We just cannot seem to figure this guy out. Denver fans believe that he is going to lead them to their first Super Bowl since Elway, but critics believe that he does not deserve to even hold a football.
Tebow is definitely a confusing player to analyze. He has posted a porous 44.8 completion percentage so far this year, but has also thrown seven touchdowns compared to only one interception. The Broncos are also 4-1 with Tebow as the starter this year.
The Broncos have not changed a ton with Tebow running the show. With Orton as the starter, the Broncos averaged 21 points a game and with Tebow they are getting 20. The offense averages 314 with Tebow compared to 308 with Orton. The Broncos have essentially switched from a passing team to a running team.
With Orton, the Broncos averaged right around 200 passing yards and 100 rushing yards, but with Tebow they average 100 passing yards and 200 rushing yards. This is probably the most interesting statistic. Tebow has come in and created a run-first attitude with the Broncos and it has worked.
This season, the Broncos are 4-1 with Tebow and 1-4 with Orton. The rushing offense seems to make all the difference. Is that really a surprise?
Most offenses in today's NFL are a pass-happy team. If you look at the past two Super Bowl champions, the Saints and Packers, they both had great offenses with an assortment of different weapons. I think everyone would agree that both of those teams depended on the pass heavily in their offense.
It seems that the Broncos are taking the opposite route. Tebow and his Broncos offense use the run like other teams use the pass, and it seems to have caught defenses off guard. Opposing defenses can go into games against the Broncos with the mindset that they can stop Tebow from passing on them, but they have to respect the Broncos run game.
We see amazing pass offenses that cannot run the ball. Peyton Manning and the Colts were notorious for this for years. The Saints, Packers and Patriots have also been known as teams that can throw the ball well, but struggle in committing to the run. Why? Some teams just do not need to run the ball.
It seems as if the Broncos have found a way to not need the pass. Sure, they use it every now and again to keep defenses honest, just as the Packers will run Ryan Grant or James Starks for a two-yard dive just to say, "Hey, we run it sometimes too."
For this year, the Broncos can continue to run an option style offense and get away with it. They can rack up 200 yards rushing each week and will probably make it to the playoffs doing so.
At 5-5, the Broncos are definitely in the race for the AFC West title and once in the playoffs, Tebow may be able to lead his team farther than just a wild-card round. I'm not predicting a Super Bowl or anything, but we have all seen that Tebow has that "it" factor.
As the 2011 season passes and the offseason comes, teams will focus on stopping Tebow and the Broncos' option rushing attack.
However, they can stay successful by committing to Tebow and building around him. Tebow has the work ethic and desire to be great, and he will correct accuracy issues in the offseason. If anyone can fix their game, it's Tebow.
In fact, Tebow is actually doing better at this point in his career than the legendary John Elway. Tebow is 4-3 in the first seven games of his career and Elway started his career at 2-5. Tebow's completion percentage is 47.2 while Elway started with a 44.4 percentage. Tebow has a 420 more passing yards, nine more touchdowns and six less interceptions than Elway had at this point in his career.
Tebow can definitely improve, and there is no reason to believe that he won't.
If the Broncos can come back next year with a similar run-first offense and Tebow can improve his game, the Broncos will be a legitimate contender. They have the running backs to continue a heavy run offense and receivers good enough and unselfish enough to succeed in a minimal passing offense.
The Broncos can grab a few defensive players to provide depth for a talented defense and another year in John Fox's scheme will help the Broncos as well.
The most important thing that Tebow brings to the Broncos is determination and passion. We have already seen it rub off on his teammates and he is only going to drive them more.
The Broncos would be smart to take advantage of Tebow's skill set, just as the Packers, Saints and Patriots have used their quarterback's skills to their benefit. Tebow is a leader, first and foremost, and the Broncos could use him for years to come.
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