The Playbook Abides - Tebow’s encore

Last week we took a look at all 16 throws Tim Tebow made in his debut as the Broncos' starting QB.

The verdict?  This cat is an NFL quarterback.

I'm happy to report that I reached that conclusion before Christmas, so you can't accuse me of pounding too much egg nog.

This week in The Playbook Abides, we're putting up for your review four of Tebow's passes from Sunday.  Each one of them is instructive in its own little way, and helps us to chart Tebow's growth as the Broncos' signal caller.

(Note:  I don't believe I need to convince you of Tebow's inherent leadership abilities, but if so, don't take my word for it.  Champ Bailey and Jabar Gaffney can tell you).

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BLloyd Pro Bowler; Champ snubbed Lard 12-29-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Brandon Lloyd got a much-deserved nod yesterday from his peers with his first Pro Bowl selection. His conference call (linked below) with reporters was a gem, and he continues to show himself to be a humble and well-spoken guy.

Unfortunately, Champ Bailey did not make the Pro Bowl, which would have been his 10th selection. I should correct myself for suggesting last night that he was not snubbed in getting beaten out by Devin McCourty for the roster. It was one of those things I thought was a bit iffy when I typed it, and after more thought it was pretty dumb. McCourty getting chosen over Champ is clearly about stats, more specifically the stats that the fans see (interceptions) and what shows up on the weekly highlights. This is the same manner in which our old friends Deltha O'Neal and Tory James made it to the Pro Bowl, and frankly it sucks. I'm not equating McCourty's play with that of those two overrated guys, but his selection over Champ is an example of what's wrong with the Pro Bowl.

Usually the problem is guys getting in on their name and popularity; this time it was an unimportant statistic. Quite simply, interceptions are not the measure of a great cornerback. In fact, this season Nnamdi Asomugha has zero INTs, Darrelle Revis has zero INTs, and Champ has just two. But please don't use this as fodder for the "Stats are Meaningless" argument. Stats can tell you almost everything you need to know - it's a matter of finding the right ones...

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Brandon Lloyd elected to Pro Bowl

The NFL has announced the 2011 Pro Bowl rosters, and the Broncos have but one representative - WR Brandon Lloyd. 2010 has been a breakout season for Lloyd, who has accumulated 72 catches for a league-leading 1,375 yards through 15 games. Lloyd's 19.1-yard average per reception trails only Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson and 60 Minutes' Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace, while his 10 TD receptions are tied for fifth-best in the NFL. Lloyd's 72 receptions have produced a remarkable 67 first downs, for a league-leading 93.1% rate. All of these numbers have far surpassed Lloyd's previous career highs.

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Thoughts on Sunday’s victory

When the Houston Texans came into the Mile High City this week, Denver fans were looking at several factors that might not show up on the scoreboard. Perhaps the biggest issue with the Texans was whether their head coach, former Broncos backup quarterback and offensive coordinator Gary ‘Kubes’ Kubiak, would be returning to Dove Valley as Denver's next head coach. While Pat Bowlen tends to honor prior relationships with coaches, most fans so far seem opposed to the idea. The reason is easy to spot: Houston has had but one winning season under Kubiak, and their freefall this year (while outpaced by Denver’s) doesn’t give much reason for fan excitement at the idea of returning coach Kubiak to the Broncos' fold. A quick look can help Denver fans understand the situation with Kubes and get a clearer picture of the Houston team at the same time.

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The Stats That Don’t Suck (as Bad) - Week 16: Lloyd v. Marshall

It's been several weeks since we brought you our weekly summary of Broncos-related stats.  

There was a good reason--week after week there was nothing novel about the Broncos sucking wind.  The numbers were terrible, and the only question that remained after Week 8 was whether or not the team would rank last in each and every defensive category.  Snipers were beginning to assemble on rooftops.

Since the season is coming to an end, we thought it high time to at least give our readers what they deserve:  more crappy Broncos stats.

On the bright side, it will be a 20-minute distraction from your daily ritual of wondering who the Broncos will draft.

