ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –When Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano watched Tim Tebow roll right and elude oncoming Chargers on the final play of the Broncos’ 26-24 Week 5 loss, he had a vision of another quarterback who’s made a successful career out of dodging defenders with power and instinct more than speed.
“(Ben) Roethlisberger,” Sparano said Wednesday. “Because even when you get ‘em, you got to get ‘em.
“There was the very last play of the game last week,” Sparano continued. “He brought them down the field there at the end of the game. He was left, he was right, he was left, he was right and they couldn’t get him down and he ended up making (the throw).
“So those things are problems. You got to have back end discipline and that’s what (Ben) Roethlisberger does well. He can move around like that and they’re hanging on him and he can throw the ball. This guy (Tebow) is a strong guy.”
Strong — and persistent. The questions about his throwing motion, his sub-50-completion percentage and his occasional predilection to run into contact remain, but his ability to sustain the possibility of successful escape from a collapsing play is undeniable.
“The play is never dead with him,” wide receiver Eddie Royal said.
That means receivers and tight ends must keep running — and those staying home to block must keep blocking. It’s simple enough, if exhausting all the while.
“You’ve just got to keep on grinding it out. You’ve got to block for at least four seconds each play,” said right tackle Orlando Franklin, who is now charged with protecting the blind side of the southpaw quarterback.
“He can keep plays alive, so the thing is, you’ve got to keep your head on a swivel when he’s back there,” added running back Willis McGahee. “You don’t ever know when the ball’s going to come. So that’s a good thing, because it keeps the defense on their toes.”
And after doing that, he comes back to the huddle, where his energy manifests itself in a different way.
“He’s our guy, so whatever he feels, we’re going to feel,” McGahee said. “If he comes into the huddle down, that’s not going to be a good sign, so it’s a good thing that he has all this energy going into the huddle, and it’s like we’re following along with it.”
Negative energy from Tebow isn’t a concern, notes wide receiver Eric Decker.
“I’ve never seen him in a bad mood, to be honest,” Decker said. “That’s good to have because a lot of times football is a grind, and some days are harder than others.
“You might not be having the best day physically or mentally, making some mistakes, but you know he’s always looking at the positives, and that’s something that I think will rub off in the huddle.”
The Broncos hope it rubs off on the scoreboard, too.