NFL teams learning “Tebow time” is plenty real

Neither the statistics nor the production nor the results can be denied at this point. The fact of the matter is that something special happens to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow when the fourth quarter rolls around.

2011 StatisticsQuarters 1-34th Quarter / OT
Comp./Att. (%)43/111 (38.7%)53/87 (60.9%)
Passing Yards514770
P-TD / INT5 / 16 / 1
Att. / Rush Yards53 / 30141 / 216
Rushing TD12

Not only is Tebow more productive near the end of games, he is more efficient and makes the most out of every opportunity he touches the ball because he realizes there are limited chances remaining to pull out a victory.

That is one reason why five of Tebow’s seven wins in 2011 have come via late fourth-quarter comebacks (three were completed in overtime).

However, there are other factors at play here. Tebow’s numbers are also higher later in games because head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy are giving him the opportunity to be more productive through the air by going away from their run-first game plan and calling more passes.

Tebow has thrown the ball 80 times in the fourth quarter this year compared to just 111 through the first three. In other words, more passing plays are being called for Tebow in the final 15 minutes than in any other 30-minute stretch of a game.

One reason for this is that he is keeping drives alive longer by playing better (completing more passes), which partially indicates why his rushing attempts follow a similar pattern. However, Tebow’s coaches are also lining up more passing plays because Denver is often playing from behind and needs to catch up, which makes one curious as to what would happen if they were nearly as aggressive throughout the entire contest.

The abundance of passing plays being called late in games is allowing Tebow to find a groove that he is seemingly unable to establish earlier partially due to the concentrated run effort. He usually starts by completing some short passes and dump offs (taking advantage of the prevent defense) before spreading teams out and throwing down the field for long completions and the occasional bomb.

Denver takes on New England next week, a team that features the worst passing defense in the league (310.0 yards per game) and the 10th-best rushing defense (102.1 yards per game). Considering QB Tom Brady has led his team to 30+ points in each of the last five games (and in 10 of 13 contests this year), Tebow’s best chance at succeeding on Sunday may be to throw early and often.

Should Fox agree and Tebow deliver another performance like he did against Minnesota in Week 13, “Tebow time” could start earlier and last longer than the final 15 minutes.

Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger

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SIX BITS: baseball, softball, Tebow, Brissett

1 » The No. 2 Florida Gators baseball and softball programs found out Thursday that each would have four games featured live on the ESPN family of networks during their respective 2011 regular seasons. Florida baseball – which will be featured on ESPNU’s Thursday Night Baseball Game of the Week with their contest at Arkansas on May 5 at 7:30 p.m. – will also face Georgia (away) on April 16 at 2 p.m. on ESPNU, Alabama (home) on April 23 at 6 p.m. on ESPN2, and Arkansas (away) on May 7 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. Gators softball will have four home games aired live. Their back-to-back games against Alabama on April 23 (4 p.m.) and April 24 (1 p.m.) will air on ESPN2 and ESPNU, respectively, while their consecutive contests against Tennessee on May 7 (12 p.m.) and May 8 (3 p.m.) will be featured on ESPN and ESPNU. All games airing on ESPN or ESPN2 will also be simulcast on ESPN3.com.

2 » Florida softball also found out Thursday that their incoming 2011 recruiting class has been ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPN/RISE. The Gators are bringing in six freshmen including pitcher Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, FL), third baseman Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, FL), infielder Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, MO), shortstop Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, FL), utility player Lauren Haeger (Peoria, AZ), UTL Brianna Little (Middleburg, FL) and SS Katie Medina (Downey, CA). Wrote ESPN: “The Gators had a lot of pressure to bring in a dynamic recruiting class with the group they have leaving this year, and they certainly pulled it off. They bring in a big class of seven athletes that includes two dominating pitchers in Lauren Haeger and Alyssa Bache, power at the plate with big hitters like Bailey Castro and Briana Little, and speed in the infield with tough players like Jessie Damico, Sami Fagan and Katie Medina. The Gators have the best recruiting class of the year, hands down.”

More on Tim Tebow, UF basketball and Jacoby Brissett…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: baseball, softball, Tebow, Brissett

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TWO BITS: Weis checks in, Tebow-Fox future

1 » With National Signing Day fast approaching and the Kansas City Chiefs eliminated from the playoffs, new Florida Gators offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is officially on the job as of Friday. Currently in South Florida at Dwyer High School visiting four-star quarterback Jacoby Brissett (West Palm Beach, FL) [and possibly four-star linebacker Curt Maggitt (West Palm Beach, FL), too], Weis plans to set foot in Gainesville, FL this weekend as a number of prominent recruits will be visiting the University of Florida campus. In addition to speaking with recruits, Weis will also be trying to convince redshirt junior QB John Brantley (and perhaps other offensive players) to stick with the Gators and the new coaching staff.

Uncommitted recruits visiting Florida this weekend include five-star LB Curtis Grant (Richmond, VA) and three-star LB Denzel Perryman (Coral Gables, FL).

2 » Though there were concerns about whether or not a new head coach would believe in Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow as his future starter, those questions seem to have been put to rest (at least temporarily) with the hiring of John Fox. In addition Fox speaking highly of Tebow before the 2010 NFL Draft, the Denver Post reports that Tebow is still in his good graces. “He’s got a lot of intangibles I look for,” Fox said Wednesday. “Where that goes it’s hard to predict. He’s in a developmental stage for sure, but I think he has the makings to be as good as he wants to be.” Perhaps even better news for Tebow is that his offensive coordinator last season, Mike McCoy is expected to be retained as he has a long history coaching under Fox. Though he is drawing interest from other teams, McCoy worked with Fox as his QBs coach with the Carolina Panthers from 2003-07 and passing game coordinator in 2008.

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Could Tim Tebow start Sunday for the Broncos?

With veteran quarterback Kyle Orton performing well in front of him much of the season, Denver Broncos rookie signal caller Tim Tebow was relegated to back-up and spot duty. Though he has scored four touchdowns this year (three rushing), Tebow and many of his fans knew it would be a reach for him to start a game in 2010.

That is until things changed in Denver.

The Broncos began playing worse and worse each week, head coach Josh McDaniels was fired and replaced with interim coach Eric Studesville, and Orton injured his ribs on Sunday against Arizona during a terrible performance.

Those events have led to Tebow taking the majority of first-team snaps during the last two practices even though Studesville claimed earlier in the week that Orton would be his starter. Studesville changed his tune a bit Thursday, saying he was “not in a hurry to make a decision” about his starting QB.

“He did a nice job in practice yesterday. He went in there and ran the huddle, he did a nice job throwing the ball, and going through alert systems in the run game,” offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said, according to The Denver Post. “It was great for Timmy to get in there and have the majority of the snaps. As practice went along he got better and better, he felt more and more comfortable with everybody.”

Columnists and fans in the Mile-High City have been clamoring for the No. 25 overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft to see the field for an extensive period of time behind center. That time may finally come on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Ed Reinke/Associated Press

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