Mark it Zero

Gut Reactions - Wild Card Weekend

Although the Broncos did not play this weekend, I have to tell you - I didn't miss them one bit.

It was time to put this season out to pasture.  Did we really need to see another backyard Slip 'n Slide party from the defense?

Sure, I could have used a few more game tapes on Tim Tebow.  And I would have liked to have watched Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas work themselves into more consistent wide receivers. I would even have enjoyed listening to Brian Xanders tell us that he would have drafted Arian Foster instead of Knowshon Moreno if not for Josh McDaniels' Napoleonic tendencies. 

But, of course, it's time to move on.  So let's get to some smaller Gut Reactions from this weekend.  I'll do my McDaniels' best to keep everything Broncos related. What does that mean?  I guess it means I won't (supposedly!) tell Brian Xanders.

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The Playbook Abides: Tripping up Tebow

Over the last several weeks of analyzing Tim Tebow's throws, I've come to believe he is already making great strides in his pre-snap reads.

This shouldn't have come as much of a surprise.  After all, Urban's Meyer's offense at Florida was, in part, predicated by reading both safeties and their position relative to the line of scrimmage.  When Josh McDaniels (hiss!) said that Tebow and he were at the whiteboard for hours upon meeting, he wasn't lying (no one knows if Brian Xanders was informed of the whiteboard incident).  Tebow wasn't completely green at reading defenses pre-snap like many college quarterbacks are.

But unfortunately for quarterbacks, the defense rarely stands still after the snap of the ball. What first appears like an outside linebacker blitz is actually a zone coverage to the flat. What appears like middle-zone coverage is actually a delayed linebacker blitz.

Last week the Chargers did some interesting things post-snap to confuse our hero.  We'll take a look at one such play today in The Playbook Abides.   This will help us gauge Tebow's continued growth and development. 

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John Elway: Mindfreak

Yesterday, my senses failed.

I thought I was ready.  I told myself I wasn't going lose my perspective just because the greatest Bronco of all time was now given the position of lower deity at Dove Valley.  I was ready to watch the entire spectacle with a critical eye.  I would not be fooled by the glitz and glamor of Elway's five Super Bowl appearances.

But then something happened.  Elway stood up and showed enough enthusiasm to light the building on fire.  He even said the magic words, "Mile High Stadium."

It was a pure mindfreak: a supernatural occurrence beyond comprehension.

I lost all perspective and objectivity.  Hours later, drunk off the euphoria of hearing Elway talk about the championship days, I still couldn't bring myself to rational thinking.

I turned on the radio; I wasn't the only one.

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The Really, Really Blind Side: Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Here's another video in our ongoing FICTIONAL video series The Really, Really Blind Side.

If you missed our first video, you can check it out here.  

In this installment, Joe Ellis and Brian Xanders go back to the 80s with a little Poison.

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Gut Reactions - Week 17, Broncos-Chargers

Despite all of the excitement late in today's game, the Denver Broncos just finished the season a woeful 4-12.  This was their worst finish since the War of 1812.

holy-grail

So what do the Broncos do now besides pick 2nd in next year's draft?  Bring in their own war veteran, John Elway.

Good luck, John.  I know you're about the closest thing to Chuck Norris the Broncos have ever seen, but the NFL you left a dozen years ago isn't the NFL you're about to re-enter.

You once drove 98 yards while being pelted with dog biscuits.  That's going to seem like a cakewalk compared to what you're getting into now.

Your owner wants to win now; the boss' right-hand man is a guy who measures success by dollars spent per box seat; your general manager is a guy who just said that the ideal way to win in the NFL is to run the ball half the time;  after you find a head coach, your other order of business it to try and figure out who is going to be the franchise's quarterback for the next decade.

Oh, and the fans?  They've seen so much drama in the last two years, they'd prefer an re-run of Lost to yet another Broncos front-office change.

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A Second Helping of…Brian Xanders

Call off the bloodhounds.  It appears as if the search for a general manager was over before it even began. 

At least you'll have a shiny new John Elway doll to distract you.

Enter Brian Xanders...stage bereft.

According to multiple reports, Pat Bowlen, Joe Ellis, and John Elway will make it their first order of business to give Xanders full control of personnel decisions next week.  For an organization set to have one of its worst records in franchise history, this seems a little rash.

Right now the NFL is teeming with hungry and talented GM candidates, but the Broncos already have their inside man.

Within one week of ending the season?

If only the Rooney Rule applied to the search for a general manager.  It would at least force the Broncos to interview candidates for the job.

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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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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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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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The Playbook Abides: Tebow(etheus) Unbound - Part 4

Broncos, Gators, and Tebow fans of the world, unite!  This is our final installment of Tebow(etheus) Unbound.

Today we're looking at Tebow's final four throws (13-16) from Sunday's game.

You can go back and read Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 if you'd like.  Or jump right into today's breakdance breakdown.  At the end of today's piece, as an added bonus, I gathered my summary thoughts on Tebow.  I thought it was time to finally take a stand on him.

For those Raiders fans who can't read wait until the end, I'll put it this way:  I think the guy can play.

Yes, after watching all of his throws from last Sunday dozens and dozens of times, I'm pushing all of my chips to the center of the table and I'm betting on Tebow.  Sure, he didn't play with more than a quarter of the playbook.  Sure, the sample size was small.  Sure, he's going to struggle like other rookies have.  And sure, the easiest thing to do is to sit on the fence so that I can later claim I was right about Tebow, no matter what direction the Broncos go.  But after watching each of these throws dozens of times, I'm confident in his abilities to be the Broncos' quarterback of the future.

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