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The Daily Lard 12-28-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Eric Studesville confirmed the worst-kept secret in Denver yesterday - that Tim Tebow will start the season finale against San Diego. Again, this points to some disrespectful handling of Kyle Orton, who deserved better than being left to make that same announcement himself last week.

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The Really, Really Blind Side: Chia Pets

This week we're introducing a new video series giving you insights into the intriguing and mysterious happenings at Dove Valley.  

We're pulling back the curtain to see just what is happening as the Broncos search for a new general manager.   

This one is called "Chia Pets," and stars Joe Ellis and Brian Xanders.

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Broncos reportedly going orange in 2012

According to Woody Paige in his column today, the Broncos will indeed be going back to orange jerseys full time starting with the 2012 season (the earliest they can do so at this juncture). This, just six short weeks after Dave Krieger and then-coach Josh McDaniels spent half the Monday presser following the win versus KC talking about jerseys? Wow, things work quickly around these parts, eh? Was it the fan email campaign that Krieger started? Was it the online petition started by our friends over at BroncosForums.com?

Funny - the first hint of such an idea comes after a rousing home victory in which the Broncos wore orange. The day after the team's next win, which also happened to come at home and with QB-of-the-future Tim Tebow directing his first 4th-quarter comeback, Woodrow lets it slip that the orange jerseys will return. Amazing...well, you know what I think. But conspiracy theories aside, I'm thrilled to hear it. How do you feel about the decision?

First comeback Lard 12-27-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver won yesterday for just the fourth time all year, breaking a five-game losing streak as Tim Tebow earned his first NFL victory, fourth-quarter comeback and 300-yard game. The Broncos overcame a 17-0 halftime deficit and trailed the Texans 23-10 as the final period began - Denver dominated the fourth quarter as Tebow threw for one touchdown (a 23-yard catch-and-run by Correll Buckhalter) and ran the game winner in from six yards out with 3:11 remaining. Tebow finished the game with 308 yards passing and 27 yards rushing to go with the two touchdowns and an ugly first-drive interception in the Texans' endzone. Over the course of his first two NFL starts, Tebow has put forth an impressive 93.4 QB rating with an eye-popping 9.9 YPA while generating an average of 8.7 yards of adjusted total offense per chance*, along with a TD on 6.1% of his chances. By comparison, previous starting QB Kyle Orton has averaged 7.2 YPA and 6.2 yards adjusted total offense, and a 3.6 TD% passing and rushing over the past two seasons.

Small sample? Yes, of course. Stats we'd never have considered pre-Tebow? Absolutely. But that's the point - Tebow brings a different dimension to the Denver offense via his ability to make plays on the run. So, is it more fair to compare Tebow to Jay Cutler, Orton's predecessor? Cutler averaged 7.4 YPA, 6.2 yards adjusted total offense and scored a TD 4.1% of the time as Denver's starting QB - numbers very much like those Orton has produced as a Bronco, and also significantly less productive than Tebow. Again, small sample. But these are the numbers that matter, if you're in the business of trying to win football games.

* I've taken PFR's Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt (which factors in TDs and INTs) and also added in rushing stats. Chance = Pass Attempts + Sacks + Rush Attempts

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Gut Reactions - Week 16, Broncos-Texans

ralphie And God said, "Let there be two halves."

How could the Broncos look so bad in the 1st half and so good in the 2nd?

They let their quarterback play one on TV.

The first half was one of screens (slip, bubble, running back, silver?).  The Broncos' coaching staff either didn't trust their young quarterback or they simply wanted to continue to take his development as slowly as possible.  Did they realize they were facing the league's worst defense in the Houston Texans?

The 17-0 deficit was actually a blessing in disguise.  It forced the Broncos' coaches to finally unleash the Tebow.  In the 2nd half, they had no other choice.    

Tim Tebow may be a lot of things (young, inexperienced, and still under development), but there's one thing he's not--boring.  He gave the Broncos energy today.  Energy to burn.  

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