The Playbook Abides - The growth of Tim Tebow

I've been steadfast in my defense of Tim Tebow in one area of his game--pre-snap reads.

Accuracy is another issue, but let's put that aside for the moment.  Let's continue to focus on Tebow's ability to read a defense when he comes to the line of scrimmage.

Last week's game against the Jets presented a greater challenge than Tebow had faced in previous weeks.  The Jets typically mix their coverages pre-snap; they did so again when facing the Broncos.

The challenge for Tebow then (as with any quarterback, for that matter) was getting to the line of scrimmage and knowing where he needed to go with the ball.

We'll take a look at the first play of the game last week, which resulted in a 28-yard gain.  Was it just luck?  Or was it Tebow?

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STDL: Week 12 - Broncos at Chargers

The Broncos are undoubtedly in the thick of things in the AFC West, and a victory tomorrow could all but end the Chargers' chances to take back the division they had ruled for five out of six years prior to last year's stumble. San Diego is reeling, having lost five straight games (the first four by a single score) and turning the ball over an astonishing 14 times during that stretch. Of course, the Broncos are on the upswing, have won four of their last five, and they've given it away just once in three games. Just how likely is Denver to pull of their (previously unimaginable) third road divisional win in four weeks' time? Let's check out the Stats That Don't Lie to find out:

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The Daily Lard 11-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Chris Benson previews Broncos/Chargers for PFF, and he says a loss will be close to a death knell to either team's playoff chances, especially so in San Diego's case. Benson theorizes that Denver isn't necessarily setting out to run the ball so many times, but they're just going with the flow rather than sticking with a pass-heavy game plan when it's not working. He also points out that both teams have been successful in defending the run, while on offense both squads are featuring running back corps that resemble MASH Units. Finally, Benson ponders the age-old question for Denver whenever they face San Diego (Who will cover Antonio Gates?) and wonders if the answer could be Von Miller.

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Re-Digesting the Chargers

Happy Fat Man Friday, friends.  On Sunday, the Broncos will plays the Chargers for the second time this season.  What’s changed since October 9th?  Well, on the surface, the answer is everything.  Tim Tebow took over the Broncos offense in the second half of that game, with his team trailing 23-10 and looking sluggish.  Tebow then rallied the team to fall just short of winning at 29-24, as a pass into the end zone on the game’s final play was nearly caught by Matt Willis in the typical Hail Mary crowd.  On that day, the Chargers improved to 4-1, and the Broncos fell to 1-4.

Since then, the Broncos are 4-1 on the strength of an improved defense and running game, as well as some timely plays by Tebow.  The Chargers are 0-5 in that same period and have gotten really banged up in the process.  I can’t see any way that their season isn’t over, in terms of playoff meaning, at this point.

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The Daily Lard 11-25-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! John Elway told Dave Krieger that he's stopped reading his Twitter account, and who can blame him? Krieger writes, 

Trying to have a rational public conversation about Tebow is mostly futile these days. The subject has passed into a realm normally occupied by politics and religion, where people already know what they think and once the usual talking points are exhausted, the argument often devolves into personal insults. Because Elway shares the doubts of many league insiders about long-term success without a robust passing game, and because he's forthright enough to say so, he is now routinely accused of being jealous of Tebow's popularity and wanting him to fail...Maybe the Twitter loudmouths are just the lunatic fringe. But it would be understandable if Elway has reviewed his most recent career choice lately and wondered to himself, "What the heck was I thinking?"

I couldn't agree more. However, if in fact Tim does not have the ability to be a franchise QB anytime soon (and you know what I think of that), then there's nobody aside from Elway who has the political capital to move on from the Tebow experiment. Well, except among the Twittersphere, of course...

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Open Thread - Thanksgiving 2011

Enjoy the games and your meals, everyone!

