NFL: Finally Tebow time?

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 10, 2011

Associated Press
The NFL notebook …
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. ó The football world will have to wait another day to find out if Tim Tebow was only keeping Kyle Ortonís seat warm or whether heís pushed the veteran to the end of the bench.
Denver Broncos coach John Fox said heíll wait until Tuesday to announce his starting quarterback.
He gave his players the day off Monday and didnít want to let everyone else know before Tebow, Orton and their teammates find out.
Besides, he insisted, even he didnít know the answer yet.
ěNo. I think, obviously, there is a lot of communication. We have to communicate as a staff, as a building, and go from there,î Fox said.
Tebow replaced Orton after halftime Sunday and energized the Broncos and their fans during a 29-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers that came down to the final play.
Despite flawed footwork and trouble handling the snaps from center J.D. Walton, Tebow threw for a touchdown and ran for another in nearly erasing a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit. After his throw into the end zone as time expired fell incomplete, a thunderous roar of ěTebow! Tebow! Tebow!î rocked the stadium.
Only this time, the appreciative crowd was celebrating his insertion into the lineup and imploring Fox to keep him there.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. ó So long as the Buffalo Bills keep winning, coach Chan Gailey wonít complain too much about the alarming number of yards his defense is allowing.
Heíll gladly trade those ballooning numbers in exchange for how adept his opportunistic unit has been in producing turnovers.
ěIf we keep getting four and five turnovers a week, you can discount a few of those yards,î Gailey said, Monday. ěIt would be lovely to have both, but you donít get that all the time. You need to have one or the other.î
The Houston Texans lost more than a game over the weekend ó they lost outside linebacker Mario Williams for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.
Williams appeared to get hurt while sacking Oaklandís Jason Campbell with about five minutes left in the first quarter. He walked to the locker room on his own, and was on the sideline in the second half, wearing a T-shirt and shorts.
Coach Gary Kubiak said Monday that Williams will go on injured reserve and have surgery on the chest muscle.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. ó Adrian Peterson has largely let his play do the talking for him during his first four seasons in the league.
With his Minnesota Vikings off to an 0-4 start, something had to change.
Peterson promised to be a more vocal leader in an effort to get the team turned around, and he delivered on that in a 34-10 victory over Arizona on Sunday.
The $36 million man put his mouth where his money is.
Peterson didnít just rush for 122 yards and three touchdowns. He delivered a couple of pep talks to his offense in the second half to make sure they didnít give another big lead away.
ěI just came out with the mindset of, by any means, get it done,î Peterson said. ěDo your part. And thatís the message I told the guys up front. ëDo your part, get it done. Do it for 60 minutes until the whistle blows.íî
Coach Leslie Frazier said he planned to pull the offensive line aside late in the fourth quarter to urge them to finish the game strong and not let the Cardinals get any hope of getting back in the game after falling behind 28-0 in the first quarter.
Thatís when Peterson stepped in.
ěHe said, ëCoach I got it. Let me talk to them. Iíll handle it,íî Frazier said. ěI was like, ëWhoa, this is our star player stepping up in a leadership role and saying, ëIíll handle it. Let me handle it.íî
For the first time all season, the Vikings closed a game out, getting Frazier his first victory as the permanent head coach in Minnesota and the team its first win of the season ó one it desperately needed. The Vikings (1-4) play at Chicago on Sunday night and then host Green Bay, two must-wins if they have any hope of being a factor in the NFC North.
The sense of urgency was evident in Peterson all week. After the Vikingsí fourth straight defeat to start the season ó a woeful effort in Kansas City ó Peterson vowed to take a more active role in the locker room.
For all the force and ferocity he plays with on the field, Peterson has been quiet and humble in the locker room. Heís a favorite among teammates and one of the leagueís shining stars, but Peterson deferred to more established veterans such as Steve Hutchinson, Jared Allen and Brett Favre when it came to locker room leadership.
He signed a huge contract extension in the offseason, and now in the middle of his fifth season, it appears that Peterson has become more comfortable voicing his opinion.
ěWe did what we have been preaching and I sensed it,î Peterson said. ěI sensed it in all phases, defensively, offensively, special teams ó the guys came out ready to play, came out with the mindset of finishing four quarters. I feel like when we do that as a team, we canít be stopped.î
Peterson also continued to set an example on the field. He ripped off three touchdowns in the first quarter against the Cardinals, scoring on runs of 4, 24 and 14 yards to get the Vikings off on the right foot. He twice ran over rookie defensive back Patrick Peterson near the goal line to set the tone early.
Only four other players have scored three TDs in the first quarter of a game in league history ó Eric Dickerson in 1988, James Stewart in 1997, and Stephen Davis and Tim Biakabutuka in 1999.
ěWhen youíve got a running back like 2-8,î receiver Percy Harvin said, ějust give him a little something and heíll make the most of it.î
Leadership in the locker room hasnít been an issue in Minnesota, where Allen, Hutchinson, Kevin Williams and E.J. Henderson have formed a solid front in delivering Frazierís message to the rank and file and keeping the team together during the difficult start.
But Frazier was elated to see the face of the franchise assume a bigger role in that area as well.
ěFrom my vantage point, that is huge when you get that out of your best players,î Frazier said. ěHeís a great player and turned out to be an excellent leader for us as well.î
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The Associated Press
10/10/11 19:10