Time for Orton to get even vs. Broncos
Howie Long: I have never felt that Tebow was this team’s future. I simply don’t think that he’s John Elway’s vision of what a NFL quarterback is. But, how do they go about doing any of that like drafting another quarterback or looking for one through free agency?
Terry Bradshaw: Well, Tebow has been fun to watch. But I don’t think he’s the answer, either. But what do they do? Do they go after somebody else’s rejects? Like Oakland’s Jason Campbell. I don’t know if I would want to do that. But teams are always trying to convince themselves that they can make a player better than what he is by simply relocating him.
Picking up where we left off yesterday, I did a workup on each of the Denver linemen to establish what I’ve seen on film (I added stats when they seemed appropriate). I usually used the Pro Football Focus stats, and linked to the things that seemed to matter the most. After I’ve covered the players, I’m going to talk about the options that Denver has, and which I think might be the most productive.
Rating Orlando Franklin’s value has been somewhat contentious among the fans this year. If you take in the running style and consider the yards per play through Franklin’s slot (6.7 per carry - beating Chris Kuper’s 6.2 for the team lead), Franklin is playing pretty well for a rookie. Most of them get to sit for a year - he was tossed into a position that he’d never played before at right tackle. He’s not a 4th-and-short kind of leader to the team, and that’s just fine - no one does everything and he’s a heck of a run blocker over the course of the game: the Broncos need that. His pass blocking needs work, but a lot of that is technique and he has improved this year, without question. The footspeed issue remains another question with him - he’s generally good at getting downfield to the second level, but not as effective with his kickstep going right and mirroring a speed rusher on the outside. Denver hasn’t mentioned the issues specifically to my knowledge, so we don’t have any straight info on what they’re thinking for his future.
Tim Tebow has now started 10 games this season, and although he was responsible for two Denver TDs on Saturday, two of his four turnovers were brought back for six points by the Bills. Along with the 45-10 loss to Detroit in his second start of the season, Tebow now has two games where he was charged with both a pick-six and a fumble return for a score.
Although the narrative had been that Tebow takes exceptional care of the football, he now has 12 fumbles to go along with five interceptions. Among the NFL's top 40 QBs in terms of pass attempts, Tebow now has the second-highest sack rate (10.7%), third-highest fumble rate (3.0%) and the tenth-highest negative play rate (sacks, fumbles, interceptions - 11.9%).
Let's see how he stacks up in terms of Adjusted Net Yards and Net Yards:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andy Benoit raises an interesting point in his preview of Sunday's game, in that the simple matter of a win or loss could determine whether the Bronco decide to go all-in on building around Tim Tebow for 2012. Could it really be that simple? What if Tebow plays great but the team loses and misses the playoffs, or what if he continues to be off the mark with his passing yet the team wins and takes the division title? Will John Elway & Co be afforded the leeway to evaluate Tim for what he is, or will the decision be driven solely by team results?
As for the game, Benoit figures the Chiefs to better defend the Broncos' running game, and that their excellent group of corners should allow KC to man up on Denver's receivers, as Buffalo did last week. He thinks the Chiefs will try to utilize short drops in the passing game to help weaken the impact of Denver's pass rush, specifically Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. To counter, Benoit says the Broncos should go with tight man coverage from Champ Bailey and Andre' Goodman agains Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin.
Dawkins held out but Carter, Harris practice as Broncos prepare for Kyle Orton’s return
Although Carter (hip) participated in the entire two-hour workout Wednesday, Dawkins was held out of the team’s final full-padded practice of the regular season because of a neck injury that has bothered him for much of the month.
NFL Neglects Tim Tebow for Pro Bowl Pick
“Even though he didn’t make the Pro Bowl’s main roster, it’s great seeing Tim Tebow make the cut as an alternate quarterback,” said Emilia Huneke-Bergquist, a Berthoud, Colo. native. “He’s still a fresh quarterback, especially in relation to the first-string quarterbacks selected.”
“Will Cousins, a Leominster, Mass. native and New England Patriots fan, said Tebow doesn’t belong in such circles, he argued, as fans overlook his playing ability for his personality and public displays of Christianity. “People like Tim Tebow’s story and he’s a great guy, but he’s not a good quarterback,” Cousins said. “Putting him in the Pro Bowl would be akin to the movie ‘Air Bud’ getting nominated for an Oscar. Everyone likes it, it’s inspirational but that doesn’t make it good. And at least in ‘Air Bud,’ the dog was good at basketball.”
One Tebow interception changed to fumble
Make that three picks Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow threw against the Buffalo Bills, not four. Tebow was whacked from behind on the arm by Bills linebacker Chris Kelsay. The ball popped straight in the air and was nabbed by Spencer Larsen who ran it in for a touchdown. After further review, the NFL stat men ruled the play should have been ruled a fumble _ and that is the way it looked _ that was returned for a TD.
The Chicago and New England games were the third and fourth times this season that the Denver OL has gotten pushed around by a strong defensive front: Buffalo put the icing on the cake. The opening week loss in Oakland could have been put down to being rusty, new coaching and opening nerves, but the pattern since then has been to handle lesser lines well, yet to fall apart against a stronger team. Denver had a run of wounded and problematic teams in terms of the opposing defensive lines, and the Broncos O-linemen moved and attacked well against them. Against the stronger teams, they weren’t worth much. They’ve had better games, but it’s become clear that there’s a talent/experience issue as well. J.D. Walton has made strides but still has weaknesses, Zane Beadles is a matter of some concern, and Orlando Franklin, for a guy who never played right tackle, has improved across the board.
There’s some good news. Mike McCoy agrees:
They’ve gotten better every week. That’s something that is going to take time coming together with the limited practices we had going into the season. Like everybody else in this league, we are going to grow and keep going.
Sporting News player poll: It's Newton over Tebow in a landslide
We asked one starting player from 30 teams (we didn’t pursue a vote from Carolina or Denver for obvious reasons) this question: Who will finish with more NFL victories in his career, Newton or Tebow?
Newton: 25 votes
Tebow: 5 votes
PRO-NEWTON: “Newton. He’s a way better player. Much, much better. Cam’s like 10 times better. Cam’s only going to get better. He’s scary as it is right now.” — NFC offensive player
PRO-TEBOW: “Tebow. It just seems that’s the way his life trend is going, man.” — NFC defensive player
Stay thirsty, Tebow fan boys.
Broncos Win By Losing
Well, it was a really fun ride. Stop laughing, I’m serious. It was a blast going 7-1 down that magical stretch when things just started falling into place for the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately every lucky streak — and that’s what it was, don’t kid yourself — must come to an end at some point. After the Patriots game I still thought that the Broncos would win out, make the playoffs, and could even win a playoff game at home. I see nothing. And if I’m being honest, I have no desire to see this version of this team playing an obviously superior Pittsburgh or New England in the “real season” of the playoffs.
I actually rooted for the Broncos to lose the season finale last year, and coming up short against San Diego likely made the difference between Denver landing Von Miller at #2 rather than someone else at #5 or #6. I'm more interested in sustained success and SB titles than a win here and there, so I can certainly see where Sam is coming from here. And, there's always the (likely) chance that the bar be set inappropriately high next year by both fans and punditry should the Broncos win the West:
They were a playoff team last year. Couple more pieces and they're contenders.
But Tebow carried them to the playoffs. Of course he's the future!
There is value in making the playoffs, especially in the form of experience for young players and cash in Mr. B's pockets. But what if the Broncos are just this year's version of the 2010 Chiefs? Would a division title now be more costly down the road?