Tim Tebow attracts a crowd wherever he goes.
Whether he’s in Arizona — where the away crowd chanted his name even though he spent the game on the sidelines holding a clipboard — or at INVESCO Field at Mile High, you can bet the eyes of thousands are trained on the rookie quarterback.
With two NFL starts under his belt, Tebow will have another group of observers leading up to this weekend’s home game against the Chargers. San Diego’s coaching staff will devote a fair share of their week dissecting game tape of Tebow as they develop their game plan.
“I think we have an advantage over what Houston had,” Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner said in a Wednesday conference call.
“We have a lot of tape on him. He played awfully well, and they really opened it up in the second half when they got behind, so we have a pretty good exposure to look at.”
Turner speculated that his team will have to defend plays from Tebow that did not show up during the Broncos’ 24-23 comeback victory against Houston last week, and Interim Head Coach Eric Studesville agreed.
Tebow’s coaches have scrutinized the signal-caller’s performance as well. Studesville said the offense’s options will continue to grow as Tebow becomes more comfortable running the scheme.
As opponents develop their attack based on Tebow’s previous performance, the quarterback’s coaches will attempt to tailor more and more plays to his strengths.
“People are going to throw more at him,” Studesville said. “We are giving him more, so hopefully we are giving him more ammunition to be able to counteract some of those things, but every game that people have more tape on him they look at things that they may want to try to stop him from doing or think that we may want to do with him.”
Studesville said that as Tebow continues to take more reps, his experience will equip him to deal with the unexpected schemes he might face. Every play is a learning experience.
Tebow said now that he’s in the game, he can pick up more than Xs and Os.
“There is nothing necessarily like playing and having those real reps,” he said. “Going through mistakes and going through the good things that I did and being able to feel that out and understand, ‘OK, this is the timing of this and this is how I have to do it.’”
Daniel Graham has already observed Tebow’s progression through the quarterback’s first two starts. He said he expects to see a more polished performance from the rookie in the last week of the season.
“I expect him to be a lot better than the first two,” Graham said. “He’s improved from his first game and I expect him to improve from his last game and see where he made his mistakes, where he can get better and where he can help his team.”
A lesson learned at the University of Illinois helped lead Brandon Lloyd to his first Pro Bowl season.
In a Wednesday press conference, Lloyd credited Ron Turner — his old college coach and the brother of San Diego’s head coach — with instilling in him one of the values required of an effective wide receiver. When Lloyd’s college quarterback was leaving the team, Turner delivered a message that stuck with the receiver throughout his eight-year NFL career.
“Coach Ron Turner called me in the office and says, ‘Hey, I can have my daughter (at quarterback), you just need to be where you need to be when you are supposed to be there.’ So, I have been just carrying that with me my entire career,” Lloyd said.
The league’s leader in receiving yards emphasized that he simply tries to be where he’s supposed to be and make it easy on whoever might be throwing him the ball. Lloyd has posted 100-yard receiving games with two different quarterbacks under center this season, and he said he’s always confident he can make the tough catch in any situation.
He’s played for two different head coaches, too, but Lloyd has been a rock.
“He is a receiver that I totally trust,” Tebow said. “When I have an opportunity to put it up for him, I am going to take advantage of that, because he just goes out there and makes plays every week and he is tough to cover.”
When the 2011 Pro Bowl rosters were announced yesterday, Lloyd said he was “shocked” and “humbled.” He said he had dreamed of taking the trip to Honolulu to partake in the NFL’s perennial All-Star game since he was little.
He does not play down the honor to be mentioned in the same breath as Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne. With one week left in the season, he has more receiving yards than both of them.
In Denver he found what eluded him in San Francisco, Washington and Chicago.
“I am humble because this is what I asked for. I asked for more opportunities and I got them, and it worked,” Lloyd said.
“Being selected to the Pro Bowl, it was the most humbling experience of my life — in my professional career.”
-Gabe Hiatt, DenverBroncos.com
Below are photos from Wednesday’s practice: