Patriots say they won't underestimate Tebow
Heading into Saturday's matchup with the Broncos, the Patriots know a
lot more about Denver quarterback Tim Tebow now than they did prior to
the teams' Week 15 showdown in Colorado.
heart and desire have never been a question, but his throwing accuracy
and ability to play the position in a conventional manner have come
under fire since the moment he took over for Kyle Orton.
Some of those questions were answered in last weekend's playoff game
when Tebow burned Pittsburgh's top-ranked defense for several big
plays, including the 80-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in overtime.
What Tebow has proven, albeit
in a small sample size, is he can make big plays, which is a concern
for a New England team susceptible not only to big plays but prolific
passers in general. That will undoubtedly be a major focal point this
week as the Patriots prepare for the teams' rematch in the AFC
"They've made some changes,
(as) you can definitely see with the last game," said Devin McCourty,
who may split time at cornerback and safety Saturday. "Just taking more
shots down the field, they threw some balls up there, and they got some
guys that can come down with them and catch them. They definitely threw
some more vertical passes."
Along with everyone in
New England's secondary, McCourty respects Tebow's ability to throw
downfield, even pointing out the accuracy in Tebow's 30-yard touchdown
pass to Eddie Royal in the third quarter Sunday.
"That pass to Eddie Royal was a small window to get it in there, and it
was a pretty good throw," McCourty said. "He does so many different
things well -- running the ball, throwing the ball. He's just dynamic,
and when he runs the ball, he's tough to bring down, so he's definitely
a different type of quarterback."
The Patriots have
the upper hand based on the fact this game is in Foxboro, not to
mention their 41-23 win over the Broncos in Week 15, but the majority
of the players in New England's locker room feel as though this Denver
team has improved drastically in a short amount of time.
"I honestly feel they have," safety Patrick Chung said. "They're still
in the playoffs, still winning games. That speaks for itself."
The confidence stemming from last week's playoff win might be a factor,
too. For what it's worth, most analysts figured Pittsburgh would win
that game on the road despite its banged-up lineup.
A win over the top-seeded Patriots in Foxboro would be the ultimate
measuring stick, but keep in mind the Broncos couldn't stop New
England's offense the last time the two teams meet.
Generally, any playoff rematch results in slight overhauls for both
sides of terms of game-planning and preparation, but the Patriots
already know they can beat Denver. The key now is adjusting to whatever
changes have been made and not falling victim to the Tebow hype
spreading throughout the country.
"I just think
that any time there's anything new -- and (Tebow is) obviously new,
he's done some incredible things this season -- I think the hype is
justified," Patriots left tackle Matt Light said. "I think when you go
out and lead a team like that, make the kind of plays that they are
making, people are going to talk about you.
think we've always done one good thing here, and that's staying within
our own locker room, staying within the framework of what we have to do
and not get caught up in all that stuff. Hopefully that won't be a
SERIES HISTORY: 45th all-time meeting.
Broncos lead regular-season series, 25-17. Patriots have lost both
postseason meetings (1986 and 2005) and are 8-9 against the Broncos in
Foxboro, including 1-2 in Gillette Stadium.