Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

If you’re gonna tackle Tebow, you better pack your lunch

Former Florida stars Tebow and Harvin face off
lacrossetribune.com

“I’m not sure,’’ Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson said, asked why the Broncos are thriving with an offense that’s not supposed to work. “I was one of those guys that said the same thing, just because of the amount of time your quarterback is going to get hit. But maybe they’re successful because of the durability of Tebow, him being a bigger guy and having a running back size compared to a normal quarterback.’‘

At 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, Tebow packs a punch, and he’s faster than a fullback. He ran the ball 22 times last week in a win over San Diego, the most in a game by an NFL quarterback since 1950. Sanford said he thought he was done defending the option when he left college.

“He’s strong, really one of strongest guys I’ve ever come across, especially at quarterback,’’ [Jamarca] Sanford said. “He’s really like a tailback. When you come to tackle him, you better pack your lunch.’‘

You might consider bringing your hard hat and steel toe boots, too, son.

ESPN masters the obvious: beat Tebow by scoring on the Broncos’ defense

How to beat the Broncos
insider.espn.go.com

The Broncos are also winning with Tebow posting a Total QBR of 34.6 (31st in the league). However, it’s fair to note that while QBR does account for a quarterback’s running ability, it doesn’t account for the return of the option quarterback. The option hadn’t been seen in the NFL for decades and is even being phased out in college football. But the Broncos are running it and Tebow is making it work.

According to our video analysis team, up to this point, the Broncos’ option is working at a rate of about 55 percent, a rate far exceeding that of normal rushing plays around the league (about 44 percent), and an enormous jump on the Broncos’ running success rate when not using the option (about 36 percent). Given that Tebow has to make the quick decisions on what to do with the ball, he deserves some credit for this that QBR is currently not giving him.

You'll need an ESPN Insider subscription to access this article, but if you don't have one, let me summarize Dean Oliver's earth-shattering game plan for beating the Broncos:

  1. Score on the Broncos' amazing defense
  2. Use play-action passes
  3. If you get a lead, don't go Marty Schottenheimer
  4. Play Cover 2 with the safeties and spy Tebow
  5. Don't overload the box in running situations; the Broncos are being deceptive.

Oliver does offer another fact that doesn't constitute a strategy, but is interesting (and obvious if one has been paying attention)--namely, that the Broncos have been trying to trick opponents by showing 3-wide receiver sets when they are, in fact, going to run the football.   Of course they have, my dear Oliver.  It's simply another way of forcing the defense to use a defensive back against a 245-pound quarterback who loves to truck guys smaller than him.

Fortunately for the Broncos, Oliver's plan is not not easily executed unless you're the Green Bay Packers. Six teams have tried.  Five teams have failed. Something is working.  The last time I remember reading articles like this, it was 1998.

Why even call it Denver anymore?

NFL.com Is Still Calling The Broncos The "Denver Tebows"
deadspin.com

The “fast-charging Denver Tebows” are still “in the hunt” for a Wild Card spot, according to NFL.com. I’d prefer the Denver Not Kyle Ortons, but that’s just me.

Lombardi: Tebow is wearing opponents down in Denver

Eagles must change, beginning with Reid; Week 13 notes
www.nfl.com

One of the elements of Tim Tebow’s game that goes unnoticed is that when he plays at home in the Mile High City, the altitude affects the opponents after spending three quarters chasing Tebow around. John Elway would wear out his opponents with his ability to move around, and Tebow does the same. They have different styles but the results are the same—defenses get tired.

Mike Silver has accepted that Tim Tebow just wins

Talking Tebow, spiraling Eagles and big awards
sports.yahoo.com

If you’re wondering whether others have similarly skeptical beliefs about Tebow – yes, they do: Others being virtually every player, coach and talent evaluator I’ve spoken to over the past month-and-a-half. And you know what? None of that matters. The running game’s working, the defense is playing lights out and Tebow is winning. And opponents are starting to get affected, too, simultaneously playing scared and overextending, like a talented tennis player getting mentally undone by an opponent who’s just pushing the ball back and trying not to make mistakes. Never mind that Tebow, by all objective standards, is terrible at throwing the ball, or that his success makes no rational sense: I’m over it. I’ve accepted the fact that it just works, somehow, and it doesn’t seem like the madness will stop anytime soon.

I know what some of you are wondering, but I just can't answer that right now...

Schefter: Tebow makes history weekly

Tim Tebow is history in the making
espn.go.com

He is a phenomenon. Since taking over as the Broncos’ starting quarterback, he has given both his critics and his supporters the evidence they need. What’s undeniable is that in each game he has started and won, he has accomplished historic quarterback feats…Tebow is entertaining, captivating, polarizing. But nearly every week, he’s also history.

McClain keeps it Raider, faces charges in Alabama

Raiders' McClain arrested for firing gun, assault
www.csnbayarea.com

Lt. John Crouch of the Decatur Police Department told Comcast SportsNet that McClain has been charged and was held in custody after allegedly assaulting an individual, holding a gun to his head and firing a shot next to his ear.
“I can tell you that Rolando McClain is under arrest,” Crouch said. “He’s been charged with third degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm in city limits.”

The bond is only $2,000, which indicates that these crimes are probably not that serious, but I suspect that NFL will be suspending Mr. McClain onces it gains the facts.  The Raiders sure are penalty-prone, even when they're in Alabama on Wednesday of a game week (and what's up with that)?

Tim Tebow, NFL Magazine’s first cover guy

Tebow makes the debut cover of the NFL’s new magazine
sports.yahoo.com

There’s been talk from different corners that Tim Tebow should receive all kinds of awards as his season progresses. All-Pro, Pro Bowl … some probably want to extend the Offensive Rookie of the Year award to second-year players just so he can win it…Well, there’s one cool thing Tebow’s getting for sure, and that’s the debut cover on the NFL’s new official magazine.

Bears: If not Kyle, then Donovan?

Vikings cut Donovan McNabb, is the Windy City in his future?
sports.yahoo.com

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported McNabb asked to be released by the Vikings so he could seek out another team. His request was granted, much like the way Kyle Orton(notes) freed himself from the Denver Broncos bench last week and was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs. McNabb will now be placed on the waiver wire and any team interested in picking up his salary for the remaining five games of the NFL season can put in a claim.

PFF: Von Miller, most dominant rookie since Randy Moss

Stories of the Season: Miller Much More Than the ROY
www.profootballfocus.com

It’s time we forgot talk of best rookie and started to think in terms of Pro-Bowl, All-Pro, maybe even Defensive Player of the Year. It sounds crazy, but there may not be a better candidate than Miller right now…Focusing only on his play as a run defender and in coverage, he is still having an All-Pro caliber season…Miller is also the only linebacker in the league with more than 25 tackles that has yet to miss one…The scary part is that when most rookies are running into the metaphorical wall, Miller seems to be getting stronger. His past four games have been his strongest four, and at the moment he is proving to be an adversary that right tackles can’t contain…This might be the most dominant season from a rookie since Randy Moss defined the word ‘uncoverable’ in his first year with a chip on his shoulder in 1998.

Miller was just named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month