Politicians get so firmly entrenched in their ideals that they see no common ground or common sense . Everything is absolute in that world. Say some Senator somewhere believes in lower taxes. He belongs to the party that believes in lower taxes. It's an entrenched belief. No new taxes. Ever. Sounds stupid if you ask me. But the other side sounds just as stupid. Show this Senator a proposed budget that's balanced and pays everything off, and he's still going to vote no if you did it by raising taxes. Show his opposition a balanced budget, and they're voting no to it if there isn't raised taxes.
There's right and there's wrong. There's good ideas and bad ideas. And then there's protecting your ideals and protecting your boy... often at any cost. I'm not sure if that political tax analogy worked out very well, but the point is that sometimes you've got to bend a little bit and think in terms of non-absolutes, but that it's simply not done in politics and in all things Tebow. Folks get so caught up in their own core beliefs that they immediately tune out to any idea that even hints at going a little bit the other way. You say taxes, Senator says lower. Wait, what was the question? You say Tebow, and Tebow fan says franchise guy - forever and always. Wait, what was the question?
I'm a Tebow fan and supporter, but I'm not in the Tebow Business, I'm in the Bronco business. Good ideas aren't exclusive to Republicans, nor Democrats. And good ideas aren't exclusive to Tebowites, nor Tebow haters. I try to think outside of absolutes. I give unconditional support to nobody on the team; I give it to the team. My thoughts revolve around the goal of winning, not how that win is going to be perceived. I think in terms of solving problems, not how controversial that solution might be.
And folks, we have a problem. It's the third rail - an issue that's so charged and so controversial that by even touching it you're going to get lit up.
Let's begin anew by first acknowledging that we have a problem. Here, say it with me: "Hello, my name is______________, and I hereby accept and acknowledge that the Broncos offense has not scored many points this year, and that it's gotten considerably worse over the past three weeks. I further acknowledge that the Denver offense will very likely need to score considerably more points than it has been recently in order to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs this weekend."
OK, take a breath. That was a good first step. But remember to keep breathing because I'm going to put my hand on the third rail right directly.
Some of you are going to point to the receivers not catching balls as the problem with the offense. I'm not going to get too in-depth there. Instead let me just try to re-focus you to problems we can potentially fix, or at least attempt to fix. We didn't sign any new receivers yesterday gents. Reinforcements aren't coming. If you think the receivers are the weakest link, you need to dust it off and move on. There is no fix coming in at the WR position by Sunday. There is no problem if there is no solution.
Others will point to Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy and his play calling as being the problem in our passing game. Maybe, but that's for another discussion. What we need to realize here is that the play calling hasn't changed since Detroit, and it isn't likely to change now. So stay focused. Focus on the weak link that can be fixed. Do you think Mike McCoy is going to open up the playbook all the sudden? Call more passes? Change his philosophy on what type of passes he's willing to call? Think he'll be replaced by Sunday? Is John Fox or Adam Gase going to take over the play calling duties? By Sunday? I would say no. No to all of the above.
So realize for a moment that you can still hold to the idea that Mike McCoy is a horrible OC and a horrible play caller while still understanding that it's not currently relevant if we don't have a current and immediate solution for the problem. Same with the receivers. We play the Steelers this Sunday, not opening day.
Gentlemen, the weakest link on the team is currently Tim Tebow. Zap! There, I said it. Don't taze me, bro!
Since Detroit, Tim has averaged ten completions per game and has had more than 13 completions just once during that nine-game span. But it's worse than that. The recent trend we're seeing is even more disheartening and alarming.
Going back to that six game win streak, for example, a lot of things had to go right outside of Tebow in order for us to remain in the tight games long enough for Tebow Time to happen. "All he does is win", and that's all we saw. But we were scoring as much on defense and special teams as we were on offense during that span (pretty close anyway). For us to win those games, we needed to play flawless, mistake free football on our side while getting pick-sixes from their side. We needed them to miss field goals, play without their Super Star running backs (DMF, Jamaal Charles, LT, AP, Forte), and needed to go against teams that had quarterback problems (Carson Palmer's first game off the couch, the rookie Ponder, Cutler out and being replaced by that hack Caleb Hanie, a shaky Phillip Phillip Rivers, Matt "the waterboy" Cassel, and don't forget about Marky Mark Sanchez Sanchizing his team against us). Heck, we even needed an opposing running back to inexplicably stop the clock for us and later hand us a fumble in overtime.
