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Old 11-29-2011, 08:55 AM   #1
TonyR
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Default Tim Tebow, Broncos go back to school

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Everybody be at the pep rally after school -- senior Tim Tebow is leading Denver Broncos High School to state! Yeah!

Denver is, improbably, the NFL's hottest team outside Wisconsin, 5-1 since Tebow took the reins. Those fans in the bleachers who'd been chanting for Tebow -- they were right. But then in high school, the booster club always knows. Maybe for the next home game, the Broncos should run out through a big sheet of paper that was decorated at the pep rally with "Go Broncos" and "XXOO" written all over by the cheerleaders.

The Broncos are tearing up the NFL using high school tactics. A week ago, defeating the Jets, Denver was running the option while Jersey/B was quick-snapping for hitch screens. It was high school versus college from a tactics standpoint: High school won on a crazed quarterback scramble by Tebow for a 20-yard touchdown. Denver had 229 total yards of offense and 11 first downs -- a prep-game stat. Yet the Broncos prevailed.

Sunday at San Diego, adjusting for sacks and scrambles, Denver coaches called 19 rushing plays for Tebow and 19 passing plays for him. Tebow threw a perfect stop-and-go touchdown to Eric Decker. The stop-and-go and out-and-up are staples of high school football; inexperienced defensive backs who are assuming a run play reliably fall for these. Denver set the play up with the prep formula of run-run-run then throw deep.

The zone-read option Denver used for much of the game against the Chargers was straight out of "Friday Night Lights," or at least, what's been trendy under Friday night lights in recent seasons. Repeatedly, Tebow held the ball in front of the tailback and read the unblocked defensive lineman: That's the "read" part of a zone-read rush. If the lineman moved toward the tailback, Tebow kept the ball, often executing the old-fashioned "midline option" on which the tailback leads into the hole and the quarterback follows. On Denver's final drive in overtime, Broncos High School ran the zone-read option run on three consecutive snaps, resulting in 40 yards gained and field position for the winning field goal.

Tebow even used the high school tactic of running out. In a prep offense, after the quarterback hands off, he sprints in the opposite direction, hoping a defender will follow him. This tactic hasn't been observed in the pros since the 1950s. Having the quarterback run out after handing off is seen as beneath the dignity of NFL quarterbacks, who always simply stand and watch after giving the ball to a runner. This has a practical value -- by NFL rules if a quarterback is not "attempting to participate in the action of the down," he cannot be hit.

At San Diego, Tebow enthusiastically ran out the other way each time he handed off, just as a high school quarterback would. The Bolts were so rattled that by the second half, a man was going with Tebow when he ran out empty-handed. Late in the third quarter, Denver faced third-and-5. Tebow was flushed from the pocket and rolled left. San Diego linebacker Travis LaBoy slammed to a stop at the line of scrimmage and didn't pursue Tebow, so worried was he about losing contain. Tebow threw for a first down, and Broncos High School recorded a field goal on the possession. The cheerleaders should have done push-ups!

It's not that high school-flavored offenses have never been employed in the contemporary NFL. Five years ago, Carolina defeated the Falcons by rushing 52 times and attempting seven passes, a stat any prep coach would feel comfortable with. The game occurred on Christmas Eve, and so had no impact on football consciousness. But it showed that when presented as a surprise tactic, high school offense can work in the pass-wacky NFL.

Denver's victory over San Diego was aided by spectacular play from Von Miller -- see below. Tebow continues to be Tebow: He does things that make purists wince, but when the double whistle sounds, his team has more points than the other team. And the Broncos were aided by yet another example of passive decision-making by San Diego's Norv Turner, who is the George McClellan of the NFL. With 42 seconds showing in regulation, San Diego had the ball on its 30, holding a timeout. Turner decided to exhaust the clock and proceed to overtime -- when all the Bolts needed was a field goal! Not one chance in a million Bill Belichick or Sean Payton makes that call. It's a sign of how far out of touch Turner is that he told the San Diego Union-Tribune of the docile decision, "I think we did the right thing."

Fun Tebow note: reader Derek Knowlton of Layton, Utah, points out that owing to the run-oriented game plans of Broncos High School, Tebow does not have enough pass attempts to appear in the NFL's quarterback rankings. If Tebow were ranked, "His current NFL passer rating of 80.5 is better than Joe Flacco, Michael Vick and Matt Cassel. His average of one touchdown per 17.9 passes is better than Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler. His one interception in 143 attempts is the lowest interception rate in the NFL, lower even than Aaron Rodgers."

