Tebow era over already?

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Tebow era over already?

From Comcast SportsNet

DENVER (AP)Tim Tebow was sacked seven times by the Detroit Lions. Now, he might get sacked by his coach.

A week after salvaging 55 minutes of ineptitude with a miracle comeback in Miami, the Denver Broncos quarterback was good for the first 5 minutes Sunday and then awful the rest of the way in a 45-10 loss to the Lions.

Tebow was off the mark most of the game under relentless pressure by the Lions (6-2), who turned his two turnovers into touchdowns as they snapped a two-game skid and headed into their bye week on a high note.

After the game, Broncos coach John Fox didnt exactly give his quarterback a vote of confidence. Fox said he wanted to evaluate this game before deciding who will be under center when the Broncos (2-5) visit Oakland next Sunday.

It wont be any prettier watching the footage of this one.

Tebow struggled to get the offense into any sort of rhythm, completing just 18 of 39 passes for 172 yards and one score, and most of that yardage came with the outcome long decided. He had happy feet in the pocketmore to do with the Lions pressureand his long, looping throwing motion gave defensive end Cliff Avril enough time to race in, strip the ball and then scoop it up for a 24-yard TD in the third quarter.

Later, cornerback Chris Houston stepped in front of a Tebow pass for the fourth 100-yard interception return in team history.

Just got to improve and get better and come out with a little bit more juice, Tebow said.

Whether thats with Tebow running the show will be a highly discussed and debated topic this week on call-in radio shows. Tebow is keeping out of the fray.

Im just going to get up early and go to work and try to get better tomorrow and consistently improve and be the best person-slash-quarterback for this organization, Tebow said.

He still has the backing of his teammates, who remember the comeback he orchestrated last weekend in Miami more than his lackluster performance against Detroit.

Natural born leader. Hes already proven that, rookie linebacker Von Miller said. Hes a great guy with great character. I feel like he can get it done. Im a believer until the end.

As Tebow struggled, Matthew Stafford picked apart the Broncos secondary, showing hardly any ill effects of an ankle he tweaked the week before against Atlanta. Stafford was on target all day, completing 21 of 30 passes for 267 yards and three TDs.

Feels good now, Stafford said. Feels way better after a win.

His jersey definitely had a lot fewer grass stains than the one belonging to Tebow. Stafford was hardly hit while Tebow was hounded at every opportunity. With a front four featuring standout Ndamukong Suh, Tebow had little time to look for his targets.

That was all part of Detroits game planmake him beat the Lions with his arm.

Hes an athlete. Hes no Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or nothing like that. Or Michael Vick or nothing like that, Houston said. Hes got a long ways to go as far as being a quarterback, but hes a hard worker.

We sent the rush and we were out there on an island most of the time and the D-line just got to him, got a lot of sacks and made him throw the ball up.

Houston was definitely one of the benefactors. He just missed an interception on an earlier play and when the Broncos came back with a similar route, he was ready. Houston jumped in front of the pass and was off to the races.

Given time and patience, Houston believes Tebow can perform at this level.

Hes going to continue to get better in this league, Houston said.

The Broncos started off well in this game by disguising their offensive looks. With Tebow under center, then in shotgun formation, with three backs in the backfield, then none, the Broncos drove down the field on their first drive.

And they looked to have scored on a catch by Eric Decker in the corner of the end zone, only to have the officials rule the catch incomplete and replay validate the call. Denver was forced to settle for a field goal.

From there, the offense went stagnant as Denver gained just 32 yards on its next 22 snaps before going into the locker room trailing 24-3.

We just basically got whipped, Fox said. We got outcoached and outplayed, and weve got a lot of work to do. I think thats very evident.

Last weekend, Tebow inadvertently inspired a phenomenon when he took a knee on the field after a dramatic 18-15 overtime win against the Dolphins and prayed amid all the players celebrating. It became known as Tebowing, and fans all around the country have been posting snapshots online of themselves striking a similar Tebow pose to a website.

Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch got into the act after sacking Tebow, imitating a prayerful pose near Tebow in the first half.

Tight end Tony Scheffler performed a scaled-down version of the Tebow impersonation after catching a 1-yard TD pass against his former team in the second quarter.

Champ Bailey wasnt offended by the behavior, saying that only by stopping teams can that type of celebration be prevented.

Plain and simple, Bailey said. You dont want them celebrating on your fieldstop em. Period.

White Sox snap scoreless streak early, cruise past Indians

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USA TODAY

White Sox snap scoreless streak early, cruise past Indians

The White Sox quickly ended their 23-inning streak of offensive futility and didn't look back. 

A three-run first inning propelled the White Sox to avoid getting swept with a 6-2 win over the Cleveland Indians in front of 24,444 at Guaranteed Rate Field Sunday afternoon. 

Tim Anderson led off the bottom of the first with a double, and after Tyler Saladino dribbled a ground ball through the left side, he came around to score on Melky Cabrera's sacrifice fly. The White Sox last run before that came in the fourth inning of their 9-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday. 

After Cabrera's flyout, Indians right fielder Abraham Almonte made a mess of Jose Abreu's line drive single, allowing it to skip past him to the wall. That error brought Saladino home and allowed Abreu to reach third, and Abreu later scored on Leury Garcia's two-out single to tag a third run on Cleveland starter Danny Salazar. 

Salazar was shaky over his five innings, striking out nine but allowing seven hits and issuing three walks. The White Sox struck again in the fifth inning when Avisail Garcia launched an RBI double off the top of the center field wall. 

Cleveland's inability to catch the ball helped the White Sox push across another run in the sixth inning. After Omar Narvaez drew a leadoff walk, Jacob May put down a sacrifice bunt and hustled to first, where second baseman Michael Martinez — covering for charging first baseman Carlos Santana — had to awkwardly stretch for Santana's underhand toss. Martinez dropped the ball, allowing May to reach.

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Following strikeouts by Anderson and Saladino, Cabrera lined a single to left, and Narvaez was aggressively waved home (a common practice with two outs in an inning). Brandon Guyer's throw easily beat Narvaez to the plate, but Indians catcher Roberto Perez dropped it, allowing Narvaez to score the fifth run of the game.

Another Indians defensive miscue led to the White Sox sixth run in the eighth, when an Abreu ground ball kicked off Santana's spikes and into center field, allowing May to score.  

White Sox starter Derek Holland was solid in his six innings, allowing only a solo home run to Francisco Lindor with three walks and six strikeouts. His toughest test came in the top of the fifth, when he issues a two-out walk to Santana to load the bases but struck out Lindor to end the frame. Holland lowered his ERA to 1.99 with his six innings of one-run ball Sunday. 

The Indians tacked on a late run when David Robertson threw a wild pitch that allowed Lonnie Chisenhall to score with two out in the ninth.

Quality more important than quantity for Bears in 2017 NFL Draft

Quality more important than quantity for Bears in 2017 NFL Draft

NFL teams typically wants as many draft picks as possible. The theory: The needier the team, the more picks required for those needs.

Not sure that this is the true situation confronting the Bears in 2017, however. In fact, something nearly the opposite, a variation on a less-is-more theme, is truer.

For the Bears approaching the 2017 NFL Draft, quality is more important than quantity. “Best available” player is fine, but for a team in major need of true impact difference-makers, a “best-possible” player is paramount. How GM Ryan Pace and his personnel posse accomplish that will be one of the most closely watched and far-reaching dramas of this draft. Because it may require some creativity on the clock, with a dizzying array of scenarios popping up in front of them by virtue of possible picks by the Cleveland Browns at 1 and San Francisco 49ers at 2.

Pace already has been about the business of giving himself the option of going after best-possible rather than simply waiting, staying with the draft board and selecting best-available.

