Tebow good when and where it matters the most
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Tim Tebow’s passes aren’t pretty, his stats aren’t spectacular, his footwork is flawed and his mechanics are a mess.
Terrible in these metrics, he’s terrific in the only measure that really counts in the NFL: he’s 4-1 since supplanting Kyle Orton as Denver’s starter.
The surging Broncos (5-5) are back to .500 as they seek to avoid their first consecutive losing seasons since 1971-72, and they’ve already won more games than they did last year when they went 4-12.
Yet, even after Tebow guided the Broncos on a game-winning 95-yard drive in the closing minutes against the New York Jets on Thursday night, his critics howled about how he can’t throw the ball like a standard NFL quarterback and he’ll never succeed long-term if he can’t improve his accuracy.
Only Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers, however, sport a better fourth-quarter passer rating than Tebow’s 107.0.
Tebow is 28 for 50 for 399 yards in the fourth quarter with five touchdowns, one interception and three comebacks in his five starts.
So, he can do more than just run the option, although he beat the New York Jets with his legs and not his arm Thursday night when he ran 20 yards for the winning TD in the final minute of Denver’s 17-13 thriller.
“Sometimes he did it to us in college and he’s doing it here,” said Broncos defensive end and Tennessee alum Robert Ayers. “It doesn’t have to be pretty; it doesn’t have to be Aaron Rodgers-like, as long as we get it done, that’s all that matters.”
“Everybody talks about what he can’t do,” cornerback Andre’ Goodman said, “no one talks about what he’s doing, which is winning games.”
While winning is the bottom line in this league, Tebow, coach John Fox and football chief John Elway all agree he has to get better.
Denver was just 1 for 11 on third downs before Tebow converted twice on the game-winning drive when the Broncos spread the Jets out with an empty backfield and multiple wide receiver sets. The drive followed a string of eight straight punts, seven of them three and outs.
“When you look at our third down numbers, those have to improve, and that’s the bottom line,” Elway said on his radio show on 102.3 The Ticket in Denver on Monday. “… We can’t go 3 of 13 and win a world championship.”
Elway, who, along with general manager Brian Xanders, has been watching some of the best college quarterbacks in person this fall, including Andrew Luck, Nick Foles, Robert Griffin and Landry Jones, sprinkled in praise for Tebow with some dollops of pragmatism.
Tebow has a 44.8 completion percentage. The silver lining is that the opponents aren’t catching his passes, either. He has just one interception to go with his seven TD throws.
Look closely, though, Fox suggested, and you’ll see improvement.
“He’s gotten better every week. I don’t know if y’all see it, but we see it, and he was better (Thursday) night than he was the week before as far as passing the football,” Fox said. “He’ll continue to do that, there’s no doubt in my mind. Just like any young player, any young quarterback, it’s going to take some time and some experiences.”
Former coach and current CBS commentator Bill Cowher suggested Sunday that maybe the Broncos should consider using backup Brady Quinn or even going back to Orton in special packages to jump-start their offense before Tebow’s fourth-quarter heroics.
“I’m sure those things will be thought about,” Elway said. “In the game planning going into the next two days, I’m sure that will be something that we’ll talk about. … We’ll continue to think outside the box. Obviously, if you do that, the defense has to think about that many more things.
“All those things are on the table. It’s a matter of if it gets in the game plan or we see it on Sunday.”
Tebow said he’s under no illusions as he works day in and day out to prove he can play at this level.
“I’ve just got to get better,” he said, “but it’s a lot more fun to do that after a win.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Normalcy will be few and far between this ski season, so Aspen’s Simi Hamilton’s traditional slow start brought a sense of calm to a world that’s mostly in chaos at the moment.