finally reaches a saturation point). Just do not expect Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher to be on board.

Week 14 Recap

Urlacher, speaking to the press after Denver's miraculous 13-10 victory over Chicago Sunday, said that Tebow as "a good running back."

"He’s a good running back," Urlacher said Sunday. He does a good job for them. They have a good offense with him back there. They do some different plays. I thought we did a good job overall."

The Bears did a great job, really, when it came to defending Tebow much of the game. The problem was they became too reactionary late in the game, which allowed Tebow to succeed through the air, Tebow's receivers stopped dropping every pass, and Caleb Hanie/Marion Barber couldn't put any points on the board.

Back to Urlacher's slight of Tebow, though -- the Broncos quarterback appreciates it. Of course.

"Coming from a really good player, that means a lot," Tebow said when asked about Urlacher's comments.

That cracks me up for some reason. But other players on the Bears defense don't find it quite so funny.

"We missed some opportunities in the game," defensive end Julius Peppers said. "We have to finish better; that’s pretty much it. It wasn’t anything special that [Tebow] did."

Lance Briggs, the linebacker who last week pointed out how mad he'd be if the Bears lost, was a bit more subdued.

"Played hard," Briggs would only say when asked about Tebow's performance.

Briggs is probably the only one who's right about this. Tebow did play hard, but he also did do something special and he did not act like a good running back on Sunday. In fact, he was pretty ineffective on the ground and didn't really get rolling until he turned into an all-world passer -- against the Bears defense -- in the fourth quarter and overtime.

It's OK to be upset about losing but at least give the guy his due.


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Posted on: December 12, 2011 2:27 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 2:35 am
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 14

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 14 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.


1. They're Not Saying 'Boooooo' ...

True story: Just over two years ago, T.J. Yates came on the jumbotron at the Dean Dome during a North Carolina game as the lead-in to a UNC football video, said "I'm T.J. Yates and I'm a Tar Heel," and Yates, who was in the crowd, was booed mercilessly by Tar Heel fans in attendance.

One surprisingly strong senior season and a slew of injuries to Houston quarterbacks later, Yates is the starting quarterback for the first Texans team to ever make the playoffs. He's no figurehead, either, as his play in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 20-19 victory in Cincinnati showed.

We think that logic and common football sense says a rookie quarterback can't take a team deep into the playoffs, but does it? This Texans team's success is predicated on running the ball and playing defense.

And that's not too far off what Mark Sanchez and Ben Roethlisberger leaned on as rookies. Both those guys went to the AFC Championship Game, as a rookie quarterback mind you.

Yates is different than those Sanchez or Roethlisberger because he's matured under tough circumstances, his expectations are lower, he didn't leave school early so he's more experienced and he's got good mentors surrounding him on the roster.

If Houston gets into a shootout with an opponent or finds themselves with a huge halftime deficit, they're probably in trouble. But if that happens, it's not on Yates anyway -- the defense and rushing attack probably already let them down.

Just remember that when it comes time to debate the viability of the Texans in the postseason that the rookie quarterback under center is about as viable as the stereotype that the Texans can't stop anyone on defense.

2. Where It's Due in Denver

It's about time, in this LOL-worthy Tim Tebow saga that hit another high with Denver's 13-10 overtime win over Chicago Sunday, to give credit where credit is due. No, not the defense. No, not the running game. No, not the super-human effort from kicker Matt Prater on Sunday. No, not John Fox or John Elway.

Let's give credit to ... Josh McDaniels.

Remember, McDaniels is the guy that drafted Tebow and blossoming receiver Demaryius Thomas. Both might have been reaches when they were taken (25th and 22nd overall, respectively) and both looked like absolutely horrid selections pretty recently. But McDaniels obviously knew something about these guys and his premonitions and talent evaluation is paying off for Denver now.

Look, there are guys that were taken after Tebow and Thomas that are better overall additions to a roster (Dez Bryant, Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty stand out), and the value McDaniels wasted at those spots is disappointing. Also, given the Rams struggles on offense this year, handing credit his way isn't exactly the chic thing to do.

