What to do with Tim Tebow
The man is a menace or a beast, depending on which sideline you happen to be on.
Denver quarterback Tim Tebow continues to defy the odds and somehow will the Broncos to win after win. Their latest victim: The Chicago Bears.
Down 10-7 with under 2 minutes to play, the Bears – who only needed to run the clock out – gave the ball back to Denver with with time on the clock. And it’s beginning to become obvious that giving the ball back to Tebow with any time left is a very, very bad decision.
Tebow got his troops within field goal range and kicker Matt Prater tied the game to send it into overtime. And in the extra stanza, as though destined by some higher power, the Broncos gained possession and Prater nailed a 51-yard kick to win the day.
But this isn’t a game story.
This is about how Tebow and Denver are rewriting what it means to be a quarter back in the National Football League.
It’s about how one man can make a difference.
By any standard for QBs set in the NFL, Tebow just doesn’t measure up. He doesn’t hit a very high percentage of his passes over the course of a game, yet he is an above average runner. And for whatever reason, he seems to flourish in the hurry-up offense.
But sports pundits on every channel, especially the ones who are former players, have held steadfastly to the “fact” that you can’t play that kind of offense for an entire game.
Or can you?
I’d like to take a hypothetical look at just what playing the hurry-up for an entire game might look like. So indulge me for a few minutes as I pontificate…
The format is actually pretty simple and there is already a model in existence today – hockey.
To properly use Tebow for a full game in the hurry-up, you’d have to redesign your team to have two if not three sets of offensive linemen that could be run in and out of the game like a line change in hockey. This would also be the same for the receivers, backs and tight ends. The only consistent would Tebow.
Offensive lineman in this format would have to be a different beast than they are now. They would have be leaner, in far better condition than those that exist now. And their skill level would have to be far higher, as they would not be able to rely on their sheer bulk to keep defenders at bay. They would have to be masters in the mechanics of blocking.
On a give play, maybe two or three lineman would enter the game, sprinting onto the field while their counterparts sprint off. Maybe a receiver and a back would enter the game in the same fashion, heading straight to their positions rather than into a huddle. Tebow makes sure the players leaving have cleared the field, reads the defense as he comes to the line and does what he does best.
Opposing teams would be left to try and match the pace, even though they know at least a full week in advance it’s coming. Unless they bought into a similar system as heavily as the Broncos would have, they would be left with a roster ill-equipped to deal with the constant pressure on their defense. And each of Denver’s 16 opponents would have to try and manufacture a special set of schemes and procedures for one week. A tough task in any sport and at any level.
Could it work? Absolutely.
Would a team like Denver make a commitment to do it? Likely not.
The problem is that, at least as of now, Tebow is a one-of-a-kind player. That makes finding at least one back up almost impossible, much less two. And with the frenetic pace that this offense would be operating at, it is very likely that sooner or later, Tebow would get hurt.
In the end, like him or hate him, Tim Tebow is compelling sports television. He keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire game and delivers some weird, whacky ending every time. Or at least he has so far.
My biggest gripe with what I see coming from the various ‘experts that many of the sports channels possess, is that they cannot even begin to conceive of a way to use Tebow effectively in the NFL. It supports my belief in why these guys are talking heads instead of coaches in the NFL. They simply don’t have the capacity to see anything but what they already know.
Is Tim Tebow the QB of the future? That remains to be seen.
But like it or not, he is a force to be dealt with now.