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Time is now for Tebow improvements

10/11/2011

The Denver Broncos are going back to training camp in an attempt to save their future.

The Broncos will have training camp-like practices Tuesday and Wednesday as they adjust to playing with Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback. Denver then breaks for the bye. When the Broncos return Monday, they will fully prepare to begin the Tim Tebow era.

Whether it lasts 11 games or 11 years is up to Tebow.

The team is in for a major adjustment. The truth is, Tebow hasn’t had many repetitions on John Fox’s Broncos. Although Tebow started the final three games of last season, he had been relegated as a deep backup this past summer after a lost offseason due to the lockout. Tebow practices much less than Kyle Orton -- whom Tebow replaces as the starting quarterback -- and even less than Brady Quinn in camp and in the preseason. Once the regular season starts, the backups don’t get a lot of practice time.

It is scramble time as the 1-4 team moves to the Tebow era.

Ironically, though, a lack of practice time with Tebow might not matter much. Dating back to his college days, Tebow has long been known as a better game-day player than a practice player.

As he showed in the second half against San Diego, Tebow takes the ball and runs around, trying to make plays. Yet, in the NFL, if long-term success is going to be achieved, Tebow is going to have to make improvements as a traditional quarterback.

Denver leader and Pro Football hall of Fame quarterback John Elway has often said Tebow will need to show he can be an effective pocket passer to succeed. Tebow has had trouble staying in the pocket and completing accurate passes. On "SportsCenter" on Tuesday, ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge -- who has been critical of Tebow -- broke down several areas Tebow needs to work on.

Hoge expects Tebow to work out of the shotgun often because he bobbled three center snaps in the second half Sunday. The center exchange was an issue during Tebow’s cameo appearance last season. Hoge also said that Tebow’s accuracy is one of his biggest downfalls and that he is unsure whether that can improve.

Denver will do its best to coach up Tebow and allow him the best chance to succeed. There’s no doubt the workaholic quarterback will do his part to try to be successful.

In the end, though, Tebow’s best attribute is being Tebow. You saw it Sunday. He gave his team instant energy. He moved the chains. The entire offense elevated its game. Even the entire defense played better with Tebow cheering it on wildly on the sideline, counting the plays before he could get back on the field as the home crowd roared with an excitement that had been missing for the past two years in Denver.

Tebow brings unbridled enthusiasm to his team. Now, if he can make the necessary quarterback improvements to go with his jolt of energy, the Broncos might be on to something.