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Tag:Denver Broncos
Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:43 am
Edited on: January 18, 2012 11:01 am
 

Tebow suffered rib, chest injuries in Pats game

Tebow suffered some serious injuries against the Pats on Saturday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Tim Tebow, the newly proclaimed starter for Denver's 2012 training camp, is tougher than you all think. The Broncos quarterback played the second half against the Patriots on Saturday after sustaining some pretty severe injuries in Denver's 45-10 loss.

Tebowmania

Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth didn't detail the exact nature of Tebow's injuries, but did confirm an earlier report from ESPN that Tebow was in considerable pain when he finished Saturday night's game.

Tebow reportedly tore some rib cartilage and bruised his lung but continued to play. this resulted in a a build-up of fluid on his chest (during the game and afterwards).

After Tebow had struggled to sleep on Saturday and Sunday night, he reportedly underwent an MRI on Monday.

The injury occurred when Vince Wilfork and Rob Ninkovich hit Tebow; backup Brady Quinn began to warm up on the sideline following the injury, but Tebow stayed in.

It really shouldn't be a surprise that Tebow eventually suffered an injury: he's one of two NFL players to attempt at least 100 rushes and take at least 30 sacks in the 2011 season (Cam Newton's the other). Tebow also ranked 40th in the NFL in rushing attempts.

These are the sort of things that expose the body to viscous shots from defenders. The irony is that Tebow reportedly suffered the injury after throwing a pass.

Tebow would reportedly be almost doubtful -- and certainly questionable -- to play this Sunday if the Broncos had advanced to the AFC Championship Game. As it is, Tebow is expected to make a full recovery and the injuries are not expected to interfere with his offseason training program.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:50 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Jim Caldwell fired by Colts

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Jim Caldwell was fired on Tuesday by the Colts. Right before we were about to record a podcast, which is fortunate for everyone involved.

Well, except Caldwell. We broke down why this happened, what it means for Peyton Manning, what it means for the Colts going forward, who could replace Caldwell as the Colts coach.

We also talk to our good friend Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk and get him to rank the remaining quarterbacks in the playoffs, discuss whether Joe Flacco should get paid, whether any veteran would want to join Tim Tebow in Denver and much, much more.

(Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes? And 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: January 17, 2012 12:05 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 12:08 pm
 

Coach Killers, Week 19: Drops, picks and sacks

Coach Killers is your postseason look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that ends Super Bowl aspirations and begins "So, where should we vacation?" discussions.

By Ryan Wilson

Jacoby Jones, T.J. Yates - Houston

Jacoby Jones is the easy choice here because in the time it took him to try to field a punt with his face, he swung the momentum in the Ravens' favor. The Texans' opening drive led to three points, and the defense had forced Baltimore to punt on their first possession. Then Jones happened. (To his credit, he fell on an Arian Foster fumble later in the game. It doesn't make up for his first-quarter punt but it's something.) But he's not the only reason the Texans lost.

Jones had a long day in Baltimore. (US PRESSWIRE)
It's probably unfair to call out Yates here; he's a rookie who played collegiately at a basketball school that had never produced a starting NFL quarterback. His 2011 destiny was to spend the season running the scout team during the week and sitting comfortably on the bench on Sundays.

Then Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart were lost for the season, the Texans' playoff hopes didn't seem far behind, and the offense was suddenly Yates'. And he played beyond everyone's expectations. Which is why we don't feel quite so bad for name-checking him now.

Against Baltimore, he was 17 of 35 for 184 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. And if Yates had found a way to complete just one of those picks to someone not wearing purple and black, the outcome of this game could've been different. In fact, midway through the final quarter we actually had this thought: What if Yates leads Houston to a win (easily the biggest in franchise history)? No matter what happens in the conference championship, he's now entered Matt Flynn airspace.

Which is to say: assuming that Schaub and Leinart are both healthy by training camp, the Texans could try to trade Yates to a QB-needy team and make a nice little profit on the transaction. (We figured they might be able to get a third-rounder out of it; not bad given that Yates was a fifth-round afterthought last April.)

But that daydream was short-lived. Ed Reed's ball-hawking abilities quickly brought us back to reality and guaranteed that come August, Yates will return to a backup role. For the time being, anyway.

Green Bay 'pass catchers'

Easily the worst-performing bunch of the weekend and it's not close. It's easy to blame rust as the culprit but it could be something much simpler than that: the Packers were off (Hey, Occam's razor). They also have terrible timing.

Bad hands and worse timing for Packers. (Getty Images)
Whatever the explanation, unless Mike McCarthy has a time machine, the fact remains that Green Bay's season is over and it's primarily because their usually sure-handed receivers dropped eight Aaron Rodgers' passes.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Lori Nickel pithily recaps what happened at Lambeau Sunday.