But as we get further from his nightmare regime in Denver and more ensconced in Tebowmania, it at least warrants a tip of the cap to McD for his decision to select two guys who are starting to fulfill the expectations that come with their draft slot.

3. Cowboy Down

We spent the better part of the podcast (you can listen above, just by clicking play!) trying to figure out who to blame for Dallas' failings in their 37-34 loss to the Giants on Sunday night.

But since Rex Ryan egged on some defensive coverages, Tony Romo egged on a big third-down throw to Miles Austin and Jason Garrett egged on clock management, isn't it possible that it's a systematic issue across the team as a whole?

We assume that because there's a new coach running the show, with different coordinators in place and some new players, that things are different. But things just aren't.

Jerry Jones knows this -- with the Giants at the goal line and the clock ticking down, an NBC camera caught him screaming "Timeout, Jason!"

Give credit where credit is to due to Eli Manning and the Giants for clawing their way back into this game, because it was a pretty magnificent comeback, something Eli's becoming quite proficient at this season.

But these Cowboys just can't close. We've seen it over and over this season and at some point, the bossman's patience for a lack of execution is going to run out.

4. Start 'Em/Sit 'Em?

The Packers have, with their 46-16 obliteration of Oakland in Green Bay, now officially clinched a first-round bye. Thanks to the 49ers losing to the Cardinals on Sunday, Mike McCarthy's team is just one win or one San Francisco loss away from clinching homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

But Sunday's victory came at a price -- star wide receiver Greg Jennings is likely out for the remainder of the regular season. Aaron Rodgers said that "hopefully" the Packers can get Jennings back in time for the team's first playoff game, following their bye, which is approximately five weeks from now.

This begs the question: will McCarthy and Green Bay chase 16-0 with the same fervor as the Patriots?

Losing someone like Jennings is debilitating to their run at repeating as Super Bowl champions, but it's not a dealbreaker because of all the talent they have at the various skill positions. Losing Aaron Rodgers? That's a whole different story.

And what if someone like Charles Woodson or Tramon Williams or Clay Matthews was lost for the rest of the season playing in a meaningless game? Yeah, that would be bad.

There's no right answer that doesn't involve "winning the title" so it's unfair to judge whatever McCarthy and Ted Thompson decide to do. We don't know how things would play out in an alternate universe. But Jennings injury might be a bad sign for the chances at Green Bay running the table.\

5. Familiar Feeling

New England is streaking towards a likely No. 1 seed right now. And they have a  kerfluffle on the sidelines between Tom Brady and his offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien that everyone can talk about. And there's the whole "Can I draft Rob Gronkowski in the second round of my fantasy league next year?" debate that might be worth discussing when going over interesting things about this team. 

But I can't shake the fact that the Redskins piled up well over 500 yards passing between Rex Grossman and Brandon Banks (!) plus 120 rushing yards from Roy Helu and narrowly lost to the Pats 34-27.

Again: the Redskins did this. Back in 2009, New England got throttled by the Ravens in Foxborough, because Baltimore had a stout defense and Ray Rice went HAM on a Pats defense that couldn't shut him down.

This year? The Patriots defense, a season-long problem for the team, reminds a lot of that squad, in that they can't stop anyone who's physical and can play ball control. Or, really, they can't stop anyone -- only four teams have scored less than 20 points against the Pats, and one of those was quarterbacked by Tyler Palko.

There are a lot of good defensive teams headed to the playoffs in the AFC, with a lot of good running backs, and some pretty talented quarterbacks.

Brady and Belichick are great about covering up flaws on a roster, but when they run into a physical team in the playoffs, we might see a similar result from years past.

6. So You're Telling Me There's a Chance?

The 2011 NFL season wouldn't feel right if we didn't get a Lloyd Christmas-inspired false-hope run from the Eagles and Chargers, would it?

