Taking a look at this Denver Bronco offense, there isn’t a whole lot of talent or big-play ability. Willis McGahee is out for at least a few weeks, third-year running back Knowshon Moreno hasn’t developed how they had hoped he would, and now their explosive number one receiver is catching balls in St. Louis. Enter Tim Tebow, Mr. Comeback, himself. He must be stopped.
Tebow was given go-ahead to start over the struggling Kyle Orton in week 7 against the Miami Dolphins, where he manufactured an incredible comeback win in the final five minutes and overtime. He played relatively poorly for the firt three quarters and had basically no passing game to speak of. In the end, Tebow tallied 161 yards through the air with two TD passes, along with 59 rush yards in an 18-15 overtime win. Yes, the Dolphins are winless and yes, there were probably more questiones raised about the second-year pro than were answered.
But the Broncos still won, and ultimately, the Lions don’t care about Tim Tebow, comebacks, numbers or statistics. They care about getting the win. Tebow was able to keep this game alive with his feet rather than his arm, which is what the Lions should be focusing on containing this weekend.
In order to avoid plays like this: Tim Tebow Escapes, the Lions are going to have to take care of business on defense. Gunter Cunningham has done a pretty good job so far this year, but will have to be on his game moreso than usual. I think the Lions are going to have to use some special tactics in order to limit his effectiveness. Tebow must be kept in the pocket. Like most other shifty quarterbacks in the league, he excels once the pocket breaks down and the pressure is felt.
I expect to see less blitz packages in this game than usual, which isn’t a ton to begin with. But wouldn’t they want to disrupt this young, raw quarterback and force him into poor decisions? Perhaps, but that may not be the strategy. The blitzes that we should see will likely be from the edges in order to reach the quarterback quickly. Lions cornerbacks haven’t been in the backfield much this year, but this is the time to unleash the hounds and see what happens. Chris Houston could have a game charging in on Tebow’s blind-side (he throws left handed).
Mostly though, I think that Cunningham will rush four for pretty much all of the game. The front four on the Lions D have more than enough ability to occupy the line, forcing Tebow to throw the ball, which is great for the secondary. Another thing they’ll have to think about is the spread of the D line; Tebow is lethal out of the pocket, but if the line over-flanks and opens a hole up the middle, he’ll tuck and run without thinking twice. This also leaves the Lions vulnerable to the draw play.
For this reason, expect to see a QB spy for a lot of plays, especially on second/third and longs. I believe they’ll assign Durant and Carpenter to the tight ends and Stephen Tulloch to cover the backfield recievers, which allows DeAndre Levy to hover in the middle as the designated Tebow-Stalker.