Tag:Tim Tebow
Posted on: August 18, 2010 11:33 am
 

Tebow's mechanics up for discussion

T. Tebow still has work to do on his throwing mechanics (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For all the talk about Tim Tebow’s arm delivery and his mechanics and about how subpar they were coming out of Florida, Tebow has made improvements during offseason workouts and training camp.

But when he took the field against the Bengals in the Broncos first preseason game, he didn’t think about any of it.

Writes Lindsay H. Jones of the Denver Post :

His mind was on the Cincinnati Bengals' defense, on trying to mentally sift his way through the Broncos' complicated offense and identify the right play. He wasn't thinking about the angle at which he was holding his left arm, how low or high he held the ball or how long or short his windup was.

"That wasn't something that was going through my mind," Tebow said. "It was more reading the defense and trying to get first downs."

It's a good thing, then, that Tebow largely ignores the world of football commentary, and particularly Twitter, which was transformed into a hub for media and fans alike to critique Tebow's mechanics in real time throughout the fourth quarter of Sunday's game. The consensus from the masses seemed to be, based on that quarter of work, that Tebow the NFL player was the same as Tebow the college player at Florida, at least when it came to his throwing motion.

For his part, Tebow says he doesn’t care what the outside world thinks about his mechanics. He had a nice 35-yard pass to Matthew Willis that was dropped, and his stats (8 of 13 for 105 yards) were fine. Afterward, coach Josh McDaniel said Tebow had plenty of work left to do to fine-tune his game. But he showed some of the skills that led to his first-round selection, rushing in for a seven-yard TD on the last play of the game and successfully showing his poise while running the 2-minute offense.

He’s nowhere near taking over the starting spot from Kyle Orton, but Tebow has shown improvement. For now, that’s good enough.

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Posted on: August 16, 2010 3:19 pm
 

Around the League: Tebow, Big Ben, Fitz & Mittens

Posted by Will Brinson

So, Tim Tebow played some football last night. I thought it was "impressive." Many of you felt differently, but that's okay.

What was impressive about his play? Well that (and what WASN'T that impressive) was the top topic in today's "Around the League" video with Lauren Shehadi.

We also talked about whether Larry Fitzgerald's knee injury should be considered serious/dangerous, when/if Mike Tomlin will get Ben Roethlisberger on the field in the 2010 preseason and whether or not David Carr (aka Mister Mittens) qualifies as a threat to Alex Smith's starting gig in San Francisco.

Pete Prisco then takes over from Falcons training camp before I confirm his suspicious that Atlanta could seriously contend this season and we close out by discussing the single biggest factor in tonight's Jets-Giants preseason matchup. (Aka REVIS.)




Posted on: August 16, 2010 3:19 pm
 

Around the League: Tebow, Big Ben, Fitz & Mittens

Posted by Will Brinson

So, Tim Tebow played some football last night. I thought it was "impressive." Many of you felt differently, but that's okay.

What was impressive about his play? Well that (and what WASN'T that impressive) was the top topic in today's "Around the League" video with Lauren Shehadi.

We also talked about whether Larry Fitzgerald's knee injury should be considered serious/dangerous, when/if Mike Tomlin will get Ben Roethlisberger on the field in the 2010 preseason and whether or not David Carr (aka Mister Mittens) qualifies as a threat to Alex Smith's starting gig in San Francisco.

Pete Prisco then takes over from Falcons training camp before I confirm his suspicious that Atlanta could seriously contend this season and we close out by discussing the single biggest factor in tonight's Jets-Giants preseason matchup. (Aka REVIS.)




Posted on: August 16, 2010 9:31 am
Edited on: August 16, 2010 11:46 am
 

Hot Routes 8.16.10: Media wants Tebow's autograph

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link we should feature in the Hot Routes? Follow us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) or email will [dot] brinson [at] cbs [dot] com .
  • Unsurprisingly, the comments on my "Tebow was impressive" article were all like "WHAT GAME DID YOU WATCH?!? HE PLAYED AGAINST SECOND- AND THIRD-STRINGERS!" That's true. But you know what? Tebow is so freaking amazing that he's inspiring media members to ask him for autographs -- according to Alex Marvez on Twitter , two members of the press walked up to Tebow after the game and asked for his signature. That's a big no-no (doi), because not only do you immediately shred any sense of objectivity about the person you're covering, but it's a clear-cut case of abusing the access that press members have. Next thing you know, they'll start serving us delicious food at games too! No, but seriously, this is embarrassing; a quick Twitter-poll reveals that most people agree what they did was quite annoying, etc.
  • Of course, all the Tebow love in the world won't change the top spot on the Broncos' depth chart -- Dave Krieger of the Denver Post writes that "it's not close" when it comes to how far ahead Kyle Orton is. That's true, but as a I mentioned last night, it would be somewhat surprising if Tebow didn't hop Brady Quinn for the No. 2 spot in Denver.
  • There were three No. 1 overall quarterbacks involved in the San Francisco - Indy tilt, with David Carr, Peyton Manning and Alex Smith all getting action during the game. That may be a fact that interests only me. (And it only interests me because I have a weird obsession with Carr, aka "Mister Mittens." )
  • Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News has a handy "10 things to watch" list for the Jets preseason opener. You'll never believe it, but a Darrelle Revis-less defense's play is near the top. On a fairly random note, my girlfriend (who does NOT care for football) watched "Hard Knocks" and freaking loved it. Downside: she asked if it was okay to cheer for the Jets in 2010. I begrudgingly said yes.
  • Kent Somers notes that Larry Fitzgerald -- he of the recently sprained MCL -- was prepping to have his best season ever as a pro and wants people to not "write him off." Geez, Larry. That's a lot to ask. From what I hear, he's going undrafted in almost every fantasy league after this injury.
  • Chicago Breaking Sports has video of Jay Cutler stating that the Bears were just "a few blocks away from some big runs." Yeah, and I'm just "a few hundred thousand dollars away from being a millionaire." (10 to be exact.)

Posted on: August 15, 2010 10:48 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2010 11:17 pm
 

Tim Tebow's impressive preseason performance

Posted by Will Brinson

Some folks wore No. 15 Broncos jerseys. Some wore Florida tees. Some did Gator chomps. All of them cheered when Tim Tebow entered the game with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter of the Broncos - Bengals preseason game Sunday night.

There was good reason to cheer, too: Tebow went 8/13 for 105 yards, 0 interceptions, 0 TDs (passing), and two rushing attempts for 10 yards and a TD.

Not a mind-blowing collection of statistics, but certainly something that's worth talking further about. Why? BECAUSE IT'S TIM TEBOW, DUH. And because we've all been so quick to dismiss the possibility that he could succeed at the NFL level. And because we've all been so quick to dismiss the 2010 Broncos. And because it's Tim Tebow, duh.

On the first series -- a three-and-out -- Tebow nearly went up top to Matt Willis on third and five, but the UCLA product dropped the ball near the sidelines and the Broncos punted.

The second series was similar -- also a three-and-out -- as Tebow took a shot downfield to Willis again on third and four, but his pass was off the mark and nearly intercepted.

Nothing that remarkable, but nothing that disappointing -- Willis absolutely should have caught the first ball which would have padded his stats, but those things happen.

Then, on Tebow's third series, the kid saw a lot of pressure. The Bengals brought extra men on first down (an incomplete pass to Alric Arnett), a standard rush that nearly got to Tebow on second down (a six-yard dumpoff to Bruce Hall), and extra men on third down (a 21-yard strike to Arnett on third-and-four).

Tebow got "sacked" while trying to scramble out to the right on the next play. Of course, it wasn't a huge hit ... particularly in comparison to what happened next: Tebow took a snap out of shotgun and didn't see the Bengals bring a cornerback and a safety on a blitz and he got absolutely ROCKED while tucking the ball/throwing the ball.

As you can guess, a defensive touchdown resulted, though it was eventually overturned on a Josh McDaniels challenge. One aborted fourth down later, the Bengals took back over.

Fortunately for Broncos fans, Tebow got a shot at a last-minute touchdown run. That resulted in a pair of passes (one a 17-yard screen, one a 7-yard dump-off) to Hall. Tebow then hit Marquez Branson for a 7-yarder across the middle before nailing Davis on a 33-yard laser as he rolled out to the right.

Yes, Davis got out of bounds, and yes, all of this happened in less than a minute. The next attempt to Branson in the end zone was incomplete, but only by a little bit -- it was eventually challenged.

Fortunately, the incomplete pass was upheld, because we got to see Tebow's first touchdown as an NFL player come in the form of a run, which, as Pete Prisco said on Twitter, was completely appropriate.

