View Full Version : Tebow's skills may keep offense running

05-02-2010, 11:22 PM
Tebow's skills may keep offense running
The rookie quarterback's proficiency at picking up rushing yards might eventually transform McDaniels' system.
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
POSTED: 05/02/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT

Tim Tebow (AP file photo)
Because everybody except Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn is doing it anyway, let's hurry up to the moment when Tim Tebow is the Broncos' starting quarterback.

Whether that moment is 2012, or next year, or Sept. 12 at Jacksonville, it isn't likely that the Broncos' offense system will operate as it does now.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has mentored three quarterbacks Tom Brady, Matt Cassel and Orton in his five seasons of coordinating his pocket-oriented, controlled-passing offensive system.

In those five seasons, totaling 80 regular-season games, Brady, Cassel and Orton combined for 630 yards rushing.

Tebow, in his final three seasons and 41 games at the University of Florida, rushed for 2,478 yards.

Wouldn't restricting Tebow's skills to the pocket be like locking the Kentucky Derby starting gate on Super Saver?

"If he can do something out of the pocket and he deserves to be on the field that's the biggest thing then maybe it would warrant us doing some other things," McDaniels said Saturday during his rookie minicamp news conference. "But he is going to get trained the exact same way the other guys are getting trained."

Which means?

"He will function from the pocket," McDaniels said. "That's where he will play."

Everybody, it seems, needs a starting point. After McDaniels finished his first season as New England's offensive coordinator in 2005, he said the Patriots heisted some of the empty-backfield, three- or four-receiver plays he saw the Florida Gators use.

This was the year before Tebow at Florida, by the way.

"They had some good concepts that really made sense," McDaniels said. "Fit in with what we did. We always try to steal good stuff every offseason, whether it be from college or the pro level. It so happened we took some of their stuff and we were running it today."

As Tebow begins his NFL career, it's not unreasonable to assume he will spend his rookie season much as he did his freshman year at Florida, when he came off the bench for specific play packages.
"Obviously, that's not my end goal as a quarterback," he told The Denver Post on Friday. "And I don't think that's their end goal for me."

The Broncos' end goal for Tebow is to one day have him match play for play with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Maybe not pass per pass, but play for play.

A typical game for the NFL's elite quarterbacks like Brady, Rivers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers might be 280 to 300 yards passing with two to three touchdown passes.

A quintessential Tebow game might be similar to what he had against Kentucky last season: 5-of-10 passing for 103 yards and a touchdown; 123 yards rushing on 16 carries and two touchdowns.

So long as Tebow's Gators won 41-7, what difference does five completions make?

"I don't think we're trying to make anybody anybody else," McDaniels said. "That's not what we're trying to do. We're trying to get good football players that can help our team. And if he rushes for two touchdowns on a Sunday at some point in his career, great. That's super. But that's like if you have a back who can catch passes out of the backfield and somebody else has a back who can't catch passes. They're not going to do the same thing, right?"

There's evidence that suggests Tebow passes better than people think. He led all NCAA quarterbacks last year with a 164.2 rating. Now for the kicker: 164.2 was the worst of his four college ratings.

Still, Tebow had only five 300-yard passing games in his four seasons at Florida, or four fewer than Houston's Matt Schaub had last season alone. In the coming years, the Broncos' offense may evolve as Tebow develops.

"Every year we've been different," McDaniels said. "That's what the offense is. It's not one thing. It's not '07 (when the Patriots set the NFL scoring record), which everybody seems to reference all the time. The offense is: Do whatever your players allow you to do. It's versatile enough that if your players are intelligent enough and your team is capable of morphing into what it needs to be to be successful that is what our offense is."

In that case, expect the Broncos to eventually morph from an offense with a quarterback who stands stationary in the pocket to a quarterback who will occasionally tuck it away and run.