Tag:Mike McCoy
Posted on: December 28, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Film Room: Broncos vs. Chiefs preview


Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit


Reputations will be on the line in Denver this Sunday. A Broncos win keeps the Tim Tebow mania alive, as it means the Mile High City will host a playoff games for the first time in six years. John Elway would almost certainly be compelled to keep his promise of bringing Tebow back in 2012, and the Broncos might start building around their unconventional quarterback.

A Broncos loss, however, jeopardizes the Tebow mania, as the unskilled passer who does nothing but win would have finished the season on a three-game losing streak. The fallout would be even worse for Elway given that the loss will have come at the hands of Kyle Orton, the veteran quarterback whom Denver allowed Kansas City to claim scot-free. Here’s the breakdown of Sunday’s matchup:

Last time
1. The Week 10 matchup
When these teams met back in Week 10, the Broncos completed just two passes (total!). One of those passes happened to be a 56-yard touchdown to Eric Decker, which, mixed with 244 yards on 55 rushing attempts, was enough for a Broncos victory.

Schematically, the Chiefs were prepared to stop the Broncos’ freshly unwrapped read-option run game; they had athletic inside linebacker Derrick Johnson spy Tebow, brought safeties into the box and had outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston stay home on the edge.

Physically, however, the Chiefs defensive line got manhandled. Their lack of penetration allowed the Broncos to continuously pick up three and four yards on banal inside carries. Tebow registered two big runs off the read-option, isolating end Glenn Dorsey on one run and Lawrence Jackson on the other. Because those two former first-round picks were neutralized by one-on-one blocking, Denver’s interior linemen consistently got bodies on Kansas City’s linebackers.

On the other side, Denver’s pass-rush got to Matt Cassel and their back seven defenders simply “out-athleted” Kansas City’s skill players.

This time
2. Chiefs D vs. Broncos run game
Some of the sizzle has naturally left the read-option, but that isn’t to say it’s not still an effective approach. The read-option forces a defense to play ultra-sharp, assignment-based football. As we saw early in the Week 15 Patriots game at Denver, when defenders fail to take on blocks at proper angles or keep the action from going outside, they get gouged.

Expect the Chiefs to be better against the read-option this time around. Hali and Houston have been excellent edge run-defenders in recent weeks.  Dorsey and Jackson are still hit or miss, but they’re more likely to “hit” when they can play finesse and attack gaps or work down the line of scrimmage. Their misses pile up when they’re forced to play with power in a phone booth.

The Chiefs know this and now know how to gameplan accordingly. They just watched the Bills defensive linemen last week attack gaps to eliminate some of the running lanes for Bronco ballcarriers. Those defensive linemen did not make the tackle or even always occupy multiple blockers, but by taking some of the “options” out of the read-option, they made the ballcarrier hesitant and, thus, predictable. That translated to minimal gains against an eight-man box.

3. Kansas City manning-up in pass defense
The Bills were able to be aggressive with their eighth box defender because they knew they could stop the Bronco passing game with man coverage. That’s a great defensive tactic against Denver’s offense, as possession type receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas are best handled that way.

Man defense also takes away the surprise factor in the screen game and keeps a spy on Tebow, which limits his scrambling. The irony is that Tebow has shown he’s more inclined to scramble against man coverage. The reason for this is, not being strong-armed or a precision passer, Tebow is uncomfortable fitting the ball into tight areas. To a young quarterback, NFL man coverage makes all areas appear tight. If Tebow’s first read isn’t there, his first instinct is to tuck and run.

The defensive risks in a man coverage approach are linebackers missing their assignments when they bite on a good read-option fake (which Buffalo’s did on Dante Rosario’s 32-yard catch-and-run), or players allowing themselves to be taken out of run defense position by an easy release (which is when a tight end runs a pass route away from the point of attack on a run play, carrying his man-defender with him right out of the picture).

The Chiefs – with two superb press corners in Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers outside, a shifty slot corner in Javier Arenas and athletic linebackers – should eagerly bog down and play man this Sunday. They beat the Packers with this formula two weeks ago and would have beaten the Raiders last week if they had stayed with it the entire game (they went to Tampa 2 a small handful of times and saw their safeties get burned by speedy receivers on two long passes that decided the outcome).

Broncos vs. Chiefs: Orton's revenge? (Getty Images)

4. Kyle Orton
In some ways, the seven-year pro is the consummate system quarterback. Whatever the system calls for, Orton delivers. He can post big numbers in a wide open aerial attack like he did two years ago under Josh McDaniels, or he can move the chains in a ball control scheme like he did two weeks ago under Romeo Crennel. His issues are consistency and playmaking.

Orton managed the game brilliantly against Green Bay two weeks ago and then threw two costly interceptions by failing to read basic safety help last week against Oakland. In Denver, Orton’s limitations showed up when John Fox and Mike McCoy installed a more traditional system to run with only mediocre receivers. Orton was unable to extend plays and improvise, which is why the Broncos offense was lethargic until Tebow replaced him.

