Tim Tebow's Wild Horses Offense: Who Will Make It Work?
I read a great article recently on the "Denver Broncos' Chemistry Experiment."
I can't remember which major sporting news source published it, or for the life of me who wrote it, but the article essentially surmised that the Denver Broncos have taken a talent cut for a chemistry boost. I don't necessarily agree on all fronts.
Certainly Brandon Marshall is irreplaceable. The guy was a integral part of the team last season and for the seasons preceding, but he brought along character issues that were entirely insurmountable. Jay Cutler was sent packing before him, but I've never really understood the infatuation with the under-performing interception king. It seems like a lot of people assumed that because he was a top 12 pick, at quarterback, he was a top NFL talent.
For a long time his powerful arm and youth have gotten him by on the line that "he'll be really good some day." Jay Cutler's clock has run, so I don't see the talent loss there.
What the Denver Broncos have done, even while decimated by injury, is improve their defense dramatically and then diversify their offensive portfolio.
I know that term sounds a little bit foreign in this economic climate, but try to remember back to the good ole days and you'll know what I'm talking about.
A big part of that has been the improvement in Kyle Orton's game as the pocket passer of now, but also the inclusion of Tim Tebow's Wild Horses offense.
This brief slide show is a preview of how it might work, and who the key pieces will be.
The wild cat offense is at the core of the wild horses offense. In case you are a little confused about the way the formation works, the quarterback lines up like a wide receiver and the running back lines up to take the snap.
The difference in the wild horses offense is that the quarterback has the option of coming in motion to take the snap directly himself. Even if he does, he still needs a trigger man, which will almost undoubtedly be Moreno.
In this circumstance, having both Knowshon Moreno and Tim Tebow in the backfield with the confusion of wild horses could lead to incredible rushing performances. Obviously, Tebow's fellow SEC alumnus will play a key role, particularly in direct snap circumstances.
I'm all about the Denver Broncos offensive line, as long as it is healthy. And there is no doubt that Ryan Clady is the biggest key piece to the offensive line puzzle.
NFL die-hards can lecture you for hours on the importance of your left tackle, because they traditionally protect the blind side of the quarterback. Even though Tim Tebow is left handed, I still think Clady's participation is more important than that of the right tackle, Ryan Harris.
Clady's presence elevates the play of the entire offensive line, and as long as he is in, doing what he does by dominating defenders and showing why he is at the top on the list of NFL linemen these days, the wild horses offense can gain serious ground yards.
Alternating Tim Tebow/Knowshon Moreno runs off the left side could prove very lucrative...If Tebow has learned what an NFL hit feels like and can avoid the temptation to put himself into too much risk.
The Rest Of The Offensive Line
They deserve some mention here. The Broncos went out of their way to add some size to the offensive line this year by bringing in rookies like Zane Beadles, JD Walton, and Eric Olsen. Josh McDaniels is also taking the team away from the familiar Mike Shanahan zone blocking scheme.
To long term Denver fans, it will be a very foreign offense.
The changes on the line, however, could be very conducive to the raw power approach applied by the wild horses offense.
Jabar Gaffney is probably going to be the number one guy in Denver this year, particularly with Eddy Royal's lack of size and Demaryius Thomas' clear penchant for injuries. If he can't get open at times, it will be difficult for Tim Tebow to pass when he needs to.
I know what you're thinking. Tim Tebow? Passing the ball?
So far in preseason, he has shown he has some raw, passing talent. He needs work, but he can get the job done somewhat already. In time, I have little doubt he'll become an effective passer.
However, in order to make wild horses believable, rather than just a two running back version of the wild cat, the Broncos need to at least be able to sell the pass. And the receiving corps will be integral in allowing Tebow to do that.
Particularly Jabar Gaffney.
The entire formation will hinge on this guy. Sure, without him, Denver could still run the wild cat or substitute Orton back in. But Tim Tebow's athleticism and overall ability are what the offense rests on.
Expect him to be the cornerstone of the wild horses offense.
It shouldn't be used constantly, but when it is employed, Its success will be determined almost exclusively by his performance (as long as the other guys do at least a decent job).
I was actually against using him much this season, just because I think he could really benefit from some time adjusting to the NFL action by learning and watching from the bench, but this offense fits him perfectly.
Expect some interesting, innovative, and outright surprising plays in Denver this year.