DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 09: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos drops back to pass against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 9, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Miami Dolphins host the Denver Broncos on Sunday, and the game has become one of the more popular games on the schedule. Not because the match up is so enticing - it's an 0-5 team hosting a 1-4 team. It's not because of a heated rivalry between the two teams. It's simply one thing, one person, who has brought attention to the game:
But, the Dolphins are ready to shut down the second year quarterback. Their plan? Make him throw.
"He's a big guy. He's put together pretty well," said linebacker Jason Taylor. "He's built like a linebacker and he runs like one. There may come a point in time he's told he needs to be more of a pocket passer or he learns that he needs to be more of a pocket passer, whatever. But in the meantime, if that's the way he makes plays to win the games for them then I'm sure he'll continue to do it. " With 15 years in the league, Taylor know what he's talking about.
"I think he's more excited about running, more willing to run than some quarterbacks," Taylor continued. "Still a lot of quarterbacks that end up running when there is pressure. They have to scramble and create something. I think even a player like Michael Vick; he'll run around if he has to. I don't think there's really called plays where he's going to run a trap or a power play. Tim Tebow will do things like that. They'll call plays like that. He's not a guy that's going to slide. He's going to drop his head and get extra yards. He's a little different from that aspect. But at the end of the day he's a quarterback and we have to defend both the run and the pass against him."
The defense knows it's on them to stop Tebow. They also know, it starts with stopping the run. If the Dolphins can shut down veteran running back Willis McGahee, they can force the Broncos to rely on Tebow. From there, it's a matter of setting the edge on pass rush, and forcing Tebow to make plays with his arm, instead of his legs.
"He's a young quarterback. We know his strengths. We know his weaknesses. If we can keep him in the pocket and not let him get out and run on the perimeter," safety Yeremiah Bell said. "He wants to run that ball. We want to make him a pocket passer. He wants to scramble, and when he scrambles he's looking to throw downfield."
Cornerback Sean Smith knows the rest is up to the secondary. With Tebow's ability to avoid the pass rush, and extend a play, Smith, and the rest of the secondary, have to keep coverage on the Broncos' wide receivers longer than normal.
"You better cover your man a little bit longer," Smith said. "We have to learn from our mistakes. All year we've been giving up the deep ball. If we have to cover a guy for 10 seconds, that's what I have to do. I can't let a guy get over my head."
With the Broncos missing their former Pro-Bowl wide receiver, Brandon Lloyd, who was traded to the St. Louis Rams this week, that job may have become just a little easier. Now, with a road map laid before them, a road map they made for themselves, it's time for the defense to step up and play like the top 5 preseason projection they received. If they can do that, and shut down Tebow's legs, the team has a chance at doing something they haven't done yet this season - win.