Overall, the Chiefs can feel good about who they have under center in this game. Orton is certainly familiar with the opponent. He has terrific ball-handling skills, which allow him to manipulate safeties and execute play-action effectively. And since taking over, he’s made good use of his tight ends and running backs in the passing game.

5. Chiefs base offense
Tight ends and running backs could be prominent in the Chiefs’ passing attack this week given that linebackers Joe Mays and Von Miller aren’t great in coverage out of base defense. The Broncos will spend more time in base defense than they have in recent weeks, as the Crennel-led Chiefs predominantly utilize run-first personnel.

The run formations will keep Miller at strongside linebacker, nullifying his punishing first-step off the edge. Miller doesn’t have to line up at defensive end in order to rush the passer; he’s a great blitzer from the second level. However, teams lately have used a lot of three-and five-step drops against Denver, which completely nullifies a second-level blitzer and significantly softens the impact of pass-rushing ends. That’s the best way to contain Miller and Elvis Dumervil (who has come alive after a slow start).

Against the quick drops, the Broncos should tighten their coverage and force the Chiefs receivers to beat them early in the down. Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin are strong but not savvy enough to outmaneuver veterans like Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman. Steve Breaston is quick and can get early spacing by lining up off the line, but most of his (limited) damage this season has come on deeper crossing patterns, not quick strikes.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 17 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: November 18, 2011 12:07 am
Edited on: November 18, 2011 12:11 am
 

Stop me if you've heard this: terrible Tebow wins

T. Tebow scores the game-winning touchdown against New York (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With less than 6 minutes to play, Tim Tebow had 95 yards to salvation. Down by three points and playing in the comforts of home, Tebow, leader of men, could have been the hero for his team. And it’s actually what we’ve come to expect.

Coming from behind to beat the Dolphins. Knocking off the Carson Palmer-led Raiders. Hurling just eight passes last week in upsetting the Chiefs in Kansas City.

Of course, Tebow was going to lead the Broncos to the game-winning score, but there was no way he was actually going to do it. Right? Until that’s exactly what he did, leading a 12-play drive that ended with Tebow keeping the ball for himself to score the 20-yard touchdown.

It was crazy and heart-pumping and … just screwy. But it was also completely predictable.

“I trust him,” Broncos linebacker Von Miller said on the NFL Network afterward. “I trust him with everything. No matter how many interceptions he throws or how many touchdowns, I’m going to ride with him until the end.”

T. Tebow is 4-1 this year as a starter (AP).For the most part, Tebow had been his regular self -- barely an NFL quarterback. Not two-completion terrible, but bad nonetheless. Yet, the Broncos were within striking distance -- mostly because the Jets offense had been just as bad and because Broncos cornerback Andre Goodman intercepted Mark Sanchez and returned it for a touchdown to give Denver some much-needed points.

But there’s something about Tebow. I can’t put my finger on it. Obviously, none of his opponents can either. Never have we seen a quarterback who’s so clearly not an NFL quarterback continue to be successful as an NFL quarterback.

And as bad as this game was to watch, Tebow made it worth it in the final six minutes.

On the first snap of the drive, Tebow hit Eddie Royal on the goal line, and somehow the Broncos receiver barely escaped Jets safety Jim Leonhard in the end zone and ran for eight yards and out of safety danger. On the second snap, running the option, Tebow kept the ball, running 15 yards for the first down. Later, on third down and with the Broncos in a five-receiver split, Tebow kept it again and ran for the first down.

On the next play, he ran at Darrelle Revis, and Revis kind of side-stepped him, allowing Tebow to gain more yards. Tebow, once again, was playing eerily well with the game on the line. Once again, he had improved his game dramatically. Yes, some of his throws on that drive were grossly inaccurate -- he short-hopped at least one receiver -- but he also hit Dante Rosario for another first down at the Jets 29 yard line.

And then, redemption.

On third and four from the 20-yard line, he made the stadium explode when he recognized a blitz coming up the middle, scrambled around the left end of the line to avoid it, beat Eric Smith to the edge and then broke Smith’s tackle to score the game-winning touchdown.

You know, much was made this week about how Broncos coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy had installed a read-option offense that would increase Tebow’s potential success. Fox already had all but said that Tebow wouldn’t survive in a typical professional offense, so he would bring college ball back to Tebow.

For most of Thursday’s game, it still didn’t work. Occassionally, the Broncos showed flashes of how the option could be successful. But for the most part, Denver was shooting three-and-out blanks (although punter Dustin Colquitt had a pretty good night!). You could look at the game, and say, “See, a high school offense doesn’t work in the NFL.” And you’d be right.

But for some reason, it works for Tebow. And for some reason, Tebow works for the NFL. He wins games, and at this point, you have to stop using the caveat, “Well, he sucks.” Because at some point, that issue becomes moot, and the only thing that matters is this: Tebow is 4-1 as a starter, and the playoffs are still in sight.
 
“He’s the most mind-blowing, polarizing figure I’ve ever seen in football,” NFL analyst Mike Mayock said.

