Broncos bristle, say they're tailoring offense for Tebow

The latest debate raging around Tim Tebow is whether or not the Denver Broncos are doing all they can to give their raw quarterback every chance to succeed.

Fans and broadcasters alike have disparaged Tebow's pocket of protection and criticized offensive coordinator Mike McCoy's play-calling. But a close look at the film shows the Broncos have tailored their offense to Tebow's unorthodox skill set even though the results haven't been pretty.

In his two starts, an 18-15 overtime victory over the Miami Dolphins and a 45-10 loss to the Detroit Lions, Tebow has been in the shotgun formation an average of 40 times. From there, the Broncos have rushed the ball 17 times on average, half on designed Tebow runs.

Since supplanting Kyle Orton at halftime of an Oct. 9 loss to the San Diego Chargers, Tebow has run a team-high 29 times for a team-best 189 yards.

Raiders coach Hue Jackson, whose team hosts the Broncos on Sunday, said it's clear the Broncos have made their playbook Tebow-friendly.

"I think they are trying to build an offense for him," Jackson said. "... They're trying to move him around in the pocket a little bit. And then they're using his legs in their running game so that he's the primary ball-carrier at times. So, I think they're giving him opportunities to display his abilities."

John Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowl pick and former Broncos safety-turned-broadcaster, spent much of Sunday's Fox telecast questioning the Broncos' offensive game plan. He suggested Denver's play-caller needed to call some easy throws to get Tebow into a rhythm to spark the 30th-ranked passing game.

Fox said the Broncos did throw some of the short routes that Lynch was recommending.

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"They were part of the game plan," Fox said. "We hit some and we missed some, regardless of what type of passes they were, and we tried 'em all."

But Tebow has been slow to get rid of the football, and his passes have mostly been off-target. His completion percentage is a paltry 46 percent, and he has been sacked 13 times in two games, during which the Broncos are just 6 of 30 on third-down conversions.

Tebow said his coaches are stressing quicker decisions and a quicker release, admonishing him to find a receiver faster or just throw the ball away to avoid so many sacks. And despite the struggles, McCoy said he doesn't sense any doubts creeping into Tebow's head.

"I mean, look at all the young quarterbacks in the league, how many come out right away and start lighting it up from the first game on?" McCoy said. "There aren't many in the history of this game that do that. They all struggle early on; it's an adjustment to them.

"He's a young quarterback. So, there's going to be growing pains."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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