The Bears were among the NFL’s most active teams in free agency. That has taken care of some “quantity” issues (cornerback, wide receiver, tight end), with an eye toward freeing the draft for the pursuit of true excellence, something too few Bears drafts have managed to secure (which is how teams miss playoffs nine times in 10 years and find themselves on third different GMs and coaches in the span of six years).

As he has always had within the context of the overall direction of the football franchise, Pace has a draft plan. More specifically, he also has a structure within which to execute that plan.

Draft “bands”

Besides an overall top-to-bottom ranking of players, the Bears establish various “bands” of players they identify as being worth a pick at a certain spot. Not all players in the band are graded equally, and the Bears may move to trade up if a significantly higher-graded players in the band is within reach, or if they fear other teams leap-frogging them to grab a targeted player.

But the bands allow the Bears to weigh trading back and still being able to select one of the talents in that band. With the Bears sitting at No. 3 this year, the first band in this draft will be a small one.

“We’ll have an elite group of names that we’re confident will be there [at No. 3],” Pace said at the recent owners meetings. “Three names, yeah. But beyond that, [we say,] ‘OK, there’s some pretty good depth in this draft, too, so are there scenarios’ — and it’s easier said than done — ‘where we can trade back.’ Those things’ll be discussed.”

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They’re being discussed right now. The phone in Pace’s Halas Hall office has been increasingly active the past couple weeks — calls ingoing and outgoing — and will become more so this week as the Bears and most of the NFL take the temperatures of trade ideas going into the start of the draft Thursday night. It happens every year about this time: general managers looking to satisfy sometimes-conflicting objectives, one of adding draft picks via trades down where possible, and the other of adding best-possible players, sometimes necessitating trades of picks or players to move up.

For the Bears, this year is a bit out of the ordinary, if only because they hold the No. 3-overall pick in a draft considered extremely talent-rich at certain positions and extremely less so at others. Loosely put, a position such as cornerback is rated deep enough that quality starters can be had even down into the fourth round, so teams likely need not trade up to land a blue-chipper. Conversely, the quarterback position, the one most often targeted for round-one trades up, is short of consensus elites, so again, teams are less likely to trade up to secure one.

The Bears are in position to select a franchise quarterback but opinions vary widely on whether there are clear ones to be had as high as where the Bears draft, as the order now stands. Pace, who established last year his willingness to trade up for what he considers “elite,” is like any other personnel executive in wanting more selections.

The Bears do not want to slip out of a band entirely. When they sat with No. 7 in the 2015 draft, the Bears identified a quiver of eight players deemed worth the seventh-overall pick. Those ranged from quarterback Marcus Mariota to wide receiver Amari Cooper to defensive lineman Leonard Williams, and included Kevin White, one of two from the eight not already selected by that point.

Because the goal was a player judged to be elite, trading down was not a realistic option because of the risk of getting none of their targets and instead settling for the next, lower tier of prospects.

Dealing with market forces

But what will the market allow this time? 

“Yeah, and based on the talent of the guys in those bands, what it would require for us to go back?” Pace said. “Those things are all being talked about and studied now, and we’ll keep on fine-tuning it.

“But you’ve got to have a partner willing to do that, too.”

Pace has been a willing partner for trades either up or down, sometimes in the same draft.

Last year, holding the 11th pick, the decision was made to trade up to No. 9 because of their grade on Georgia edge rusher Leonard Floyd, and the concern that either the New York Giants would take Floyd at No. 10 or another team would leap-frog the Bears and grab him. The Bears wanted a pass rusher and the falloff from Floyd was viewed as significant. Clemson’s Shaq Lawson was the next edge rusher taken (No. 19), he was less the speed player that Floyd was, and concerns about Lawson’s shoulder issues proved valid, requiring offseason surgery that cost him most of his rookie season.
 
On day two, Pace traded down twice with an eye toward landing one of his top second-round-band talents: Kansas State offensive lineman Cody Whitehair.