The Eagles are still alive after a 26-10 beat down of Miami, although making the playoffs at this point involves jumping a whopping five other teams, and is about as likely as the Eagles retaining Juan Castillo next season.

San Diego's path to the postseason should have been a little bit easier, because the Raiders lost and the Broncos were supposed to lose (see: Tim Tebow doing what Tim Tebow does). Now things are much murkier, as San Diego needs either the Jets -- a team they should have beaten -- to go 1-2 down the stretch, or the Broncos -- another team they should have beaten -- to lose. And the Bolts have to win

8-8 and 9-7, respectively, are doable based for the two teams, based on their schedules. But even that kind of effort might not be enough to save the jobs of certain people in certain positions for these teams.

7. Call It a Comeback, Kid

For the second time this season, four teams in a single week overcame 12-point (or more) deficits to win.

Why? Well, as it turns out, offensive points aren't the only exciting thing that's happened as a result of the offense-friendly rules the NFL installed over the past few years. Comebacks occur more frequently too.

And big comebacks as well -- Atlanta, Jacksonville, Houston and Arizona were all down by 12-plus points and mounted a comeback in Week 14 -- in Week 2, another four teams did it as well.

Limitations on members of the secondary, limitations on defensive players hitting quarterbacks and the middle of the field opening up because of defenseless receiver rules mean teams are able to sling the ball around more frequently.

Defenses simply can't clamp down on teams when they have a lead and if someone takes their foot off the gas (see: the Panthers vs. the Falcons on Sunday), a comeback is absolutely in the cards.

8. Taking Flight

Note to anyone who ends up in a December-only fantasy league: draft Shonn Greene. Dude gets unholy hot when the weather gets cold and he's doing it again this year, with four touchdowns and well over 200 yards the last two weeks, including a career-high 129 rushing yards in a blowout win against Kansas City Sunday.

Not coincidentally, it might be smart to not write off the Jets ever again. Somehow, someway, they manage to win enough games to sneak into the playoffs.

Rex Ryan's crew is doing it again, and even though this rendition of the Jets is clearly inferior to the previous two seasons, it's hard to count them out.

Twice in his two years as head coach, Ryan's used a formula to get to the AFC Championship Game despite fighting uphill to even get into the playoffs. And now he's doing it again.

The Jets last three opponents -- Buffalo, Washington and Kansas City -- are about as cream-puffy as it comes, but you only have to play the people on your schedule. So I'm really not sure why this wasn't as obvious an outcome as Greene being largely irrelevant for fantasy teams until now.

9. Get Your Mojo Running

Lost in some of the fantastic Week 14 action was the fact that the incredibly underrated Maurice Jones-Drew, the only elite skill-position player that the Jaguars have, set the franchise record for career touchdowns, surpassing the also incredibly underrated Fred Taylor.

"Mojo" did it on a day in which he went absolutely b-a-n-a-n-a-s, rushing for 85 yards and two touchdowns, and catching six passes for 51 receiving yards and a pair of scores through the air as well.

“Words can’t really explain how excited I am,” Jones-Drew said.

Jones-Drew's one of the prototypes for the modern NFL back -- small but powerful, quick, great hands and a secret workhorse. (Not to mention he's a stalwart in the community, and a good guy to boot.) Amid an often ugly offensive performance by Jacksonville on a weekly basis, MJD's been insanely consistent in 2011.

Dude deserves some love.

10. Great Expectations

It's fascinating to see that Raheem Morris and Steve Spagnuolo are two guys everyone agrees find themselves firmly on the hot seat. That's because last year, Morris and Spags were a combined one game away from both being in the playoffs last year.

Morris won 10 games with the surprising Buccaneers and even though Spagnuolo went 7-9, he had a shot at winning the putrid NFC West in the final week of the season.

The 17 total wins for the two teams has created a pretty terrible predicament for the coaches who nearly got them to the postseason though: both guys are looking like strong candidates to be fired after the 2011 season.