It's a run you'll see for the next few days over-and-over again, because Tebow took a pair of hits at the goal line diving in for the score. And it's a play that kind of epitomizes how he plays the game. (Read: Hate him all you want, but he hustles his ass off and is more than willing to sacrifice his body on the goalline for a preseason touchdown.)

Given the way that Brady Quinn played on Saturday -- 6/16 for 68 yards and an interception; that actually looks nicer in print than Quinn did on the field -- don't be shocked if you see Tebow jumps him on the depth chart.

Not only did Tebow look substantially better on the field anyway, but locking in Quinn as the No. 3 quarterback and having Tebow play the backup would make McDaniels' activation decisions on Sundays significantly easier.

From what I saw in the Broncos game, it's not even much of a choice right now.

But maybe I'm just a simple cock-eyed optimistic (a la Billy Mumphrey) who gets excited at seeing Tebow succeed. After all, he did his damage against the Bengals' third-teamers (while getting rocked by some of the second-teamers) and he did have issues with his mechanics, in terms of being able to get passes off quickly.

If his instinctive action when he's faced with heavy pressure from NFL defenses is to extend his throwing motion, life will be a disaster. But he'll also learn to read pro defenses better as time goes on, giving him more time/less surprises.

Which means the Broncos might have something nice on their hands after all.

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Posted on: August 15, 2010 12:43 pm
 

Reasons to watch Sunday's preseason games

Posted by Andy Benoit

Two preseason games on the schedule today: 49ers @ Colts at 1:00 and Broncos @ Bengals at 7:00. Both will air live on NFL Network. Here’s what to watch (or, since it’s preseason, an argument for why to watch):

49ers @ Colts

The debut of San Francisco’s young offensive line. First-round picks Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati are both expected to start. Davis, who will initially line up at right tackle, will be the second youngest starter in team history. Iupati’s starting left guard job was locked up when center Eric Heitmann fractured his fibula (forcing incumbent left guard to slide to one spot to his right). Iupati has the perfect skill set for San Francisco’s system.

Broncos @ Bengals

Just another step in the Tim Tebow love fest. Expect the first-round rookie to see action in the second and third quarters. The question is, What kind of packages will Josh McDaniel have for him?

Also, this will be Terrell Owens’s home debut in Cincinnati.

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Posted on: August 9, 2010 2:37 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2010 4:48 pm
 

Madden '11 Review: First Look

Posted by Will Brinson



Real football debuted Sunday night as the Dallas Cowboys took down the Cincinnati Bengals. Virtual professional football debuts Tuesday as EA Sports Madden 11 hits stores. Here's a review.

Let's be clear: change usually isn't fun. Fortunately, while the newest version of the Madden franchise forces me to deal with change, it also does so within the context of yet another superior product from EA.

For instance, two excellent changes were built into online play in this rendition.

First, when someone "quits" against you online, you can choose to "quit and count" or "quit and don't count." In other words, when you're up 40 points at halftime, you can't get burnt by having to play the last 30 minutes against the computer in order to get the win.

The other is online team play. It's freaking awesome -- basically, you can get 2-6 people into a game, lock into certain positions (QB/RB/WR or DL/LB/DB) and talk over the headset with your "teammates" throughout the game. 

Now, lots of people will debate whether playing online with six people is even logistically possible (some folks don't have headsets, a must for team play, and see above, re: quitters and bad connections). People will also debate whether the "D cam" -- in which you'll have to learn how to play defense from the opposite side of the field -- will really work.

(Ed. Note: BIG props to the EA Sports Gamechanger Devin "XxDaMole00xX" Peden for helping me out with the team stuff -- you can read more about the Gamechangers here and get your team play community party thing on over at MaddenOTP.com as well . If you can find a Gamechanger online to play with you, I highly recommend it.)

Those are valid claims, but this is something that's been offered successfully on FIFA, and it's a very welcome addition to Madden as well.

The game itself (graphics, play, overall experience, etc), by the way, actually features some nice additions too.

One that stands out? GUS FREAKING JOHNSON. Madden fans have been drooling about the exciting announcer's inclusion in the new game for quite some time, and while it's almost impossible to encapsulate Gus' intensity in a simulated game, this puppy comes close.

The best line, off the top of my head?

Has to be "Look out for that SIDELINE SPEED!" which features Gus' voice rising (and firing) as a running back gets around the tackle and heads for the sideline with no one in site.

