Broncos turn to read-option to highlight Tebow's strengths

The Denver Broncos used an unorthodox approach to better serve their unconventional quarterback, Tim Tebow, during Sunday's 38-24 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

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The Broncos turned to the same system that Tebow operated so successfully at the University of Florida: the read-option offense. Tebow looked like he was running the Gators' offense once again, and the results were similar, too. The Broncos recorded their second win in Tebow's three starts despite another up-and-down passing performance by the quarterback.

Tebow threw two touchdown passes and ran for 117 yards, Willis McGahee added 163 rushing yards and two more scores in a win that shook up the middling AFC West, where Denver -- yes, Denver -- is only one game out of first place behind a pileup of three 4-4 teams.

"As I've said all along, we're trying to put guys in positions where they can succeed. In his particular case, it's something he's more comfortable with, he has a lot of background in it, he's got a lot of confidence in it," Broncos coach John Fox said Monday about Tebow. "We're asking a lot, not just of Tim, but our entire offense, the coaching staff, everybody involved. We've kind of grown it as we've grown with Tim."

Denver's 298 yards on the ground were the fourth-highest total in team history and the most since 2000. Tebow became the 16th NFL quarterback since 1950 to rush for 100 yards, and McGahee recorded his second-highest rushing total of his nine-year NFL career.

The biggest question is whether or not the spread-option is a sustainable option to win in the NFL.

"I've spent a lot of time in the NFC South, and we competed against the Atlanta Falcons when they had Michael Vick," Fox said. "Call it what you like, it was that quarterback having the ability to run that creates havoc on defenses because they don't count that guy as a runner.

"Whether it's taking off or not, they led the league in rushing for about four straight years, and Michael had a lot to do with that. He's grown as a passer. He's in the West Coast Offense now, but he's made some things happen in the Philadelphia Eagle offense, and that's just the nature of his abilities. It's kind of been done, but maybe not to the exact level where we're kind of at right now."

Tebow has yet to complete more than half his passes in a game, but his performance against the Raiders -- he threw touchdown passes of 27 yards to Eric Decker and 26 yards to Eddie Royal -- was good enough for Fox to call it "better."

While the Broncos figure out the best way to play to Tebow's strengths and put him in a position to succeed as they try to figure out if he's their quarterback of the future, the read-option figures to stay.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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