Tampa Bay lost its seventh-straight game in horrific fashion on Sunday when Blaine Gabbert and the Jags dropped a 41-14 bomb on the Bucs and the Rams are scheduled to start Tom Brandstater against the Seahawks. That will probably not end well.

The point of all this is that the NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me lately business and Spags and Morris have lost lately. A lot.

Muffed Punts

Leftovers from Sunday's Action ...
... Packers have now scored 466 points on the season, the second-highest total in NFL history through 13 weeks, behind only the Pats 503 in 2007.
... Drew Brees and Johnny Unitas are the only two quarterbacks in NFL history with 40-straight games with passing touchdowns.
... Rob Gronkowski has the all-time record for touchdown receptions in a single season by a tight end with 15.
... Eli Manning's 400-yard passing performance was the 14th over the season, an NFL record.

Worth 1,000 Words


GIF(S) O' THE WEEK

You can see video of KC kicker Ryan Succop executing the worst onsides kick in the history of football right here, but this GIF of the three-yard putt/kick is just mesmerizingly depressing.



And I'm double dipping this week again, as Jabar Gaffney's dive into the seats without being caught is just too much fun to ignore.


Hot Seat Tracker

  • Steve Spagnuolo -- Spags really, really needs a win on Monday night against the Seahawks.
  • Raheem Morris -- As noted above, this team won 10 games last year!
  • Todd Haley -- After righting the ship, the Chiefs are back to sinking. This may be related to "starting Tyler Palko" but still, Haley's the coach.
  • Jim Caldwell -- *stares blankly at Colts record*
  • Norv Turner -- Norv's fanning the hell out of his seat, but the Chargers might not have enough games left to make up for the bad start.

Award Worth Discussing of the Week

Aaron Rodgers has retired the MVP watch and the Colts are locked into Andrew Luck so I'm adjusting on the fly. Today's award worth discussing: Coach of the Year.

I find this race fascinating because you have four primary contenders, all with totally different situations.

There's Mike McCarthy of the Packers, who's threatening to run the table with a defending Super Bowl champ. Then there's Jim Harbaugh, who's made the a talented, underachieving 49ers team relevant again and quickly. They're the two favorites.

Then there's the underdogs: John Fox, who continues to win despite Tim Tebow flying under the radar in terms of media attention, and Gary Kubiak, who will not let a quarterback injury kill his season.

If McCarthy goes undefeated it's impossible not to give him the nod because, well, they didn't lose. But if the Packers falter at all, Harbaugh's sheen could fade enough down the stretch (a loss to Pittsburgh and struggles against Seattle and St. Louis maybe?) to let Fox and Kubes make a play for the award.

My vote, provided things play out the way they have so far, is for Fox, since he's winning with less in a way no one ever saw coming, well ahead of when people believed he'd win.
Posted on: December 10, 2011 7:10 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 7:11 pm
 

John Elway now Tim Tebow's biggest supporter

Elway on Tebow: 'There’s nobody more supportive or wants him to be that guy than me.' (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Tim Tebow is 6-1 as the Broncos' starting quarterback this season. It's something nobody expected, especially head coach John Fox and team executive vice president John Elway. After starting the season 1-4 with Kyle Orton, Denver is now 7-5 with Tebow and in first place in the AFC West. There's every reason to believe that the Broncos will finish the season 9-7 or 10-6, which means a trip to the postseason, but out of range to land one of the franchise quarterbacks (Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Robert Griffin III) early in the first round of April's draft.

We have this theory: Denver will instead sign some veteran quarterback off the free-agent scrap heap, announce that he'll compete with Tebow for the starting gig in 2012, and the six weeks of next season will resemble what we saw this season. Namely: the conventional drop-back passer will struggle in Denver's system and by the middle of October, Tebow will return to the lineup and the Broncos will promptly start winning.

But like we said, that's just a theory. One that's based on comments Elway made last month. Comments, by the way, that have since been clarified (more on that in a second). In late November, during a weekly radio appearance on a local Denver station, Elway was asked if he was "any closer to feeling if you have your quarterback on this team."