Cris Collinsworth is there too, although -- and though I can't be positive -- I'm pretty sure they reused a few of his lines from Madden 10. No matter, though. Gus makes up for it.



In terms of graphical gameplay, the newest rendition is a strong improvement over its younger siblings, although with any of these new renditions (regardless of sport) it's really, really difficult to make leaping and bounding improvements, if only because the quality of the previous version was so high already. That being said, Madden 11 is crisper and flows much more smoothly than last year's version -- all the players feel more fluid than they have in the past, and running with the ball in particular feels more lifelike.

"Locomotion" was the big addition this year; essentially, the right joystick gives players more juking/breaking tackles option, although the differences are much more noticeable in the NCAA game than on Madden.

One welcome addition to gameplay is a increased risk/reward to the "Hit Stick." Last year, it was practically magnetic -- if your player was within 10 yards of the ballcarrier and you jabbed the left stick towards him, you'd go flying and record a tackle 90 percent of the time. Now, that just results in a LOT of missed and/or broken tackles, but it also seems to result in more fumbles when you actually connect.

That means the "X" button is much more in play than before, but that's a good thing -- the hit stick almost replaced the tackle button in previous play and this is much more realistic. (Note that if you're used to playing with the Hit Stick and use it frequently when you test out Madden 11, you'll immediately wonder why EVERYONE breaks away from Jon Beason in the open field. Try using X.)

Additionally, the details are much improved: fans, players and stadiums seem more life-like than ever before. For instance: I actually complained that Brett Favre's beard wasn't gray enough. I mean, what does that even say about the details going on here?

Ease of use with some features will be a complaint early on from lots of gamers. Particularly with "Gameflow" and the "Stratpad." Gameflow is similar to NCAA 11's "No-Huddle," albeit with less initial success. It's the type of thing that will benefit gamers willing to put in the effort, but will likely annoy the very casual fan.

Basically, Gameflow allows you to change your personal offensive and defensive gameplanning -- under "My Madden" you add, remove and rate plays based on certain situations and your preference for calling them there -- so that while playing you can just hit the "A" button without having to dive into the actual playbook.

This makes a ton of sense from the perspective that not having to waste potentially valuable time scanning through piles of playbacks is difficult; it lacks sense in that anyone who knows exactly how to work their playbook doesn't need help quickly accessing plays. All that being said, though, I used the Gameflow a good amount … but didn't do my due diligence to put together my own profile at first. Later on, I went back and started putting it together, and it makes a tremendous difference -- if you're willing to spend time tweaking your profile, it'll end up being a very worthwhile addition. (I should note too that part of my disappointment stems from it not being the true "no-huddle" a la the NCAA version; I was looking forward to rolling with the Colts and calling plays at the line. Alas.)



Also, the added bonus of it eliminating wasteful time used on selecting "Kickoff" and "Extra Point," "Field Goal" or "Punt" in obvious situations make it more than worth any hassle it might cause.

Part of the Gameflow addition is something totally different than ever seen in a video game: the inclusion of an offensive coordinator who provides advice via either pre-snap messages on the screen or the headset. I've used the headset to get the advice a couple times, and while I wish that my OC didn't sound like a sober Yankees fan, I throughly enjoyed having someone chatting in my ear for the first few quarters. Honestly, the bigger bonus is for less-skilled Madden players who can take a lot from the tips that the OC offers. In other words, it's not just an aesthetic development, as the game offers play-specific stuff like "take your five steps and wait for the wideout to get free of the coverage underneath" or "don't think about it, just take three steps and hit your receiver when he breaks."

Not all of the advice is great, or even necessary, but that comes with the territory -- overall, it's a very cool addition to the game and the "football experience."

"Strategy Pad" is an addition so villainous that Pasta Padre asked in July if it would be "the most reviled feature since the vision cone?"

Well, let me tell you ... I think it is.

From what I understand, there's some sort of patch coming for what's being called the "Strat Pad," but as it is right now, I hate it. It takes all of the many available audibles from last year (shifting your defensive lineman, shifting your linebackers, calling hot routes, bringing your safeties in, backing up your coverage, etc) and forces you to access them via the D-pad. Which means in order to fake a blitz (a simple combo of up and left last year if I recall correctly), you have to hit the D-pad, which opens up a new menu where you can choose up, left, down or right depending on what kind of audible you want to pull off.