We needed a lot to go right in those games, and it did. Combined, it allowed us to win in Tebow Time - when opponents went to prevent defenses. That whole trend, however, was unsustainable, and it's since reversed. It's not just that we're not getting lucky anymore. It's more than that. It's that teams have adapted to us. And they've adapted to Tebow Time.
Four weeks ago, Chicago's Brian Urlacher showed that a disciplined "spy" can keep Tebow's running in check. Sure, Tebow torched the worst secondary in the league for almost 200 yards the following week, but then the Buffalo Bills picked him off three times the next week, taking one of them to the house, and also took one of his fumbles for another six points. That brings us up to last week where Tebow tried 22 passes, completed just 6 for 60 yards, lost a fumble in the redzone and threw a pick - ultimately losing 7-3 with our loan field goal coming off a drive that spanned a total of about five or ten yards. Pretty shaky stuff. Any other quarterback not named Brady or Rodgers would have been benched.
Half of the games during that six game win streak were won without completing double digit passes. The team passed for around 200 yards against two of the league's absolutely worst secondaries and had virtually no passing game at all in the first three quarters of all the other games during that span. Tebow's passing success (if you want to call it that) has come from cornerbacks dropping their receiver to help against Tebow when he scrambles, and then from prevent defenses that allow uncontested throws late in the game.
On top of needing so many things to go right for us to make up for horrible passing early in games, we're now much less likely to pull out one and two scores against a prevent defense late in games. The Kansas City Chiefs insisted on their edge defenders sealing the edges with discipline to cut off Tebow's escape route and mandated that their corners play their receivers (and not the quarterback) until the whistle blows. It was simple and effective, and it prevented Tebow from making the uncontested throws during a scramble that he had become accustomed to making. What's worse, is that the Chiefs also figured out that by not going into a prevent defense late in the game, Tebow wasn't able to continually make the uncontested throws that had previously allowed him to drive down and score and win.
The current trend is not good and it's not comforting. Our offense has never been good at scoring, but until recently we were able to pull out the wins in Tebow Time. The rest of the league was catching on slowly throughout the year, but I fear Kansas City just wrote the guide on how to finally stop Tebow for 60 minutes instead of 56 minutes.
Look, our team is pretty good in every phase, and in every sub-phase, of this game of football... except for passing. Do we really want to ignore the problem just because it's tabu? Just because it's Tebow we're talking about? Anything can happen on any given Sunday, but it's more likely than not that Tim Tebow will again be the weak link - this time it'll be in the playoffs. This time it'll end our season. For an otherwise very solid team, are we really supposed to sit on our hands on and pretend there's no problem? I say no.
The Steelers are preparing for Tim Tebow, and Tebow demands special attention and a very specific game plan. If you throw Brady Quinn at them it'll confuse them and give us the element of surprise. The Broncos could add gimmickie packages with both Quinn and Tebow on the field at the same time. If the Steelers go into "Tebow coverage", hike it to Quinn. Tebow can pick up the blitzer like a fullback. Quinn would have single coverage and would likely be very effective. Yes, Brady Quinn would be effective throwing into the type of coverage teams give against Tebow. And if the Steelers instead show that they respect the pass, then you hike it to Tebow and let him option-off. Head, body, head. Just keep hitting 'em where they ain't. By the time they figure it out, we'll have likely scored a couple times.
What's to lose? So long as Tebow is still playing in the game, you're not going to lose fan support. So long as you win, there will be no uprising. So what should we do instead, play afraid? Do we need to fear hurting Tebow's feelings? Communication can resolve that. Tell him you don't want to put him in position to fail. Tell him that Brady Quinn won't be here next year, that he isn't taking Tim's job and that we're making this move because the offense currently sucks at scoring points - that we want to catch Pittsburgh off guard. He'll understand. And he'll sell it to his teammates for us.
If Brady Quinn doesn't start this game, I fear he will finish it - that Tebow will be benched. And that, my friends, will be more detrimental to Tebow's future than having them both play.
So I say instead, think outside the box. Throw the kitchen sink at the Steelers. Gimmicks and trickery are proven to work in the short term. And we have Tebow. He's got an X Factor and a will to win. He just isn't ready to win from the pocket. Brady Quinn might be, so I say try it.
Tim will have his day, but in my opinion, it shouldn't be Sunday... both for his well being, as well as for that of the team's. We can be Tebow supporters and still realize that we need improved play from the quarterback position immediately, and that it's unlikely to come from Timmy by Sunday. So do whatever it takes. Just win baby, win!