Now that defensive coordinators have film of Tebow running the offense seen on Friday nights, its effectiveness is likely to decline. But until then -- hey kids, don't miss the next Broncos High School game! Buy some baked goods to support the drum line! Vote for our team to be featured on local access cable! See you at the car-hop drive-in afterward!
http://espn.go.com/espn/print?id=7291606&type=story

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Old 11-29-2011, 09:04 AM   #2
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From the same article...

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Hidden Play of the Week: Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels, but stop or sustain drives. In overtime, San Diego reached third-and-6 on the Denver 31. The Bolts ran, hoping to improve field goal position. Denver rookie linebacker Von Miller got a TFL -- tackle for a loss -- dropping Mike Tolbert on the 35. That pushed the field goal attempt back to a 53-yarder, and San Diego missed. Taking possession on its 43, Denver Broncos High School marched the other way for victory. Miller's performance is as important to Denver's sudden win streak as anything done by Tim Tebow. Miller is showing the potential to be the best speed linebacker since Cornelius Bennett.

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Old 11-29-2011, 09:09 AM   #3
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Not sure what's worse: running a HS offense in the NFL, or NFL defenses not being able to stop a HS offense

I'd rather be a team with 2 completions and a W, than the team who lost to 2 completions
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:12 AM   #4
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So wait, Gregg Easterbrook is making fun of the Broncos for being a heavy run team though if you have read his column (I gave up a little while ago, but read regularly for a long time) he always complains about teams going "pass-wacky" and talks about drives where no passes are thrown, but resulting in a TD as "purist drives"?
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:13 AM   #5
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Excellent article. Even Easterbrook is coming around. I really like our nickname:

Denver Broncos High School
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:14 AM   #6
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Dumb article.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:15 AM   #7
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Now that defensive coordinators have film of Tebow running the offense seen on Friday nights, its effectiveness is likely to decline.
Good one imo
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:19 AM   #8
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So wait, Gregg Easterbrook is making fun of the Broncos...
I actually read it as more positive than negative.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:21 AM   #9
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ASshat will love this one:
Fun Tebow note: reader Derek Knowlton of Layton, Utah, points out that owing to the run-oriented game plans of Broncos High School, Tebow does not have enough pass attempts to appear in the NFL's quarterback rankings. If Tebow were ranked, "His current NFL passer rating of 80.5 is better than Joe Flacco, Michael Vick and Matt Cassel. His average of one touchdown per 17.9 passes is better than Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler. His one interception in 143 attempts is the lowest interception rate in the NFL, lower even than Aaron Rodgers."
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:23 AM   #10
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If you like Tebow and what he is about, dont POST ABOUT IT, BE ABOUT IT!!!!

http://www.timtebowfoundation.org/
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:23 AM   #11
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Tebow even used the high school tactic of running out. In a prep offense, after the quarterback hands off, he sprints in the opposite direction, hoping a defender will follow him. This tactic hasn't been observed in the pros since the 1950s. Having the quarterback run out after handing off is seen as beneath the dignity of NFL quarterbacks, who always simply stand and watch after giving the ball to a runner.
This in a nutshell is one of many things that is wrong with the mentality of the 21st Century NFL. It's also a contributing factor to how Denver is 5-1 running an option variation offense.This isn't a high school offense, in fact it's rooted in more long term traditional success than spreading them out and throwing 48 times a game. This mentality of sophisticated passing offenses being the only way to win in 2011 is horsesh*t. Again, I'm not saying "omg Tebow supurbol," but a team that controls the point of attack, controls the time of possession, runs the ball effectively, and plays stoudt defense is going to win a helluva lot of games at any level.

Most NFL players have always been the top 1 percent of athletes since middle school, and as a result many were good enough to get to this level despite being fundamentally unsound. They have been taught to make plays in space, run fast and blow people up, but the basics of something as simple as assignment football to stop the option is lacking. It's intriguing to see how far down the rabbit hole the Broncos can go with a throwback offense.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:58 AM   #13
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Apparently I watch different games, because what I'm seeing isn't "simple" in the slightest. WTF is the difference between reading a secondary to find an open guy on the pass, and reading the front-seven to find open lanes for the running back?

The blocking schemes the Broncos are running are incredibly complex. Hell they've run plays in which the right guard pulls around and seals the edge as the whole line wheels open to create cut-back lanes. This is the most complex running attack I've ever seen.

