Since quarterback Tim Tebow took over as the starter in Week 7 against the Miami Dolphins, he has helped the team win five of its last six games.
A big reason the wins keep stacking up is that the Broncos have been protecting the football. Tebow has just two turnovers in those six games, while the offense as a whole has just five — three of which came in a 45-10 loss to the Lions.
“We’re holding our livelihood when we have the football, so we want to take care of it no matter who has it because we know that we want to end every series by kicking the ball — whether that’s a punt, an extra point, or a field goal,” Tebow said. “That’s our goal because we have a great defense, and if we can put them in good situations, we know it’s going to be pretty hard for a team that drives 70-80 yards against them.”
Tebow has thrown just one interception on the year, meaning he has limited opposing offenses from being able to drive down a short field to score. He acknowledges that he could be a little more ambitious with his throws, but ultimately his safe approach has continually allowed the Broncos to be in position to win games late.
“There are probably situations where I should probably force it in there more,” Tebow said. “I’m probably a little too conservative on certain situations, but ultimately we have to take care of the ball. If we do that, then I feel we’ll be in a situation in the fourth quarter to win the game.”
THE FLIP SIDE OF THE BRONCOS OFFENSE
The unique aspects of the Broncos offense have been well-documented.
It is a run-heavy scheme that utilizes several varieties of option plays, something that is common in the college ranks but hasn’t been seen in the NFL in on a regular basis recently.
On one hand, it gives the Broncos a leg up, because many defenses only have one week to prepare for it as all other teams run a different style. However, it also makes it hard for the Broncos coaches because the coaches don’t know how opposing defenses are going to play against it.
“One of the things that is a disadvantage for us is we don’t get to see a lot of people do what we do offensively, so we don’t really get to see how the opponent is going to play,” Head Coach John Fox said.
As a result, oftentimes Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy and his staff have to react on the fly.
“Our players and coaches have done a good job adjusting to that early in the game,” Fox said. “We’ll have to do that again this Sunday.”
MILLER SUSTAINS A THUMB INJURY
The Broncos received unfortunate news this week in linebacker Von Miller’s thumb injury.
Miller, the AFC leader in sacks with 10.5, didn’t practice Wednesday, but Fox said that his status is day-to-day.
Defensive end Elvis Dumervil, who along with Miller are two of just three NFL players to record at least a half sack in each game in November, said that he will be missed if he can’t play Sunday, but he’s confident his teammates will step up.
“He’s a big part of what we do,” Dumervil said. “I don’t know the logistics of it yet, but if he’s not able to go, guys are going to have to step in and elevate their game and try to make up a big part of what he does for this defense.”
That said, Dumervil knows Miller will do everything he can to help the Broncos.
“I’m sure he’ll fight through it and get healthy soon so we get him back,” Dumervil said.
Here is Wednesday’s injury report.
For the Broncos:
DID NOT PRACTICE: Running Back Willis McGahee (illness), linebacker Von Miller (thumb), wide receiver Eddie Royal (toe).
LIMITED: Safety David Bruton (Achilles), tight end Daniel Fells (hand).
FULL: Tackle Ryan Clady (knee).
For the Vikings:
OUT: Cornerback Chris Cook (not injury related).
DID NOT PRACTICE: Linebacker E.J. Henderson (shoulder), running back Adrian Peterson (ankle).
LIMITED: cornerback Asher Allen (shoulder), guard Anthony Herrera (knee), tight end Kyle Rudolph (quadriceps).
FULL: Linebacker Erin Henderson (hamstring), safety Jamarca Sanford (shoulder), tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring).
Below are some photos from Wednesday’s practice.