A day after Tim Tebow, once again, saved the day for his team, Denver coach John Fox referred to him as a “great player” and he wished the oft-examined player wouldn’t be so “scrutinized.”
Also Friday, Fox told the Denver Post that he regretted comments he made to NFL.com earlier in the week. Fox told the website that the second-year quarterback would be “screwed’ if he had to play in a “regular” offense.
The Broncos have been relying on the option offense the past three games to best utilize Tebow's running abilities and minimize his throwing issues. Denver has won all three games and it is 4-1 this season with Tebow as its starter. Tebow has energized the entire team: It is 5-5 and it is a half-game out of first place in the AFC West.
After struggling much of Thursday's game, Tebow led Denver on a stirring 12-play, 95-yard touchdown drive – culminating on a terrific Tebow 20-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds to knock off the visiting Jets 17-13.
Thus, the magic of Tebow continues. No matter his struggles, he has found a way to win. While Denver is not ready to commit to Tebow beyond this season, Fox surely appears to enjoy watching Tebow play. Fox expects him to continue to grow — and says he would love to see the appreciation of Tebow grow, too.
“I get to be with him every day, and ‘horrible’ isn’t in the vocabulary, but I think a guy like him — he’s real; he walks the walk — a guy like that in today’s society, in my mind, ought to be celebrated and not scrutinized to the level that he is,” Fox told reporters in Denver on Friday. “That’s just one man’s opinion, but he’s got our team from 1-4 back to 5-5. … Time will tell when our body of work is done, but I think Tim has done a terrific job.”
There’s no doubt Tebow is doing a lot of great things, despite his lack of ideal pocket-passing ability. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Tebow's clinching score was the longest game-winning touchdown run by a quarterback in the final minute of the fourth quarter in NFL history. Yes, NFL history. Not too shabby, huh?
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Tebow has been more clutch to start his career than legendary Denver quarterback John Elway. It’s the same John Elway who is now Denver’s top football decision-maker and who will ultimately decide if the Broncos move forward with Tebow calling the signals. Comparing Tebow’s eight NFL starts to Elway’s first eight starts, Tebow has a better record, has thrown for more yardage, has thrown more touchdown passes, has thrown fewer interceptions and has run for more touchdowns than Elway, who ended up in the Hall of Fame.
It should be noted, though, there was never any doubt about Elway’s potential as a pro-style quarterback. That’s what Denver’s brass wants Tebow eventually to show.
Until then, the Broncos will continue to run the option with Tebow. Still, in an ESPN Insider piece, Mel Kiper thinks it is a mistake for Denver to run the offense; on Friday, Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan – whose brother Rex Ryan is the coach of Tebow’s last victim – added his voice to the legions who don’t think running the option will result in long-term NFL success.
Still, none of this matters at this point. Tebow is leading the Broncos to victories, and as Fox has pointed out, that is all that matters at this point.