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The Daily Lard 11-24-11

Happy Thanksgiving, Broncos fans! I'd just like to take a moment to selfishly give some IAOFM-related thanks -  I'm thankful that TJ came up with the idea to pursue this project, that Doc was all for it from Day 1, and that Ted rounded out our writing crew back in January. I'm thankful to be able to legitimately call Ted, Doc and TJ my friends, guys that I can talk to daily about life just as much as football. I'm thankful that my great pal David was willing to usher us four noobs into the world of running a website, especially when he's so busy with a demanding day job, a young family, and a humongous site of his own.

Of course, I'm thankful that all of you choose to spend so much of your valuable time reading our work and sharing your opinions and reactions, even when we don't see eye-to-eye on things. It's your readership that makes this all worthwhile, and we appreciate each and every one of you. So, on behalf of the five of us, I'd like to wish all of you a wonderful holiday - enjoy the great eats and football, and please drive safely.

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Chiefs claim Kyle Orton

Per Adam Schefter, the Kansas City Chiefs have claimed Kyle Orton off of waivers.

What does this mean for the Broncos? Stay tuned.  Kyle Orton says he may not report.  I have a feeling he will find a way to get motivated.  There are a few million reasons.

Either way, it clears some dough off Denver's back.

UPDATE 3:53PM MST:  Orton is reporting to KC by Thursday it appears. 

For those that care, officially, the Chiefs, Cowboy, and Bears all put claims in for the services of Mr. Orton.  

Wednesday Musings - Analyzing Bears/Chargers, scouting San Diego

Given that the Broncos are facing a divisional rival this weekend and are still, almost impossibly, in the hunt for the division title, I thought that I’d chime in on the SD contest and why the Bears/Chargers game mattered to the Broncos (other than the race for the division). There were some points I wanted to cover from that game that bear on both teams’ upcoming battles with the Broncos.  It was a good chance to get a preview of each, although Chicago’s new QB (whether Caleb Hanie or Kyle Orton) may change some things.

The Appetizer - San Diego at Chicago

The SD/Chicago game was both a preview of the Broncos' following opponent, and of Chicago, who comes to Mile High on December 11 and has struggles of its own, despite a winning streak that was prompted by a combination of Mike Martz making some changes to help out his QB and the Bears' excellent defensive play. Lance Briggs had a monster game against SD, and he’s playing at a very high level - as well as a very good streak by Jay Cutler which was ended by a broken thumb late in Sunday's game. San Diego didn’t help themselves, having two fumbles from RB Ryan Mathews (with one of them lost) and two INT from Philip Rivers. Chicago had a single INT, and the old adage about turnovers winning games held in this one.

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The Daily Lard 11-23-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Just some quick math to clean up Kyle Orton's contract info (not because you care, but because I'm a little OCD about making sure I get this right) - Denver paid him a $1.5M roster bonus at the end of July, and 11/17 of his $7.379M salary works out to $4,774,647.06 - so Denver has paid Kyle $6,274,647.06 and $2,604,352.94 remains. Should Chicago or KC claim him, the Broncos will be off the hook for that latter amount, Kyle gets to play rather than sit behind Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn, and perhaps he gets to go back to the playoffs with the Bears. It's a win/win for everyone, unless of course he comes back to Denver and beats the Broncos with either team. Remember how dramatic it appeared a Cutler/Orton or Cutler/Tebow might be? Well, Tebow/Orton is even better - at least as far as Denver fans are concerned.

Jeff Darlington lays out the list of teams that could put in a claim for Kyle, including perhaps Atlanta to block Chicago from getting him. Andrew Mason and Jeff Legwold detail Orton's release and his rough season, while Lindsay Jones tracks the muddled outcome of the Jay Cutler trade, which essentially netted Denver Robert Ayers and parts of Demaryius Thomas, Tebow and Eric Decker. Meanwhile, Dave Krieger thinks the whole thing seems a little fishy and wonders why Denver didn't cut Orton loose weeks ago. Well for one, what if the team had instead gone 1-4 with Tebow? And, prior to the injuries to Cutler and Matt Cassel, they were probably certain that no team would put in a claim for Kyle, and they'd be left holding the bag on his remaining salary. So as usual, it's all about the Benjamins.

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