"No," he said after a pause. "I think obviously he's making progress week in and week out. When you look at our third down numbers, those have to improve. I mean, that's the bottom line. We can't go 3-for-13 and win a world championship. Those are the type of things we have to keep improving."


The Denver Broncos have won their last five straight games and hope to make it six as they host the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon. Who has the advantage in this matchup? Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan preview this game.

A week later, in an interview with CBS Sports' Shannon, Tebow was asked if he felt the organization was committed to him.

Sharpe: Do you believe this organization is 100 percent behind you?
Tebow: I believed that I am very blessed to play for this organization.
Sharpe: That wasn't the question I asked you -- whether or not you were blessed. I asked do you believe John Fox and John Elway 100 percent believe Tim Tebow is the guy that's going to get them back to winning championships?

A day after the interview aired, Elway spoke publicly about his remarks regarding Tebow.

"I was surprised in the fact that people took it to be a negative answer, and it really wasn't a negative answer," Elway said during a November 28 radio appearance. "That's where I was taken aback. It wasn't meant to be a strike at Timmy at all. It was just a reality check of where we were at the time, and it wasn't a negative because I tried to follow it up with all the positive things we were doing and tried to point out some things we needed to get better at."

Elway admitted that he needed to do a better job "communicating the message" and said the situation is "something I'll learn from."

And learn he has. In an interview with FoxSports.com's Alex Marvez, Elway may still be hesitant to proclaim that Tebow is the franchise's future, but he sees enough potential in the young quarterback that he's planning to work hands-on with him during the offseason. (We're guessing no one in the organization has had such conversations with Brady Quinn.)

“Do I know where that ceiling is? I hope that ceiling is a mile high,” Elway told Marvez on Thursday from inside his executive vice president’s office at team headquarters. “It’s just hard to predict. I don’t have that answer right now. But there’s nobody more supportive or wants him to be that guy than me.”

Tebow, who has yet to utter a controversial statement publicly, said the idea of working with Elway was "exciting."

“When you don’t have a coach helping you, it’s tough sometimes,” Tebow said “Every quarterback coach you’re working with always has great things to add. But when you’re dealing with a Hall of Famer and someone who has played the game at such a high level, he’s going to give you unique points of view.

“Situational football to fundamentals to whatever it is — that’s something he’s gone through at a crazy-high level. He can share information that not a lot of other people have.”

So what does Elway think Tebow needs to work on? Surprisingly, it's not the long wind-up (think Byron Leftwich without the arm strength).

“I don’t believe you change a throwing motion," Elway said. "I do believe you can really help your accuracy by your feet. That’s where, to me, Tim has so much upside. He’s improving. It’s just a matter of getting it burned into his reactions and mind.”

And that's the thing: if Tebow can improve his accuracy and understand what he's supposed to do from the pocket (where he struggles to decipher defenses and quickly go through his progressions), he could be really good. It would also mitigate the need to lean heavily on the read-option, a successful short-term strategy that could go the way of the wildcat before long.

No, we never, ever thought we'd write the words "really good" in relation to Tebow, NFL quarterback, but he's proven us wrong. And we're okay with that.

For now, the Broncos are concerned about one thing: maintaining their lead over the Raiders in the AFC West. And we need to revise our theory.

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Posted on: December 10, 2011 4:34 pm
 

For the gambler in you, Week 14

Tebow

By Josh Katzowitz


Each Saturday, we’ll take the best -- and most clever -- odds collected by bodog.com for the upcoming week and give our take. This is important stuff, perhaps the most important post you’ll read all week. Because if you can’t lose money while watching a game in which you have absolutely no effect, what’s the point of watching sports at all?

Will the Denver Broncos trail at any point in the fourth quarter and still beat the Chicago Bears?