That’s as good a description and explanation as any.  

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: November 4, 2011 11:09 am
 

Is play-calling the problem for Tebow, Broncos?

Is it the game plan or is it just Tebow? (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Through no fault of his own, Tim Tebow has become the league's most polarizing figure. He's been thrust into an untenable position; ill-equipped to perform the duties necessary of an NFL quarterback. Yet here he is, entering his third week as the Broncos' starter and so far the results have been disastrous.

Take the same player without Tebow's college pedigree, and the media story line would go something like this: "Young QB not yet ready for primetime, maybe in a season or two." And that would be that, the Broncos would've given Brady Quinn a chance or returned to Kyle Orton, and we could all get on with our lives.

Instead, Tebow, easily the worst of the NFL's 32 starting quarterbacks, remains the story. This is what happens when staunch critics point out he should never ever take another snap and his devoted supporters suggest that this isn't Tebow's fault. This is no middle ground.

And that brings us to this: the Broncos are now having to defend their play-calling. Because that's why Tebow has completed 46 percent of his passes this season and has been sacked 13 times in 10 quarters.

Last Sunday, there was a report that Denver had plans to revamp the offense around Tebow's strengths. According to Rotoworld, "Fox's is now going all-in on Tebow, acknowledging that the move to more of a Florida Gators look will either revolutionize the game or set it back years. As John Clayton suggested [last] week, the Broncos will put Tebow in the shotgun and 'cover their eyes.'"

If the Broncos had a Tebow-specific game plan against the Lions and still lost 45-10 then, impossibly, things may be worse than we feared. Turns out, they have.

Details via the Associated Press' Arnie Stapleton:
A close look at the film, however, 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, a win over the Dolphins and a loss to the Lions, Tebow has been in the shotgun an average of 40 times. From there, the Broncos have rushed the ball 17 times on average, half of the time on designed runs by Tebow.

And the Broncos have spread out their offense, using three wide receivers, an average of 50 times a game, almost every time with a tailback in the backfield with him. Those numbers are way up from the first month of the season when Kyle Orton was Denver's QB.
Stapleton notes something we've mentioned frequently in our weekly "Tracking Tebow" updates: Tebow holds the ball in the pocket, either not knowing which receiver to target, or struggling to decipher the defenses he's facing. In addition to the 13 sacks, Tebow's thrown a pick-six, had four fumbles (one returned for a touchdown), and Denver is just 6 for 30 on third downs.

Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy stresses patience.

"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, via the AP. "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."


After a loss to the Lions last week, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos look to rebound as they prepare to take on the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan preview this matchup, Watch the game at 4:05 PM ET on CBS.

Fair enough, but the difference is that Tebow doesn't appear capable of making NFL throws. Yes, inconsistency is the hallmark of a young NFL quarterback. And while Blaine Gabbert looks as lost as Tebow on a weekly basis, there are a handful of plays you can point to every game and say, "See, that's why the Jags drafted him. He has the potential to be a really good player in this league."

Save the designed draw plays, or the broken play that Tebow occasionally turns into a big gain, there are no "wow" moments. Put differently: Tebow can't hurt you with his arm. He doesn't have the accuracy, timing or arm strength to regularly make throws that can beat NFL defenses.

If there was on bright spot it came in the fourth quarter of the Lions game, long after the game had been decided. Tebow, throwing on every down at this point in the proceedings, had some success on short routes. Admittedly, his receivers were wide open, but it was something.

John Lynch, the former NFL safety, called the game for Fox and suggested that the Broncos needed to throw more short passes to get Tebow in a rhythm.

"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."

And while media and fans are looking to assess blame, Fox has already grown weary of it.

“The goofy thing is, it’s almost like if he doesn’t have success it will be anybody’s fault but his. It’s almost that kind of polarizing thing,” Fox told the Los Angeles Times' Sam Farmer. “They’ll say it could be his supporting cast, or the type of plays. At the end of the day, we are what we are. We’re doing everything we can to win, and we’re finding out about a young quarterback, good, bad or indifferent.”

Fox, by the way, is in his first year as Denver's head coach. Maybe it's a stretch to suggest he's already on the hot seat, but Josh McDaniels lasted a season and a half before getting dumped. And he started his Denver career with six straight wins.

The Broncos travel to Oakland to face the Raiders Sunday and Tebow will face more challenges against a defense that loves man-coverage schemes.

"We're going to do what we think is the best thing for our football team to win and you're always going to have people that are going to point the finger somewhere," McCoy said. "But we're trying to do everything we can to help Tim and the football team be successful."

We don't doubt this. The problem: Tebow hasn't shown any signs that he's a capable week-to-week NFL starter. But it's not like the two-win Broncos have much choice. Orton played his way out of the lineup and Brady Quinn doesn't offer much promise, either. To paraphrase Rick Pitino, John Elway will be walking through that door, but that's only because he's part of the front office. That said, the 51-year-old Hall of Famer still gives the 2011 Broncos the best chance to win.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com