Blog Entry

Tebow's read-option draws comparisons to wildcat

Posted on: November 26, 2011 10:25 pm
Is Tebow bringing the option back to NFL offenses or is he a gimmick? (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

As if Norv Turner, Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers didn't have enough to worry about -- what with being 4-6, tied for last in the AFC West, and playing some incredibly awful football -- now there's this: local scribe Nick Canepa isn't yet a believer in Tim Tebow, who comes to San Diego Sunday in a pretty important division matchup.

Most of the skeptics and critics have abandoned their anti-Tebow talking points because, well, Tebow does find a way to win games. No, it's not entirely his doing, and yes, he has looked absolutely dreadful for long stretches. But he's also 4-1 after Kyle Orton "led" the Broncos to a 1-4 start. Tebow, despite virtually no support from his coaches or the front office early in the season is now the team's unquestioned starter (though that could change, apparently). Orton, meanwhile, is the newest member of the Chiefs.

But Canepa isn't yet sold on Tebow's ability to will his team to victories. The details:
"So, what has Tebow done to deserve all this, one way or the other? Absolutely nothing. In his own unorthodox way, he has won three straight games for the Broncos, who meet the Chargers here Sunday. Off the field, he hasn’t been arrested, busted for dope or tweeted nasty things to his opposition. …

In the case of Tim, people are thinking with their glands. Tebowmania is not going to last. A quarterback who can run but can’t throw the ball across a pantry isn’t going to continue winning in the NFL.

They’re going to figure him out. They always do. Remember the wildcat? It lasted about as long as the poodle skirt. Sooner or later, they’re going to get to him. Steve Young at least was a threat with his arm, as are Michael Vick and Cam Newton. A fearless quarterback (which Tebow is) who runs the option in the NFL is fair game. I can’t see him having a long shelf life.
Comparing the read-option to the wildcat has been a popular meme in recent weeks and there's something to it. The Dolphins began the 2008 season 0-2, busted out the wildcat in Week 3 against the Patriots, and blew them out of the water, 38-13. Miami finished the regular season 11-5 and made the playoffs. The following year, after teams around the league had an offseason to figure out the wildcat, it was obsolete.

The Dolphins, who overestimated its shelf life, used a 2009 second-round pick on QB/wildcat specialist Pat White, who ended up retiring from football a year later. Miami went 7-9 in 2009 and 2010, and are currently 3-8.

Based on Broncos executive John Elway's recent comments, not only is the read-option a short-term solution to a problem he inherited from the unspectacular Josh McDaniels era, it's one that probably won't last behind this season. Which means that the rest of the NFL has six weeks or so to figure out a way to slow it down.

The Jets did it for 55 minutes, but Tebow was able to drive 95 yards for the decisive score. The bigger story from that game: New York's inept offense, which included a national coming out part for Broncos rookie linebacker Von Miller, and more questions about Mark Sanchez's abilities as an NFL quarterback.

So, no, Tebow isn't the long-term answer in Denver. But he's not supposed to be. The thing is, nobody thought he was the short-term answer, either. As it stands, he's winning 80 percent of his starts. And if the Chargers play Sunday like they have in the previous five games, Tebow's winning percentage will rise to 83.

After a win over the Jets last week, the Denver Broncos hope to keep their streak alive as they take on the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.'s Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz preview this game. Watch the game at 4:15 PM ET on CBS.

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Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:31 pm

The Future of the Read-Option

Gotta love drama like this that blinds us to bigger issues in life (read: Eurozone meltdown).

My take on Tim Tebow is that any system can work if you have the personnel to execute it. Given that John Fox is a run first play caller, he'll draft along those lines and build a strong running team. Tebow looks like a super strong back (Quarter/Runner) who seems fast enough to at least to be able to keep the chains moving.

Now the biggest flaw I see in their system will be to draft a good pair of quality RBs every so often because tis system will wear them down to retirement in several years. Tebow by his sheer will/beliefs-as-mental-edge and physical prowess may last for about seven years.

Regardless, it's a great story. Tebow is as good an player at QB than 2/3 of the NFL QBs currently playing today. I think the other Broncos are playing harder around him and not caught flat like teams in Indy, Houston, KC, Chicago, and even Minn who sees a huge dropoff when their number one QB goes down or doesn't produce. He might continue to surprise us. 

Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:11 pm

Tebow's read-option draws comparisons to wildcat

Tebow can read?  So they didn't need to refashion his wonderlic test with pictures?

Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:45 am

Tebow's read-option draws comparisons to wildcat

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Since: Jun 29, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:11 am

Tebow's read-option draws comparisons to wildcat

This article/post is quite incorrect in saying that Tebow's critics have quieted down - they are as loud as ever.  And for those who say the defense is getting so little credit, I ask them how they are so ill informed or have read so little.  I have read MANY articles and there are probably THOUSANDS of posts expounding on how the defense deserves the ENTIRE credit.  If you try to make any argument that Tim Tebow has any chance of making it in the NFL you get pounded to the turf.  If you point out that many NFL QB stars took 2-3 years to adjust and get better at passing efficiency you are ridiculed.  I DON'T KNOW if Tim Tebow will be successful long term, but neither do those who predict his failure KNOW they are right.  I saw MANY predict he would never start or win an NFL game, but I have not seen ONE post from someone who said "Oops I was wrong he did start and win an NFL game".  I have noticed the predictions have changed from "he will be out of the league in 1-2 years" to "he will be out of the league in 2-3 years."  The thing is, if he is starting and winning 50% of his games 2 years from now, NO ONE will be coming on to post how they were wrong.  They will just continue to say he is about to start failing.  If he somehow wins a SuperBowl, which I find unlikely, the defense, the running game, the special teams will still be given all of the credit by many.  There are millions out there who will NEVER give Tebow credit no matter what he does, they will always chalk it up to pure luck.  You can never get a person to change their mind once they have it made up.  I also find some of his supporters ill-informed and using false logic as well, but I would say his detractors are far more out of line in using perverse logic to say he MUST fail.

Since: Mar 6, 2009
Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:07 am

Tebow's read-option draws comparisons to wildcat

He is a winner, but not a good QB. He might be the worst passer to play football. He is a great stopgap for Denver and allows Denver the chance to beat bad teams. A good role model and I support his effort and leadership, but a QB that can't pass is really just a RB. I agree with most on this board the D is the real reason the Broncos are winning.

Since: Dec 3, 2007
Posted on: November 27, 2011 9:02 am

Tebow's read-option draws comparisons to wildcat

However it is working, who cares?  Keep it going, Tim!

Since: Jul 10, 2008
Posted on: November 27, 2011 8:59 am

Tebow's read-option draws comparisons to wildcat

Denver defense is fantastic.  In regards to a comment made Von Miller is spectacular in his ability.  This defense however cannot keep teams that can actually get up and down the field from scoring and keeping the game close enough to allow Timmy a chance in the end.  What the read option does for Timmy is it removes him from the burden of actually reading a defense but rather puts his focus on what is happening around the line.  He is asked to actually make an NFL throw 3 or 4 times a game with very little success.   It doesn’t matter because Timmy fanatics cannot see this and truly believe he can perform as a QB successfully in the NFL.  Eventuality is he will be out of the league in 3 years or be playing tight end somewhere.  

Since: Aug 24, 2007
Posted on: November 27, 2011 8:04 am

Tebow's read-option draws comparisons to wildcat

If anyone had a clue about this team, they would realize that Von Miller is the superstar on this team, not St. Timmy.  I'm not a Bronco fan, but I do live in Denver, and it shocks me how many people are giving the defense so little credit.  The only way the Broncos are winning these games is the fact that the defense is giving them a chance for Tebow to make amends for a putrid 55 minutes and come up with the win at the end.  How many points are the Broncos giving up?  Reminds me of Trent Dilfer.  Only Trent could throw for more than 60 yards.  Eventually people wil understand this, but most Bronco fans(NFL fans, really) couldn't tell you what a read-option offense is and how it works and only know if their team wins or loses.  This is why the "experts" continually downplay Tebow's role in all of this.  They are winning, yes.  Is it sustainable?  Almost certainly not.  The question is: Do you draft a QB next year, and when/if you do, are you prepared for the PR nightmare that follows.  Enjoy this why it lasts.  The next 9 months are going to be a soap opera of epic proportions.  Got my popcorn ready.

Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 6:21 am
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Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: November 27, 2011 4:22 am

Tebow's read-option draws comparisons to wildcat

Tebow is who and what he is. I'm neither a lover or hater of him. Give him credit for this though. He does the best he can with what he's got. There's a longer list of college quarterbacks who arrived in the NFL with outrageous pedigrees who've accomplished less than what Tebow's done already.
Running backs have a shorter shelf life than drop back quarterbacks so his long term odds of success are slim. I wonder if it would have been better for him to be allowed to throw with his natural style. It's not like Bernie Kosar had picture perfect form but he had a decent career for himself.

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