If there was one player on the Denver Broncos who embodies everything Tim Tebow referred to when he talked about how it doesn't matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up, that would be none other than Andre Goodman.
The much maligned cornerback gets to enjoy playing opposite Champ Bailey, not exactly an enviable task. I've often bemoaned his play over the past two seasons. However, in one momentum shifting play his slate is once again clean. It is clean because of how he followed up that interception return. He played hard nosed football. The kind of football he played in 2009. It's amazing how a player can transform before your eyes when confidence is finally restored.
In a way, the Denver Broncos are Andre Goodman. It's amazing how much of a difference having confidence in yourself, your teammates, and your coaching staff can do for a person and a football team. Both the man and the team is now working from a clean slate.
The next hurdle is to look at this team in a different light. This isn't your 2009 Denver Broncos. That paper tiger folded at the first sign of adversity. This team and this defense had to learn how to succeed in the face of adversity. There is little about Thursday's game that worry me on that side of the ball. Having Andre Goodman playing with confidence again could take this defense to the next level.
For those of you who have been around MHR for a while might know I have a proclivity for the defensive side of the ball. For whatever reason, I feel I have a better understanding of those kinds of concepts than I do with offensive schemes and such (perhaps due to MHR University posts from back in the day). I've written about the Broncos not having a defensive identity during the offseason several times over the years, but I think its safe to say we are witnessing a new identity beginning to take shape. What it ends up being is unclear, but it is something to be excited about.
I have other things I want to discuss about the New York Jets game, but I wrote a post almost a month ago about the defense trending upwards. If you check that link, you'll see where I left off. The chart below shows where the Broncos defense was statistically after the Miami Dolphins game and where they are today. Remember this includes the Detroit Lions debacle.
|Defensive Trends - 2011 Season|
|--||Points||Total Yards||Pass Yards||Rush Yards||Turnovers||Sacks||3rd Down %||Red Zone %|
The trends continue...
Would I not be remiss to bring up Tim Tebow? I mean for crying out loud. W. T. F. That's really all I have to say, but I'll keep going.
I was honored to appear again on The Johnny Ballgame Show today to talk Broncos, which for a regular guy like myself is pretty cool. In case any of you reside in Eastern Oregon somewhere, this guy is a closet Broncos fan if there ever was one. Anyway, the interview was almost entire about Tim Tebow...obviously.
There were two key points I tried hard to make that I hope to share with all of you here. The first was in response to what I thought John Elway was going to do now. Here's the thing, a month ago Tim Tebow's future was completely in doubt. It was obvious to anyone that John Elway and the front office was not the least bit sold on Tebow after seeing the other debacle of this season, which was Tebow in training camp. People love to hate on Elway for that, but look at it from his perspective - I sure couldn't blame him. Heck, Tebow's performance this summer caused me to jump back on the "Start Orton" bandwagon.
The things we don't see is how well Tebow is progressing in practice. I think over the past month John Elway has slowly become a fan of Tim Tebow. He alluded as much in his PRE-game interview on Thursday. Tim Tebow's future has always been in Tim Tebow's hands and last night I believe he showed John Elway enough to earn the long road to greatness.
The long road to greatness is sucking it up as a franchise and working on doing for Tim Tebow what none of his previous coaches really tried to do in high school and college. Turn that football phenom into a bona fide quarterback. Thanks to the lockout and an unbelieving front office, that means starting five weeks ago and for the next two full offseason's. That is what it will take to make Tebow more than just a novelty. Albeit one that wins.
In my opinion, Tim Tebow has played his way into forcing Elway's hand in this. It's not that Elway was against Tebow from the start or any of that crap, this is Elway needing to be shown that Tebow can succeed in the NFL. Tim Tebow pulled a 4th quarter comeback on John Elway, because I can promise you there is no way Elway believed Tebow would play this well when it mattered the most - with the game on the line. Tebow's play has sealed the deal.
The other point I felt the need to make was in response to the typical "can the Broncos sustain this" question. You all know the type of question I'm talking about. My response was that people assume or give their opinion on Tebow as if he has already reached his full potential. The dude has barely scratched the surface of his potential. I think John Elway and the Broncos are beginning to understand this reality and the proof will be seen come the 2012 offseason. The question for Broncos fans today isn't if Tebow will be a Bronco in 2012 and beyond, but how the Broncos will proceed with Tebow in 2012 and beyond.
All I know for sure is this. The only other player I felt could break the will of the other team in the final minutes of a game to win it was John Elway. It's been 14 years since I've felt that way. Sure Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler and even Kyle Orton have given us exhilarating victories, but there is a difference and it is distinct. I wrote a post about this and is schedule to post later this afternoon, so stay tuned!
The Main Stream Media (MSM) miss the mark again with the Broncos, but we've come to expect that level of arrogance. When teams use that cliche, "Us against the world", well for once a team can finally use that as a truthful rally cry.
Only the truly delusion will think Tim Tebow will somehow lead the Broncos to six straight wins to finish out the season, so I urge fortitude when this team does falter because every venomous pundit is bidding their time for when they can once again discredit everything this football team is about.
I'd like to end with a plea to Broncos fans caught up in the politics/religion of Tebow. Forget all that. Look at how this team plays for Tebow. He has helped make our team relevant again and he represents our organization with class. If Steeler fans can look past Big Ben's raping of drunken women, surely you can look past Tebow's beliefs. We're all here to watch Broncos football. Man that's all its about!
Winning Isn't Everything. It's the only thing.