|Ryan's Tebow fandom extends back to Tebow's Heisman Trophy-winning college days. (Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
The Patriots made easy work of the Jets on Sunday night, which must make an already short week seem even shorter for New York. The Jets are 5-4 and currently one game out of the wild-card race. New England's remaining seven games redefine "cake schedule," which means that the Jets have virtually no room for mistakes the rest of the way.
On Thursday, they'll face Tim Tebow and the Broncos in Denver. On paper, it's a mismatch; the Jets defense is known for blitzing quarterbacks silly, particularly ones short on experience. And cornerback Darrelle Revis has been up to the weekly task of shutting down the opponent's best receiver, though he may be hard-pressed to identify who that is in the Broncos new (old)-fangled read-option offense.
|Recapping Week 10|
Head coach Rex Ryan, who got the league's attention Monday after a video surfaced of his halftime suggestion to one Belichick-loving heckler, spoke about his admiration for Tebow's game going back to college.
“I thought he was a great competitor and he is a winner, and that’s what he’s showing right now,” Ryan said, in comments distributed by the Jets’ PR staff (via PFT). “Are there prettier passers than him? Yeah, absolutely. But again, [we] just [have to] try to find a way to beat him.”
In fact, the Broncos have given new meaning to "ground and pound."
“It was amazing, I mean, you talk about a team committed to running the football," Ryan said during an appearance on ESPN Radio New York. "They’re running all kind of different options — they’re running speed options, load options, read options. You know, Tebow had more rushing attempts than he had passing attempts, so it’s a total different challenge that’s for sure.”
Ryan won't have to look far for an answer.
Twelve years ago, Ryan wrote “Coaching Football’s 46 Defense," and it includes 20 pages on how to stop the option, now the centerpiece of the Broncos' offense. Ryan's dad, Buddy, created the 46 Defense. It came to prominence a quarter-century ago when the 1985 Bears' defense, one of the best in NFL history, featured the 46 all the way to a Super Bowl title.
Can Tim Tebow and the Broncos read-option the Jets on Thursday? Is Mark Sanchez better than Tebow? Can the Packers go 16-0? Chat live with our NFL experts now!
Tebow is one of the NFL's worst passers (it's a race to the bottom with Blaine Gabbert), but he's turned what should be a debilitating disadvantage into an asset. Against lesser teams the strategy -- run till the wheels fall off (and that's sorta what happened against the Chiefs) -- works. If Denver can have success in their one-dimensional offense against the Jets then we'll probably have to have the "The Broncos are a playoff team, right?" conversation at some point soon. Not so much because Tebow has magically transformed Denver into an offensive juggernaut, but because the AFC West is still up for grabs.
“With Tim Tebow at quarterback, it’s almost a throwback to the college game,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said after Tebow didn’t complete his first pass against the Chiefs until late in the third quarter.
Mayock's NFL Network colleague Deion Sanders added: “You can’t measure Tim Tebow by statistics because he has that ‘it’ factor. The only thing I know is that they’re starting to believe and winning games.”
It sounds corny but it's true. The Broncos are 3-1 with Tebow under center. Maybe it's coincidence or maybe it's a higher power. Either way, Denver was losing with Kyle Orton and now they're not. For the time being, it doesn't really matter why.
By the way, you can buy Ryan's book here (we're guessing John Fox is furiously flipping through it as we write this). And if you're looking for a gag gift this holiday season, might we suggest the ironic comedy stylings of Brian Billick (The only thing missing is a foreward by Kyle Boller).
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