Yes 7/2

No 1/5

I’m going no, because I don’t think the Broncos will be trailing the Bears in the second half at all. Ah, the power of Tim Tebow (and the deficiency of starting Caleb Hanie).

Who will finish second in NFL MVP voting?     

Tom Brady (NE) QB 2/3       

Drew Brees (NO) QB 3/2       

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) QB 5/1       

Tim Tebow (DEN) QB 10/1     

As much as I want to say Tebow -- even if it’s just for some good old fashioned CBSSports.com unity with colleague Gregg Doyel -- I’ll go with Brady to finish behind Aaron Rodgers in the MVP race. Brady is too easy a selection after Rodgers not to pick him.

Will Tony Sparano be the head coach of the Dolphins for Game 1 of the 2012 regular season?   
    
   
Yes -150    

No +110 

Ha, no. But I think Sparano and his team have done the city proud with the way the Dolphins are playing. You have to think Sparano is impressing somebody, even if that somebody is not Miami owner Stephen Ross.

Will Donovan McNabb sign with an NFL team during the 2011 regular season?      
 
Yes 2/1       

No 1/3

If the Bears, who are in desperate, desperate need of a legit starting quarterback, passes on claiming McNabb, you have to think nobody else will be interested. The more interesting question: is McNabb’s career over? For that, I’d say yes.

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 4:08 pm
 

Barkley to Bears on Tebow: 'Stop the madness'

By Will Brinson



Remember when we told you that some NFL players appeared to be getting sick of all the Tebowmania that Tim Tebow is Tebowing causing across the country? They're not the only ones, apparently.

Charles Barkley, NBA analyst, speaker of his mind and noted yeller of outlandish things, went on the radio in Chicago and made a plea to the Chicago Bears to "stop the madness."

"I want to make a personal plea to Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Mr. [Julius] Peppers, please stop the madness," Barkley said Friday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I'm just so tired ... I like Tim Tebow. He seems like a good kid, and I wish him success, but I am Tebowed out. So this is my personal plea for you three guys, please stop this madness."

Barkley also said he believes Tebow's only getting run in the media because people like to argue about whether or not Tebow is a good quarterback. (Or something like that.)

"It's clearly a media-drive story," Barkley said. "They just want you to argue about Tim Tebow. Dude, let the kid play. If he can play, good. If he can't play it will show. But to have this argument every single day after five or six games is just ridiculous."


This is probably somewhat true; Tebow creates discussion and he definitely pushes pageviews. But there's also a reason he does those things. And that reason is, well, that no one really knows. I mean, everyone knows about Tebow and everyone has an opinion about Tebow, but no one's opinion is right.

Cam Newton had the same thing happen to him before the NFL Draft. People couldn't stop debating about whether or not he could be successful in the NFL. Once he started performing at a high level, that debate died down significantly.

Tebow, on the other hand, is winning but doing it an unconventional manner, and with a non-controversial lightning rod of a personality to boot. Because of that, people are confused, flummoxed and fired up enough to debate his success in the league.

It's not like this a phenomenon specific to football -- perhaps Chuck should ask non-NBA fans what they thought about the pummeling everyone took when it came to Miami Heat coverage in 2011.

But at least we can all agree on one thing (or, half of one thing) that Barkley had to say.

"I wish him luck," Barkley said. "But if I don't ever hear the words Brett Favre or Tim Tebow again it won't be enough."

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Week 14 NFL preview

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

The Steelers handled the Browns on Thursday night, but it was a bizarre game -- on today's podcast we break down Ben Roethlisberger's injury, how he managed to keep playing, whether the Steelers should be concerned, and if James Harrison is going to get fined and/or suspended.

Then we take a spin around the NFL action scheduled for Sunday, wondering if Oakland is a sleeper to take down Green Bay (no, really!), if Chris Johnson can keep running against the Saints, whether the Falcons are playoff-worthy, if Tim Tebow can take down the Bears, if Jim Schwartz can wrangle the Lions and whether we'd rather have Tony Romo or Eli Manning for the rest of their careers.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



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