Eventually, I won't hate this as much -- I've already found myself somewhat memorizing the various combinations (up, left, left shifts the d-line to the left … maybe) and after a slew of games it'll probably become second knowledge. But what's the point? It just adds an extra step, insofar as I can tell.

The audible-calling differences from Madden 10 aren't all bad, though. Big, BIG ups to the gameplay team for introducing a menu at the bottom of the screen which offers "Run," "Play-Action Pass," "Deep Pass" etc. When you hit the "X" button, you're given an option to scroll left and right on that menu, with the various play-art -- routes, etc. -- popping up for each play. This is huge for online play (not so much if you're playing a buddy in the same room, of course) and two-minute drills, especially if you don't set your audibles beforehand. Great addition



Last year, I thought that experience was heavily tainted by EA's decision to sell primetime advertising space on the game. Every other play, it felt like, I'd see a Snickers (or some other company) ad pop-up. That'd be fine if it didn't slow down the game or get in the way of my playbook, but it did both last year. This time around, the programmers and advertising guys wised up and figured out how to integrate advertising in the content more seamlessly.

For example, Gus Johnson will frequently remind you that certain things are, "As always, sponsored by Verizon. The OFFICIAL wireless provider of the NFL." And sometimes when you call a timeout, you'll hear the Old Spice jingle, coupled a shot of whoever was the "Old Spice Swagger Player of the Game."

But you know what? That's fine. In fact, I appreciate it, because it's freaking clever -- I like to think that I'm okay with advertising when it's done smartly and openly without being obnoxious. Madden 11 does that quite nicely.

Two more points on the special teams aspect of the gameplay: Kicking is TOTALLY different. The "round meter" (or whatever you want to call it) is out. In? A Mario Golf-style power meter that makes you tap it twice. See above. Complain all you want, but it takes all of like two games to get adjusted.

Kick returning is different too. In this year's game, it's a helluva lot tougher to take a kick back to the house. But that's a good thing -- last season was kind of ridiculous in the amount of terrible tackling you would see from the computer's special teams AI and house-bound returns.

The long and short (but mostly long in my case) of it is that things are different. Stuff is changed. Moreso than in years past when comparing the year-to-year differences. And that will throw lots of people off, just like any time a website is redesigned, or anytime anything that's comfortable changes.

But embracing the change is a worthwhile process -- as usual, the majority of the differences that EA implemented are positive ones, and that makes Madden 11 better than the previous iteration. It also makes it fun as hell to play, and if you're a fan of the NFL and spend any time on video games, you'd be pretty silly not to pick up a copy.

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RATING: 4/5 Eye Logos

Posted on: August 8, 2010 9:26 pm
 

Madden '11 already features special Tebow package

Posted by Will Brinson

This post will probably come off as "reading far too deep into the harsh realities of a virtual world" (or something), but I found it interesting nonetheless -- on EA Sports' Madden '11, there's already a special Tim Tebow package installed in the Broncos' offense.

It's called "Broncos Heavy" and it features Tebow in a funky little shotgun formation, with one wide receiver and two running backs. (For the purpose of this example, Eddie Royal is split out left and Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno flank Tebow a few feet inside.)

Interestingly, it's not the same as the Broncos typical "Wild Horses" (their version of the Wildcat), which is also in Josh McDaniels' playbook. That formation, however, features only three running plays with Moreno.

Tebow's formation, on the other hand, has about 15 plays (if I recall correctly -- real football started as soon as I remembered to play around with it today), some of which are running plays, some of which are play-action, some of which are handoffs and some of which are passing plays.

In other words, EA seems to think -- as do the rest of us -- that McDaniels won't be letting Tebow sit idly on the bench. Instead, he'll use his varying talents to really do some damage from some funky formations.

I've messed around with it some, and a couple things pop to mind. Tebow has a cannon. However, the alignment does not setup well to run the option -- after all, you'd rather have the backs starting behind you to do that. The blocking on the play seems to be sufficient enough not to worry about a full-on blitz decapitating our savior.

In fact, I played online with the Broncos and ran out of the Tebow formation -- on one play, I bolted out left with Tebow as if to run, and my opponent's DBs sprinting in to stuff me and I winged a pass to Royal streaking down the left side. It was incomplete, but the better point is this: not only will people respect your attempts to run Tebow, but the computer intelligence respects it too.

That's good news for gamers and may seem irrelevant for Broncos fans, but the truth is it'll probably end up reflecting reality pretty well.

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