The Denver Broncos' Unsung Heros: WRs and Others Making Huge Contributions
There has been a lot of press lately about the phenom that is Tim Tebow. And rightfully so, because his leadership ability is a large part of why the Broncos are making some noise in the playoffs after upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers in their first-round matchup this past Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High. The fact that there were literally six fourth-quarter comebacks on the way to this playoff bid speaks volumes about the accolades Tebow has been receiving as well.
Tebow has been a large part of Denver's success, but there is also a great deal of other players that deserve credit as well. This slideshow will take a look at the other players who have helped shape Denver's success along the way to their first playoff victory since 2005.
Wide Receiver: Demaryius Thomas
Although his seemingly modest 551 yards and four touchdowns this year would indicate otherwise, I believe that Demaryius Thomas is poised to become a star in this league, and not just because he scored the game-winning touchdown against the Steelers last week.
The fact of the matter is, crafting a playoff team is all about teamwork, and when Tebow's other targets got bit by the injury bug and were slow getting back up to speed, Thomas stepped up nicely. In the last five games of the season, Thomas had 448 receiving yards and scored four touchdowns. Not to mention the 204 yards he racked up in the postseason game against Pittsburgh.
Cornerback: Champ Bailey
As the defense goes, so goes the Broncos as a whole at times this year. And as Champ Bailey goes, usually so goes the defense. In games where Champ Bailey has made an interception, the Broncos have won. Plus, even in his 30s, he still hustles with every play, as this photograph indicates.
Linebacker: Von Miller
Von Miller has also contributed greatly to Denver's defensive success, having recorded 11.5 sacks and 50 solo tackles this year. Much like Thomas on the offensive side, the author of this article believes that Miller could very well become a rising star on the Broncos' secondary for many years to come.
Kicker: Matt Prater
The leg of Matt Prater has truly helped the Denver Broncos be a contender this year. He truly shined in the game against the Chicago Bears, where he kicked a game-tying 59-yard field goal and a game-winning 51-yard field goal in overtime to clinch the victory.
Moreover, Prater has proven this year to be one of the most accurate placekickers from long-yardage situations of 50 yards or more with a 12-of-15 mark.
Running Back: Willis McGahee
In this rather unorthodox run-first offense, who could forget running back Willis McGahee?
He has proven himself to be a huge asset and recently netted 1,000 rushing yards with the team. Incidentally, this was also the third different team that he has been a 1,000-yard rusher with.
In a lot of ways, a running back should be the yin to a quarterback's yang. If a team has an effective rusher and an up-and-coming quarterback, they can find more than one way to beat their opponent.
Willis McGahee is proving to be an effective weapon for the Broncos' rushing attack.
Coach: John Fox
Yes, John Fox is also an unsung hero for the Denver Broncos. And this is not as unlikely as it seems. The reason is because John Fox adjusted his game plan around the strengths of Tim Tebow instead of attempting to make Tim Tebow adjust to his game plan, which is so often the way that things are done.
By using this strategy, Coach Fox has allowed his young quarterback to continue to blossom.
Obviously, there were several others that I could have included as well. Tebow, like any other quarterback, does not stand alone. He has a supporting cast as well. Such players as Elvis Dumervil, Brian Dawkins, Eddie Royal and others have all had a contribution to play along with the ones mentioned.
As far as Tebow himself is concerned, if the Broncos focus on bringing in more solid players to build around, the sky could very well be the limit for this team.