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Tag:Brian Xanders
Posted on: February 20, 2012 5:54 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 10:34 pm
 

Tebow WILL have competition next year

Tebow's season ends ingloriously in New England. (AP)

By Josh Katzowitz

We’ve been asking this for a while now: Is Tim Tebow guaranteed to be the Broncos starting quarterback next year? Our own Ryan Wilson brought this up in mid-January and listed a number of free agent quarterbacks Denver could pursue in an effort to knock Tebow out of his starting spot (including Matt Flynn, Jason Campbell and (yep) Kyle Orton).

Even coach John Fox has now confirmed that nobody is going to hand Tebow anything heading into 2012. That’s because Fox said Monday, via the Denver Post, that the team would acquire two quarterbacks in the offseason to compete against Tebow.

"Numbers wise that's accurate,” Fox said. "Who, what, where, when, what market -- it's still way too early how we get those quarterbacks."

You’ll recall that Tebow a was tad controversial last year as he continued to play poorly (for the most part) but still led his team to the AFC West title and a playoff victory against the Steelers (really, by the end of Denver’s run, our colleague Pete Prisco was one of the few who remained steadfast in his belief that Tebow is not a legit NFL quarterback).

What to do with Tebow?

But that doesn’t mean the read option offense Fox and Mike McCoy had to install midway through the season when Denver decided to replace Orton with Tebow will continue to work in 2012. Tebow still has to prove he has the arm strength, the accuracy and the ability to play effectively in the pocket.

“I think at some point he’ll have to be if he wants to play a long time,” Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said in January. “That’s one area he’s going to have to improve to be elite in this league. But the things he does running the ball -- he can make some throws, it’s just being comfortable doing it. He’s got to get better at it, and when he does, the sky’s the limit for him.”

Of course, the Broncos will HAVE to bring in at least two quarterbacks, because Tebow and practice-squader Adam Weber are the only signal-callers under contract for next year. Brady Quinn -- who apparently had a third-down package set for him in the playoffs (was he planning to Tim Tebow Tim Tebow?) -- is a free agent, and there probably isn’t much reason for him to return Denver.

So, for now, Tebow is the starter.

"He's going to come into our camp as the starting quarterback," Fox said. "He's young. He can get better."

Yeah, what does he mean by that? What can Tebow do better?

Um, this.

"It's the precision on the passing, it's the accuracy, the footwork, the mechanics, the rhythm, the timing, the quickness, the release. Everything," Broncos general manager Brian Xanders said recently. "And he wants to work at it. And he's dedicated. He's going to work really hard at improving those things. .. We're excited about him improving in those areas."

Until, perhaps, the Broncos can find somebody else who’s better than what we saw from Tebow last year.

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Denver GM: Tebow needs to improve on 'everything'

Tebow will spend the next six months working on, well, everything. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Tim Tebow was the story heading into training camp last summer, he was the story for 20 weeks during the season, and he'll continue to be the story this offseason. On Monday, John Elway, the Broncos executive vice president of football operations, said the team "will be in the market to find more quarterbacks" in the coming months.

This wasn't so much an indictment of Tebow's 2011 season, more the realization that the Broncos need to add depth at the position. Kyle Orton was jettisoned during the season and Brady Quinn is set to be a free agent in a few weeks. While Tebow still remains atop Denver's depth chart heading into training camp, he has plenty to improve on. And when we say plenty, we really mean everything. Broncos general manager Brian Xanders provided specifics.

"It's the precision on the passing, it's the accuracy, the footwork, the mechanics, the rhythm, the timing, the quickness, the release. Everything," Xanders told the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla. "And he wants to work at it. And he's dedicated. He's going to work really hard at improving those things. Our coaches, Mike McCoy and Adam Gase, and hopefully even John Elway are going to help him improve throughout the offseason. And he knows he has a lot of work to do. We're excited about him improving in those areas."

And that improvement, ultimately, will decide Tebow's fate. This isn't a revelation, but it does explain why Elway would only commit to him as the starter "heading into training camp." As Kizla writes, however, there's another reason to make Tebow compete for the starting job: he plays better when he's challenged.

But raw athleticism will only get him so far. For Tebow to have sustained success he'll have to -- wait for it -- become a much better passer. Or, in Xanders' words, improve on everything.

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Posted on: April 21, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Offseason checkup: Denver Broncos

Posted by Will Brinson



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



Remember when the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls? Yeah, that was a long time ago. But the Broncos were relevant as recently as 2005, which is the last time they won the AFC West. Since then? Well, um, er, you see. Yeaaaaaaah, about that: one winning record (9-7 in 2006) produced a third-place finish in the division, while one losing record (7-9 in 2007) produced a second place finish. Two-straight .500 seasons followed after that and then -- BAM! -- the bottom fell out in 2010, as the Josh McDaniels train derailed en route to a 4-12 finish and his firing.

Enter John Elway, John Fox and the new, "new look" Broncos who appear to be all about transparency. They also appear about to undertake a pretty massive rebuilding project. Fortunately, Fox that's he polar opposite of Josh McDaniels -- methodical, defensive-minded, doesn't care for too much personnel control, likes to run the ball and unlikely to tape anyone else's practice.

The question for Fox is whether or not the system he wants to implement will work with the roster that McDaniels built. The immediate answer is "hell no," but it's not as far off as you think; Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd could be a poor man's Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith (a reasonable comparison, although I feel like it might insult someone, I'm just not sure who), who didn't exactly suffer through miserable seasons, statistically-speaking, their whole time in Carolina.

The defense, rather, is the bigger problem for Fox to address, because it acted like a sieve last season, and even with Elvis Dumervil returning, there's no guarantee that it will instantly become better. 




Defense, Quarterback??