I hate that the idiots who write about sports have no ability to see that.
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:03 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by enjolras View Post
Apparently I watch different games, because what I'm seeing isn't "simple" in the slightest.
I understand your point but I think the "simple" refers more to the fact that "running" is easier than "throwing". Not many high school QB's throw the ball well enough to run a passing offense, and not many high school offensive lines can protect their QB's well enough even they could. That's why you see a lot more running than passing in high school. Takes a lot of skill and athleticism to effectively run the zone read the way Tebow can. But you can run a basic option offense much easier than you can run a passing offense at the prep level.

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Old 11-29-2011, 10:07 AM   #15
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Haters gonna hate...
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:09 AM   #16
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I've never paid much attention to the zone-read but am obviously gaining a greater understanding of it and its effectiveness by watching the Broncos. As Tebow becomes a better passer the coaches gain more confidence in him, I see this being a potentially deadly offensive scheme. I already see defenses playing on their heels, afraid to penetrate too far up field.

If we can incorporate some designed bootleg passes (which the opportunity seems to be there multiple times a game) and pass more out of the zone-read look, defenses have no way of knowing what is coming. No matter how much they game plan for it. I think this has some real potential to grow into something special for this team.

I think right now we are in a great position to be setting up future opponents with a deadly passing game. The coaches just need to get more aggressive with their play calls and go for the throat on first down and 2nd and short a little more often
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:10 AM   #17
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Easterbrook used to be better when he was on NFL.com years ago.

Recently, it seems he's only trying to get the point across that Belicheat invented the game of football...
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:13 AM   #18
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"Passing is gay." - Vince Lombardi

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Old 11-29-2011, 10:23 AM   #19
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Well, we've already faced the toughest defenses we are going to face this season, so it's just possible (if our defense keeps playing like it is) that we will win out using this gameplan.
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:33 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by WhoIsJohnGalt View Post
"Passing is gay." - Vince Lombardi



I think a lot of the potential of this kind of offense has to do with doing what the other teams don't do. There's kind of a cycle to these things. Running the ball was so predominant in the old days that teams built defenses to stop it and dare offenses to throw the ball. Over time this led offenses to build more towards throwing the ball. Eventually this will probably swing to far towards passing (maybe it already has) and defenses will become so consumed with pass defense that they'll become too run vulnerable.

Being on a short list of teams who run first in a pass-happy league could be a big competitive advantage.
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:38 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enjolras View Post
Apparently I watch different games, because what I'm seeing isn't "simple" in the slightest. WTF is the difference between reading a secondary to find an open guy on the pass, and reading the front-seven to find open lanes for the running back?

The blocking schemes the Broncos are running are incredibly complex. Hell they've run plays in which the right guard pulls around and seals the edge as the whole line wheels open to create cut-back lanes. This is the most complex running attack I've ever seen.

I hate that the idiots who write about sports have no ability to see that.
John Fox said we'd be running a complex running game, which I took to mean more ZBS.
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:58 AM   #22
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I attended Panthers training camp from the beginning this year, several days. Saw Cam Newton's first several practices as a pro (because of lockout, this was the first time he stepped on the field).

On the first day, they did "inside drills." Practicing the run game only. Like a 7-on-7 for the run game, though I don't remember how many players.

The very first play of the very first drill, Cam faked the handoff, kept the ball, and bootlegged right. Fooled every single one of them.

Later the practiced numerous times handing off and pitching it from the shotgun formation.

I don't know why it's brilliant the way Chud is using Cam, but "high school" they way the Broncos are using Tebow.
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:14 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enjolras View Post
Apparently I watch different games, because what I'm seeing isn't "simple" in the slightest. WTF is the difference between reading a secondary to find an open guy on the pass, and reading the front-seven to find open lanes for the running back?

The blocking schemes the Broncos are running are incredibly complex. Hell they've run plays in which the right guard pulls around and seals the edge as the whole line wheels open to create cut-back lanes. This is the most complex running attack I've ever seen.

I hate that the idiots who write about sports have no ability to see that.
You're not watching a different game, the sportswriters falsely equate the vertical passing game with complex. They don't understand that football is about exploiting matchups either running or throwing the ball. This notion that an option is only a simple high school offense to run is ****ing retarded. One of the reasons why Air Force runs a lot of triple option, is that the cadets are smart enough and disciplined enough to run it correctly.
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:15 AM   #24
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I agree with this article. What the Broncos are doing is high school. I say this because they are not opening up the offense to fully maximize Tebow (which must include more passing, especially on 1st and 2nd down).


High Schools run on 1st and 2nd down, and might pass on 3rd down. Just the same as the Broncos are doing.
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:58 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay3 View Post
I don't know why it's brilliant the way Chud is using Cam, but "high school" they way the Broncos are using Tebow.
Newton is averaging over 35 pass attempts a game...
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