First off let me say that the Buffalo game was an excellent experience. I know the Broncos were lit up but watching a game live is better than the television. Lets just say its an entirely different experience. Ralph Wilson Stadium and its fans are beyond words. It had a feel of college and with blue collar fans that resemble nothing of the Jets/Giants that I'm used to, I was in great company.
The game was blacked out due to 24k fans no longer looking to support their team since they're out of the playoffs. I understand. Drove 7 hours and was pleasantly surprised to have a nice, warm temperature of 28 degrees and no it was not that cold. My Elway vintage 7 and a sweat shirt and I was good. Best part? Guinness for $8.50 compared to that crap Bud at $8.75.
I shared some ribbing with some of the locals and had some great seats (thanks to my girlfriend who came up with the best Xmas gift ever). I have never seen Denver win a game that I have attended and my record stands now at 0-11 so its clearly on me.
Things I did notice during the game. We are not a very tough football team. Say what you will about those Bills but I saw first hand the power and finesse of those OL on the Bills side. I know Miller has an injured thumb that had surgery just three weeks ago so I'm not going touch on subjects such as toughness but Ayers, Bunkley, and Mays were often on the sidelines. Whether its fatigue or scheme its clear we need some talent that can stay on the field regardless of distance and down.
Favorite match up was Miller vs Pears. A 7th year player in the NFL I don't see how he could have been passed up for the likes of Foster or even Franklin but those are the breaks when you're breaking in different coaches. Good to see that Denver knows a thing or two about drafting OL. Whether we stick with them is another issue.
Points I'd like to make shall be made following the jump.
Tim Tebow showed me a few things following the Minnesota game. Unfortunately, he's hit his ceiling and I'll explain why. Lets look at Decker and his many drops. Tim struggles with his five foot box in the pocket. What I mean by five foot is that anywhere in his 360 degrees he doesn't have the experience or feel to slide within the pocket when faced with pressure. His footwork must improve over the course of the offseason for him to have a real future in the NFL.
He's putting an emphasis on completing passes whereas a month ago he'd run after his first read. This is an improvement and disproves any conspiracy theory that management wants Tim to fail. He's responding to the coaching and as a fan of both football and my Broncos, this makes me happy.
His reads are predicated to hot/first reads. An example is the interception thrown while targeting Royal. It was by far the best throw I had seen all day and though it was picked he made the decision and stuck with it. I see that as an improvement as well. Whether he develops in reading defenses and adjusting is a matter time and patiences from management.
There was a drop Decker had, where I could clearly see 20 yards in front of me, where Decker was open for about 4 seconds across the middle. The throw was late. What really stood out however was not the drop or how inaccurate or late the pass was but how Tim cannot seem to locate a WR dead center of the field. He seems to be a QB capable of only hitting seams and outside the hash marks/sidelines. This is what is limiting the play calling in my opinion and what some talking heads in the media proclaimed how Tebow's style doesn't help anyone improve on their craft. I'm hoping the offseason can remedy that situation.
Play calling. The second quarter I believe is where Denver lost the game. Forget for a minute the defensive ranking of the Bills. Tebow is a QB who's limited. Forget the comeback wins or his record this season. They no longer matter because as fans we expect him to win now. No matter how ugly he performs and we have the Miami game to thank him for that. Tim has been given plays where he could be successful but he's learning to read up to three reads but that is still inconsistent and I'm ok with that. Six straight run plays are not ideal and does not bode well for a defense that has to turn around and stop a team from scoring. Those two missed FGs were clearly due to the sun by the way : )
Now I'm trying to write this piece because for the 7 hours on the driven back I thought of many ideas to share but I don't want to come off as an advocate of why Tebow can't play the position. I'm not sold on him but I believe he's earned 2012. What I'd like to see is more of him improving his game from a mental stand point. I don't care about books, late night talk shows or documentaries. I see that as a ploy to strike on why he's relevant now and what he's accomplished in college which is great for him, his family and the University of Florida. As a Bronco fan I cannot afford another year filled with speeches filled with faith induced hope or skill sets not developing because of whatever the trending rip happens to be.
Denver had some Plummer and pulled the plug prematurely for Cutler. I was very excited for number six but that McDaniels guy sure seems to a mistake wherever he goes. Orton has a chance to knock out the Broncos this weekend and that would speak volumes in terms of our inability to close out Decembers. That to me speaks louder than any coach speak, Tebow faith induced hope or classic pros such as Bailey. This culture of mediocrity has to change and believe it will. Regardless if we make the playoffs or not. Remember this is not a finished product nor next year will be but for the first time in a long time I'm excited with the direction we're going and for the first time I'm ok with that.