5 Denver Broncos (Besides Tebow) That Deserve Credit for Recent Success
As shocking as it may sound or be, the Denver Broncos, at 4-5, are legitimate contenders in the rather lowly AFC West.
Now, I wouldn't go making Super Bowl banners in Denver, yet the Broncos have a lot of reason to be happy. A few weeks back, the Denver defense couldn't stop a nosebleed (as Bart Scott would say), and their offense was struggling under the talented, yet poorly utilized, Kyle Orton.
Media golden boy and former Florida Gator star Tim Tebow was given the job as the team's starting QB, and despite a low completion percentage and an unconventional style of play, the Broncos are 3-1 with Tebow as their starting QB.
The media attention has been centered mostly on Timmy, yet it is no secret to the legitimate football analysts and fans that the Denver Broncos are playing better as a team and that football is, indeed, a group effort.
Here are some of the other Broncos who deserve a lot of credit for the team's new-found success.
5. Von Miller, OLB
Bart Young/Getty Images
Von Miller's numbers have actually dipped a little since Tim Tebow started quarterbacking the team, yet the Broncos' first overall pick in this past year's draft is proving to be nothing but a great investment.
Miller has eight sacks, 29 tackles and two forced fumbles on the year. He's been brilliant as both a pass rusher and a defender—he drops back into coverage like it's nothing.
He's one of the front runners for Defensive Rookie of the Year, and there is no doubt that Miller's play on defense has lifted this team a notch.
4. The Running Backs
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
I wrote in an article a few weeks back, while the Broncos were struggling, that they needed to start running the ball more productively.
While I doubt they were taking my advice, they seemed to have gotten the memo.
As far as wealth goes, the Broncos are rich in the running back category. Knowshon Moreno has all the potential to be a star, Willis McGahee is an experienced veteran who's not afraid to be a workhorse and Lance Ball is quite effective when given the opportunity.
In Sunday's win over the Chiefs, the Broncos showed off the prosperity that they have at this position. After McGahee, who has been running great in recent weeks, went down with injury, Moreno came in and put up great numbers until he too got hurt. Fear not, however, because Ball then came into the game and collected 96 yards.
Hopefully, McGahee and Moreno get healthy quick, and the Broncos can utilize their depth to their advantage.
3. Orlando Franklin and Ryan Clady, OTs
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Orlando Franklin and Ryan Clady, the team's left and right offensive tackles, respectively, have really stepped it up in the last two weeks.
In Tebow's first two games as a starter, he was sacked 13 times.
In the two most recent games, Tebow has been sacked only once.
This increased production of the Broncos' quarterback has allowed Tebow to make more plays and stay more composed during the football game.
Extra credit must be given to Franklin for covering his lefty-quarterback's blind side.
In general though, Franklin, Clady and the entire Denver offensive line deserve pats on the back (or just some real good steaks to enjoy).
2. Eric Decker, WR
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
Eric Decker deserves so much credit for the success of the Broncos lately, and his production has come on the most visible spectrum.
The second-year receiver is having a breakout season and has three touchdowns in four games with Tim Tebow.
Decker is using his fantastic speed and imposing size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) to create great mismatches against smaller cornerbacks.
With seven touchdowns and and 462 yards already this season, Decker could be Pro Bowl bound. Either way, he is Tebow's best and most reliable target.
1. John Fox, Head Coach
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
I never said the list had to include only players, right?
John Fox has really shown in recent weeks that he is not going to pull a page out of a textbook to manage this football team.
This is so important because nothing about this team at the moment is, well, textbook.
Tim Tebow is probably the most unconventional quarterback in the NFL right now, and Fox has decided that he is not trying to change that.
Tebow attempted only eight passes yesterday and completed only two of them, one of which was a 56-yard bomb to Eric Decker for a touchdown. But as Chris Berman said, "who cares?"
Football is a game of winning and, more importantly, finding out how to win. It seems like John Fox and Denver might be doing exactly this.
We'll have to see, but the reality is, people in Denver are excited.