Smarts and efficiency set Tebow apart

Smarts and efficiency set Tebow apart
December 18, 2011, 4:52 pm
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DENVER - The go-to number when discussing Tim Tebow's quarterbacking (aside from the wins) is his completion percentage.How can a guy win six straight games in the NFL of 2011 when he's completing only 48 percent of his passes? It's the worst in the league. But the stat that helps explain why he is successful - and it's a stat that goes back to Florida and likely before - is giveaways. Tim Tebow doesn't turn the ball over. In his eight starts, he's been intercepted twice and thrown 11 touchdowns. He's fumbled three times. His interception percentage is one percent. Best in the NFL. Josh Freeman's thrown 18 picks. Cam Newton's thrown 16. We could go on. But being at the bottom of the league in completion percentage is a lot worse if some of those incompletions are caught by the other team. Tebow's are not. Hence, his very capable defense is not put in bad situations one or more times per game as the rest of the league's defenses are. And how often are we told that turnovers and red zone play are the key indicators for wins and losses? (Lots). Another stat? Not only is Tebow 32nd in completion percentage, he's also 32nd in rushing. Among all rushers. He's got the second-most yards among quarterbacks behind Newton's 554. Tebow's got 517. Look at it this way, on those 91 runs, he's averaging 5.5 per carry. Add the 517 yards rushing to the 1,290 passing and you have a player who's got 1,807 positive yards from scrimmage and five turnovers (he's lost three fumbles). And he's done that in eight starts. This is how Tebow has operated though. In college, he threw 88 touchdown passes and 16 picks. There were 40 games in which he was the Gators' true starter in the SEC where he played under scrutiny, pressure and against the best competition and athletes in college football. That helps explain why he's so good in end-game situations as well. By way of comparison, Mark Sanchez had 15 starts at USC. And he threw 14 picks in those games. Tebow is a more experienced, tested, smarter and productive quarterback than he's been given credit for. And even though his completion percentage is down, he's a pretty complete player.