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?
Tonight's game should be fascinating if speculation about Denver seeing a Cover 0 from the Jets is true.
The thinking is that in order to stop the Broncos' running attack, Rex Ryan is going to go to the Cover 0 more often than not.
If that's the case, it won't be boring. Exciting football is dangerous football, in which the defense operates on the razor's edge of risk and reward.
The Cover Zero says, Throw at us, we dare you.
Let's take a quick peek at what it looks like:
Lost in the Tim Tebow debate this year has been the upswing on the defensive side of the ball.
The Broncos have yet to become the defense they really want to be. That much is clear. Yet they are no longer last in the league in yards allowed per game (22nd).
Much of this incremental upswing can be attributed to Von Miller and the signing of Brodrick Bunkley. However, I believe the signing of defensive coordinator Dennis Allen--along with his aggressive style and 4-3 scheme--has been a big factor. We all thought Allen would create more pressure on the quarterback. It turns out Broncos fans were correct in that assumption.
Today I'd like to look at some of the tools that Allen uses against the pass to get the most out of a defense that was one of the worst in Broncos history only a year ago.
This week we'll continue to examine some of the concepts that new defensive coordinator Dennis Allen will bring to the Broncos. Last week we looked at the overload blitz.
While Dennis Allen was in New Orleans, the Saints blitzed more than any team in the league on passing downs (52%). However, blitzing that often can become problematic; one can't always line up eight defenders at the line of scrimmage and yell, "CHARGE!". Eventually, the offense will adjust with screens and quick passes.
That's why the football gods created deception. Deception not only separates us from animals (and Raiders fans), but it separates advanced defenses from more primitive ones.
Make no mistake about it--Denver's defense in 2010 wasn't just primitive, it was downright amphibian. Disguise wasn't something they did well; when the Broncos got pressure, it was often due to coverage, not disguise or creative schemes.
That should change next year - it's safe to say that the Broncos' defense under Dennis Allen won't be the most talented, but you can bet the house that they will be deceptive and creative.
Several weeks ago, my colleague Ted Bartlett looked at what the Broncos might be doing this year as they try to incorporate Dennis Allen's aggressive style of defense into John Fox's generally non-aggressive 4-3, where pressure is generated primarily by the front four defenders. If you haven't had a chance to read that piece, I would suggest taking another look.
Fox says he gives his coordinators free rein, so it's more than likely that Allen will bring at least some of the aggressive 46 to Denver. As current Saints coach Sean Payton said just the other day about Allen in the Denver Post:
"He'll be aggressive, blitz. Emphasis on the takeaway. He's very bright, a great staff guy. He was very instrumental in the success we've had."
This quote should fill the hearts of every Broncos fan with glee. That's because the system the Saints use isn't just talk. It's probably the most aggressive system in the entire league.
How does this aggression translate to the field? This offseason, we'll take a look using actual plays from the Saints (and sometimes the Panthers if needed) to demonstrate what Allen will likely bring to the table. Today, let's examine the overload blitz.
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.
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).
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 1, Part 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.
If you've made it this far, congratulations. You are one of three types of people:
1) You love Tim Tebow;
2) You love NFL playbooks;
3) You typed in "Woody Paige Is Fat" into Google.
Here at It's All Over, Fat Man! we'll take all three. We have no prejudices--unless you count our almost psychopathic leanings towards zone blitzing.
If you're just stumbling upon this series, you can always go back and get Part 1 & Part 2 first. Or you can just go commando and read this third installment of Tebow(etheus) Unbound. Today we'll be looking at throws 9-12, in which Tebow looked like a NFL-caliber quarterback.
Yesterday, in Part 1 of Tebow(etheus) Unbound, we took a look at Tim Tebow's first four throws against the
Pirates of Penzance Raiders last Sunday.
We saw how, during the early part of the game, the Broncos were intent on keeping Tebow in some run-heavy sets, while simplifying his throws.
Today, we'll be looking at throws 5-8, which included the long touchdown pass to Brandon Lloyd.
Here, we're going to see what happened when the Broncos gave Tebow a little more leeway.
We present to you Tebow(etheus) Unbound, Part Deux.