Denver fans are probably not going to like this at all. So, before I write, please know that I am a writer at Buffalo Rumblings, and a Tim Tebow fan. I was crushed the night Denver drafted him, and Buffalo didn't. As a Florida Gators fan since my youth, Tebow was the perfect fit for working class Buffalo, and their desire to rise to power again.
If you also check out my writing circa the 2010 draft, you'll read that I am not a Tebow hater. I took a lot of shots for writing that Tebow would, in fact, be a great NFL quarterback prior to the 2010 draft. I predicted that he would be a first round pick prior to and after the disastrous Senior Bowl week. And I generally respect the Broncos franchise, as they went through years of Super Bowl loss before being vindicated, and that means something for a Buffalo fan.
That all said, here's some perspective on Tebow, what you can expect, and what Tebow needs to do to avoid Elway and Fox drafting his replacement. Prior to that, though, a bit of terminology. I'll reference this offensive schematic story I wrote a while back for Buffalo Rumblings.
The Good. Tebow did what he always does, and that is energize a team to the point that they can, and often should, win. I don't buy the "team is around Orton" story reporters have mentioned. The run game and defense don't energize like they did if they truly had their hearts behind Orton. Maybe this was so early on the in season, but not now.
Tebow has some Roethlisberger qualities to his pocket game. Receivers will come open naturally as Tebow extends plays. No defensive back not named Revis can cover a receiver for 10 seconds. The Eric Decker deep throw was an example of this.
Things that Tebow needs to work on. I've never truly been sold on the throwing motion issue as an actual issue. Rivers had a crappy throwing motion at NC State, and he cleaned it up. What Tebow doesn't do well is hit targets in the strike zone. He missed pretty bad on the throws to Rosario and Willis. The deep throw to Lloyd was underthrown, and the final drive throw to Lloyd was way off, requiring Lloyd to make a highlight reel catch. Tebow needs to work on his lower body, as inaccuracy is almost always a function of crappy footwork. Tebow didn't fully transfer his weight from his back foot to his front foot on four of his throws, leading to the bad throws.
Easy fix, but Tebow's going to need to fix it fast. Sure, Tebow lit up the SEC, and you can't discount 88 passing TD's in college. But the game is different at the pro level. Guys like Andre Ware lit up college, but weren't naturally accurate, and couldn't make it. Cam Newton is naturally accurate and is doing well. So it not a true indicator of future success. Accuracy is. What was considered covered in the SEC is considered open in the NFL. Tebow needs to work on hitting the smaller NFL strike zone.
Running works for guys like Vick. Tebow runs like a bulldozer, and again, while he piled up 57 rushing TD's in college, it's not going to work against a concerted NFL defense. Defenses are bigger, faster, and don't have a 20 hour practice week restrictions. A defense with a week to prepare isn't going to let Tebow run like he did at Florida. And in the end, he's going to get hurt. Not something that's good for a franchise QB.
Tebow needs to get really good, really fast, at Erhardt-Perkins and progress to more complex offenses. Josh McDaniel learned the offense from his time in New England. McCoy knows the offense, and that's what Fox ran in Carolina. It's all ball control, ball security, etc. But it's easy to stop in its pure form. Denver's offense was vanilla with Tebow in last year, and was vanilla today. Defenses will wise up with a game or two of tape.
To be fair, a lot of this falls on McCoy's lap. He's the one that has to integrate vertical and horizontal timing plays into the offense. But, if I were the offensive coordinator, I'd be skittish to call any timing play until Tebow stopped short-arming the football.
Outlook. I love Tebow and think he's destined to be a star. I don't care about the throwing motion. I once watched Doug Flutie hurt his elbow and throw nearly underhanded for a whole half. He does need to clean up his footwork, though, and transfer weight. If you can DVR the game, check it out if you have the time. I'm willing to bet that Tebow's accuracy improves if his footwork does. Here's some work I did the 2010 draft year that talked about Tebow's footwork for Buffalo Rumblings and Mocking the Draft.
I'd also watch closely for when Tebow is releasing the football. If it's after the receiver has made his break, the play design is almost certainly Erhardt-Perkins. If he's releasing before the receiver breaks, it's a timing route and either a West Coast concept or vertical concept. The latter of the two scenario's represents real progress for Tebow, despite how many times he runs from the shotgun spread formation.