The defensive line in Denver is a disaster, particularly at defensive tackle. That's why the Broncos are mentioning so many different possibilities at the No. 2 pick -- if the Panthers end up taking Marcell Dareus first overall, Denver's suddenly in a nightmare situation where they need to trade out of the second spot and try and recoup some value a few picks later. Fortunately for them, a pair of teams -- Cincinnati and Arizona -- could be interested in playing some hopscotch to try and acquire Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton should the draft unfold in such a manner.

What's even left to say about Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow? Well, actually a lot, I guess -- the two quarterbacks on the Broncos' roster are polar opposites (can you imagine Orton running a draw and/or circumcising babies in a third-world country during spring break?) but they're in similar situations, because no one can figure out whether or not the Broncos actually want  them.  

Could John Fox actually love Orton? Considering he saw -- first-hand -- how Orton can "manage" a game into right into the L-column when the Bears visited Charlotte a few years back, it's hard to believe. But surely he doesn't think the same of Tebow as Josh McDaniels did, right? Well, probably not, but there's always a chance, especially considering that Fox and Tebow got friendly during the draft ... right before Carolina took Jimmy Clausen.



1. Defensive Tackle
If the Panthers draft anyone other than Marcell Dareus with the first overall pick, it's hard to imagine the Broncos taking too much time to wait on selecting the Alabama product with the No. 2 overall pick. They'll definitely still listen to trades, because, well, who wouldn't, but Dareus is a pretty perfect fit with not only what Fox wants to do on defense, but how he wants to do it.

2. Cornerback
Patrick Peterson's there too, and could be a candidate for the No. 2 spot if Carolina goes Dareus and no one will trade up, although you have to think Denver would rather add a DB in the second round, or potentially trade back up to try and snatch a guy like Jimmy Smith if he falls. Of course, the depth at defensive line in this draft could have John Elway thinking he nabs Peterson to mentor under Champ Bailey during the legendary cornerback's home stretch, and then snag a defensive tackle with a later selection.

3. More Draft Picks
That's only a half joke -- Denver's got piles of holes to fill; they need another running back to pair with Knowshon Moreno in Fox's system, they might need a quarterback, they could use a defensive end, they need help at linebacker (making Von Miller a sneaky potential selection at No. 2 as well), they need more secondary help and they also need help across the offensive line. Moving down in the draft and accumulating potentially talented bodies to plug these holes is Elway's ideal scenario.



2011 could be another long season for Broncos' fans. It looks like the division should  improve, though in the AFC West, no one's scared to keep falling back to the pack throughout the season. But it's hard to imagine that Denver will be as successful on offense, numerically speaking, as they were in 2010, and unless the defense improves leaps and bounds, four wins might be a stretch ... again.

But there's hope, at least: Elway's immediate legacy will be somewhat determined by how he drafts this coming year, and it's going to take time to heal the wounds of the McDaniels era. Fortunately for Denver, they've got a coach who's turned around a moribund franchise before, and a front-office guy who knows a thing or two about the city and success. 

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Posted on: April 21, 2011 2:15 am
 

Elway praises Newton by way of Nick Saban

Posted by Will Brinson

It's become kind of a de facto assumption that the Panthers will take Cam Newton with the first overall pick -- in fact, both of our latest mock drafts have that happening -- but there's always a chance he could be sitting there at No. 2 when the Broncos are on the clock.

Denver would then have a very interesting choice: trade the second pick or draft Newton. They could do neither, of course, but it stands to reason there's a team interested in trading up for Newton's services. And it sure seems, based on what John Elway said at a pre-draft Broncos press conference Wednesday, that they'd at least be interested in taking a look at the Auburn product.

"One of the interesting things is we went down and saw Nick Saban when we were down at Alabama's Pro Day, and we're talking about obviously all his players and then we asked him about Cam, and he said that team would not have won four games if it wasn't for Cam Newton," Elway said in a press conference Wednesday. "That tells you how much of a special player he is."

That's strong praise indeed ... or just a pot shot at a rival. But probably strong praise.

Even if they did want Newton on board, don't expect the Broncos to tip their hand about it, just like they'll continue to keep guarded any calls they've had re: trades.

"Most of those calls with likely occur the day of the draft," GM Brian Xanders said. "It starts at 6 p.m., Mountain Time, so those hours preceding we could get calls or we might not get any calls."

Yup, that's the ambiguity of the next week or so -- no one's talked to anyone else and every team loves every prospect on the board.

Hell, for all we know, the Newton love-fest coming out of Denver's press conference was an elaborate smokescreen to keep the Panthers away from Alabama's Marcel Dareus.

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Posted on: January 5, 2011 9:52 am
 

Elway will oversee Broncos football operations

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Broncos have officially announced that legendary QB John Elway has been named executive vice president of football operations.

We told you about this a couple days ago, but the Broncos have laid out Elway’s new responsibilities.

“John Elway’s leadership, competitiveness and passion for the Denver Broncos will position this team for long-term success through his work leading our football operations,” team owner Pat Bowlen said in a statement released by the team. “John has won championships as both a player and executive, and his experience will be a valuable addition to this franchise. He is the perfect fit for this role, and I am excited to welcome him back to the Denver Broncos.”

Elway, according to the team, will oversee GM Brian Xanders and the Broncos head coach (and will lead that coaching search) “while assisting in the supervision of the club’s football personnel department.” There had been some thought that Xanders could be on his way out, so this release confirms he will remain in his position.

Elway will have final authority over Denver’s football operations, though he will report directly to Bowlen and Joe Ellis – who has been named team president.

At the very least, it’s a move that should fire up the fanbase, which was let down by the Josh McDaniels era (except, of course, for TIM FREAKIN’ TEBOW).

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com