"James Starks, Tom Crabtree, Greg Jennings, (Jordy) Nelson and (Jermichael) Finley all had drops. Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Grant and John Kuhn all lost fumbles."

Nelson was dumbfounded after the game.

"For everyone to do it in the same game," he said. "I don't know . . . I don't want to say it's contagious. But it sure looked like it today."

Finely was more practical. "Trying to do too much," he offered. "We were trying to look upfield, trying to get the YAC, but first you've got to catch the ball."

However you choose to explain it, it was a horrible showing for a team that won 15 games in 2011. Silver lining: Somebody's getting something really nice with the Best Buy gift cards coming their way.

Denver offensive line

Any conversation about the Broncos invariably begins with Tim Tebow. But that's no different than at any other point in his career going back to high school. Tebow is many things to many people, and for Denver, for now, he's theirs starting quarterback. Even following a forgettable performance against the Patriots, seven days after his most impressive showing in two years in the NFL.

But Tebow's final line -- 9 of 26 for 136 yards, 5 rushes for 13 yards, a lost fumble and 10 measly points -- isn't just the latest example that he's a fullback who is occasionally asked to throw the ball.

We've documented in great detail his progress this season. Has Tebow evolved into a franchise quarterback in 13 weeks? No, of course not. But the Broncos learned quickly that the best way to make this relationship work is by accentuating what Tebow does well (the college offense Tebow ran at Florida) and throwing the rest of the playbook in the incinerator (the pro-style offense the team ran with Kyle Orton).

But it's not just Tebow who has to grow into this system, it's his teammates. Specifically, the offensive line, at least based on their performance Saturday. In general, the unit performed well this season, particularly when Denver ran the ball. According to Football Outsiders' metrics, the Broncos' o-line ranked 11th in run-blocking in 2011 but 29th in pass protection.

Clearly, some of that falls on Tebow, who struggles to make correct presnap reads, or work through his progressions after the snap. But against New England, the Broncos had 15 plays that lost yards -- both running and passing (including sacks).

This doesn't mean that Denver needs to overhaul the entire unit. But if the plan is to build an offense around Tebow and the option game, they need to find players that best fit that scheme.

New Orleans secondary

Jenkins' day was much longer than Jacoby Jones'. (AP)
There's plenty of blame to go around, on both sides of the ball, but underwhelming performances by Roman Harper and especially Malcolm Jenkins gives the secondary the edge. Harper was the closest player to Vernon Davis on his game-winning touchdown grab, and afterwards, the 49ers said that they noticed on film that Harper's tendency was to drop several yards into the end zone but never step up to the goal line. Davis ran to the goal line, Alex Smith hit him with a laser, game over.

But a lot had to happen before Harper even got the opportunity to let Davis make the play. Linebacker Scott Shanle never redirected Davis as he came off the line of scrimmage, and linebacker Martez Wilson just missed tipping Smith's pass.

Jenkins, meanwhile, served as Davis' metaphorical punching bag. The poor guys at Canal Street Chronicles relive the horror to provide the play-by-play breakdowns in those fateful final three minutes. The final breakdown was Harper's; the other two are courtesy of Jenkins' inability to stop Davis.

As Brinson wrote in Sorting the Sunday Pile, "You might want to pick on Roman Harper for getting worked over by Vernon Davis in the end zone on the final touchdown, but Jenkins is the reason the Niners even had a shot. First there's the teardrop Alex Smith dropped over Jenkins into Davis' outstretched arms before his now famous touchdown run. Then there's Jenkins coverage on Davis across the middle when he picked up 47 yards on the 49ers final drive. Burnt toast anyone?"

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:30 am
Edited on: January 17, 2012 10:31 am
 

Tracking Tebow: And so it ends…until next season

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

By Ryan Wilson

The Broncos' run ended ingloriously Saturday night, 97 days after Tim Tebow replaced Kyle Orton at quarterback. Denver went 8-5 in those 13 weeks, a stretch that included six straight wins followed by three straight losses, which preceded a "didn't see that coming, did you?" offensive explosion against the Steelers in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

But the Tebow aerial assault was fleeting; New England wasn't going to let Tebow do to them what he did to an aggressive Pittsburgh defense. Instead, they mixed their coverages, generated pressure with four and five rushers, kept Tebow contained in the pocket and generally made his Saturday night a miserable experience.

But the setback is temporary; after the Broncos started the season 1-4 with Orton, no one expected them to make the playoffs much less win the AFC West. And yet they did, with an unconventional quarterback running a college offense. And guess what? Denver's ready to do it all again next season, too.

