Winning is the only reason Broncos need to believe in Tebow

Denver Broncos wide receiver Eddie Royal, fresh off Thursday's 17-13 victory over the New York Jets, looked at me in all seriousness and said, "I don't know what it is about that guy, but he makes it happen. I love that guy."

That guy, of course, is quarterback Tim Tebow, but let's dissect that first sentence to really show Tebow's impact.

First off, Royal is a wide receiver. If there is any position player that could be frustrated with Tebow and the run-first, run-second and run-third style of offense employed by the Broncos to help the flawed-throwing Tebow, that would be it. Then again, Royal led Denver with three catches for a beefy 15 yards against the Jets, so many he was grateful.

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In saying that he doesn't know what it is about Tebow, that's the common refrain throughout the locker room, too. Nobody can pinpoint anything specific other than he's getting it done -- and they're all in.

"I love Tim Tebow," said rookie linebacker Von Miller, whose emphatically making his case for defensive rookie of the year. "You'll never get a bad comment out of me -- ever. No matter how many interceptions he throws, no matter how many touchdowns he scores, he's the man. He's a great quarterback. The definition of a quarterback doesn't mean you have to throw for 400 yards a game.

"Just manage the game. Tim Tebow manages the game well and puts us in great situations to win."

Against the Jets, that situation was being 95 yards away from the end zone with 5:54 remaining. It was then that his teammates knew.

"We actually said the possession before that 'This is the one. Let's go do this'," guard Zane Beadles said. "Thankfully we got the ball back with a decent amount of time on the clock. The good thing was you looked around the huddle, and there was no doubt in anyone's eyes. As bad as things were to that point, you looked at guys next to you, and all you saw was belief.

"He was good in the huddle, basically making guys believe and people believing in him."

Added Royal: "Nobody doubted."

It's easy to say because things worked out and Tebow capped the drive with a dazzling 20-yard touchdown run. Players and coaches always publicly support and speak well of teammates.

However, how teammates feel about Tebow is more apparent in their actions. Players across the board, even wide receivers, have stepped up their level of play during the Broncos' 4-1 run with Tebow as the starter that's left them in solid playoff contention with a 5-5 record overall.

As Beadles said, Denver was lucky to get the ball back after going three and out and punting with just more than seven minutes left in the game. The Broncos stopped New York on three plays -- they were aided by a Jets' penalty -- forcing the punt that led to the final drive.

The offensive line then responded by moving the Jets' defensive front like it hadn't all game. It wasn't the first game the O-line responded like this when it mattered.

Don't we always say the great ones are the ones who elevate everyone's play?

Tebow is not great. He wins, though. No matter how cliché, it's true.

Few players have forced their coaching staffs and teammates to radically change their overall philosophy and scheme to make things work in order to mask the flaws in one person's game -- especially in the middle of the season. Few teams have been as patient with a player who looks so out of sorts so often.

So Tebow isn't great. However, for everything his teammates have done in stepping up, and his coaches have done in tweaking the system, he's paid off when it matters late in games.

Tebow also acknowledges his teammates whenever he can. That's a wise move. When one player starts getting all the credit when so many others play a role in things working, egos and envy can become destructive. The Broncos don't seem anywhere near venturing into that territory, but these are pro athletes. It happens.

As long as the wins keep coming, though, especially with all the negativity that surrounded the team early in the season, Tebow's teammates are fully invested.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89

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