As soon as the Broncos' season was over the speculation began on Tebow's future as an NFL starter. On Monday, team vice president John Elway announced that Tebow had "earned the right" to be the team's quarterback heading into training camp and the hall of famer plans to play an active role in Tebow's development.

"There are things that I can add," Elway said. "Where I can help him ... I'm looking forward to it."


Elway's right -- Tebow has earned the job -- but if the organization is truly committed to him (and we're not convinced they are long term) then that means building the entire offense around one person, right down to a backup quarterback proficient at running Tebow's brand of option football.

If it seems extreme, think of it this way: what happens if Tebow goes down? Denver's offense suddenly reverts to its pre-Tebow playbook? And the remaining starters -- all of whom have spent months practicing the option offense, will suddenly be expected to run a conventional offense? In the middle of a game? That ain't happening.

The downside: if Tebow falters next season and the Broncos decide they'd prefer to run a more conventional system run by a more conventional quarterback, then for the second time in as many offseasons they'll be rebuilding the roster based on a new offensive philosophy.

So, yeah, it's a risk. But this is the same team that went with Orton out of training camp and won once in the first five weeks of the season. Tebow, even with all his flaws, fared much better.

And now with an offseason to work on, well, everything, it's reasonable to think that he'll be a lot better in August than he was in January.


                                                   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



"Kind of like our football team, I was really proud where he started and where he brought this team. We are a work in progress. We have got a lot of work to do and that hasn't changed, you know, for some time. And as I mentioned earlier, you know, the two matchups we had against the New England Patriots, I think it is evident that we have work to do."  - Head coach John Fox on Tebow's overall performance this season

"A lot of ups and downs. Overall it's been a very special opportunity for me, something I've very thankful for, very thankful I had the opportunity to build some of the great relationships with teammates and coaches. We've overcome a lot of different forms of adversity, to win some special games, to have great memories of last week and to be able to get into the playoffs. There's a lot of things we are proud of, even though it's hard to see that now.  " - Tebow, after the game Saturday night

"Tim has earned the right to be the starting quarterback going into training camp next year. He made some good strides." - John Elway, executive vice president of football operations


                                                   Audio-Visual




Instead of playing press coverage, the Patriots often disguised their looks. Whatever happened presnap, the outcome was usually the same: contain Tebow, make him hold the ball, and win your one-on-one matchups. Here Tebow is sacked for an 11-yard loss.

(Note: click to englarge photos.) One thing Tebow will have to get better at: reading defenses and going through his progressions. In this play that ultimately led to a sack, Tebow stares down his receiver to the right. By the time he finally looks for other options, it's too late, the pocket has collapsed, and he's taken down. The receiver to the left is open, Tebow just never looks his way.


                                                   Eye on Tebow



Jan 14, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) on the field after the game against the New England Patriots in the 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 45- 10. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 8:54 pm
 

Who would want to compete with Tim Tebow?

Who would even want to compete with Tebow? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Monday, John Elway said at his season-ending press conference that Tim Tebow "earned the right" to go into the Broncos 2012 training camp as the starter. He also said that the Broncos will "obviously be in the market" for more quarterbacks.

But here's my question: Who wants to come to Denver and compete with Tebow?

That's not to say it's impossible to beat Tebow out for a starter's role, of course. It's not -- Kyle Orton did it in 2010. And Elway believes someone will be willing to compete against Tebow. Or at least that if there isn't anyone willing to do so, then he shouldn't be in Broncos camp.

"If he’s afraid to come in and compete for that job, maybe he’s not the right guy," Elway said Monday.

Here's the problem though: the deck is absolutely stacked against any of the available free agents that could come in and reasonably and/or rationally be considered a starter for Denver.

For starters, the would-be competitor has to be willing to consent to life as a backup. Even though they will be technically be involved in a competition, whoever signs in Denver is going head-to-head with a quarterback who just won a division title.

That quarterback happens to be a fan favorite, and therein lies the biggest problem: the fans.

Elway and John Fox can preach about ignoring what their constituents say all they want. The fact is that after relegating Tebow to third string, a 1-4 start and an enormous fan outcry (including the purchase of billboards instructing Fox how to do his job) prompted them bring in Tebow and give him run as a starter.

How'd that run work out for Orton? Not well -- he was routinely booed and generally reviled by Broncos fans. That he played poorly isn't even beside the point. It is the point, especially if you're the guy looking to compete with Tebow in 2012.

Win the job out of training camp because you play the quarterback position better than Tebow? Welcome to the shortest leash of your life, not to mention the most unfriendly homefield circumstances in NFL history. No one wants that, especially if it comes after the success.

And that's without pointing out how hard it'll be for Denver to even get someone decent into camp: the list of free-agent quarterbacks this offseason is abysmal at best.

Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, Jason Campbell and Orton are the headliners. Maybe someone beatdown and desperate like Chad Henne or Kyle Boller makes sense, but those guys have had their chance and they weren't as effective as Tebow, on teams with better weapons.

The Broncos aren't within range of grabbing an elite quarterback prospect; if they could trade up to grab Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III or even Ryan Tannenhill, it'd be a clear indication they're moving away from Tebow.

They're not doing that. No one thinks they are anyway.

Although the way that Elway and John Fox continually backpeddle, use vague language and strive not to support Tebow might lead some observers to believe they're actively rooting against him.

Whatever, if they want him to fail that's fine. Whether or not Tim Tebow succeeds has no bearing on the Broncos ability to land another viable quarterback for 2011. It's just not going to happen.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:27 am
 

Report: Dolphins to interview Denver's Mike McCoy

Miami will reportedly interview McCoy on Monday. (US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy's name shot up coaching candidate lists after a season that saw him turn Tim Tebow and an unconventional offense into a division winner. And according to multiple reports, he'll interview with the Dolphins for their head-coaching position on Monday.

Both the Miami Herald and NFL Network report that McCoy will head to South Beach for an interview.

McCoy's worked under John Fox with the Carolina Panthers for several years before taking the offensive coordinator position under Josh McDaniels in Denver beginning in 2009; he was retained when Fox replaced McDaniels in 2011.

In his three years in that position, he's authored the league's No. 1 ranked rushing offense (2011) and a passing offense that ranked in the top 15 in passing yards twice (2009, 2010).

Perhaps most impressive about McCoy, who's just 39, is what he's done with limited resources. The Broncos traded away Jay Cutler before the 2009 season and under McCoy, Kyle Orton still threw for more than 3,500 yards in two consecutive seasons. After the Broncos traded Brandon Marshall following the 2009 season, Brandon Lloyd became a Pro Bowler.

And, of course, in 2011, McCoy re-engineered the offense in the middle of the season to fit Tebow's skills and helped Denver win a division title.

When the Dolphins struck out on landing Jeff Fisher Friday, they began turning to other candidates. Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's a hot name in South Beach right now, Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin could get a second interview and according to the Herald, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael has been "discussed internally."

If the Dolphins are truly looking to become a potent offensive team, McCoy could very well be their best choice.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 10:11 am
Edited on: January 17, 2012 5:09 am
 

Elway: Tebow 'earned the right' to start in 2012

Denver backs Tebow as its QB on Monday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

It's no secret that people were curious what the Broncos -- or, more specifically, John Elway and John Fox -- plan to do with Tim Tebow going forward. We mentioned the Denver problem in Sorting the Sunday Pile and early word out of Denver is that Tebow will be the starter in 2012.

Divisional Round Recap

Elway said so himself on Monday, and also added that he wants to work closely -- and personally -- with Tebow to improve during the offseason.

"Tim has earned the right to be the starting quarterback going into training camp next year," Elway said at his press conference Monday. "He made some good strides."

We mentioned this on the podcast: the Broncos are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place with their quarterback situation. They might not love Tebow and his "pure passing skills" (or whatever), but he led them to a division title in 2011.

Plus, there are no real viable options for Denver to upgrade. Look at the list that CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson put together, and tell us who exactly the Broncos are going to get to come to Denver who is a better option than Tebow. But because they currently only have two quarterbacks under contract, they will be shopping for another one in the offseason.

"Right now we've got two quarterbacks under contract," Elway said. "We have to obviously be in the market to find some more quarterbacks in free agency or the draft."

They certainly need to sign a veteran, but one of the best options out there (Brady Quinn -- no, really) was already Tebow's backup in 2011. And what veteran is going to want to come to Denver and have to compete with Tebow? Did you even see the Broncos fans last year? They're insane.

Drafting a quarterback isn't out of the question, but it's unlikely that there'll be anyone worth taking out there when Denver makes its first-round pick. It's just a terrible market to need a quarterback if you're sitting in Denver's spot.

So they did the smart thing and put all their support behind Tebow right now, minimizing the questions that will be asked over the next several months. Next up? Try to develop him as much as possible.

"There are things that I can add," Elway said. "Where I can help him ... I'm looking forward to it."

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 9:39 am
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Best Super Bowl matchups

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Three games left in the season. It's terrifying, but we've got to analyze the four games from this weekend anyway.

Are the Giants the new Super Bowl favorite? What happened to the Packers? Is the Patriots defense stepping up? Are the Broncos going to stick with Tim Tebow in 2012?

And what's the best possible Super Bowl matchup? A Giants-Patriots rematch? Or is it Harbaugh Bowl 2.0?

We answer all these questions, plus much, much more, below.

(Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes? And 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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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com