Tony Dungy on Tebow-led offense: I don’t think it can go very long


Tony Dungy is like a lot of us when watching the Tim Tebow-led Broncos’ offense: Impressed that they’ve managed to find a way to win four out of five games with it, but skeptical that it can work in the NFL over the long haul.

Dungy, the former Colts and Buccaneers coach and current NBC analyst, said on the Dan Patrick Show that he has a hard time seeing how a team can consistently win in the NFL with a quarterback going 9-of-20 for 104 yards, even though the Broncos just won on Thursday night with Tebow going 9-of-20 for 104 yards.

“I don’t know how much longer it can go,” Dungy said. “I don’t think it can go very long. They’re going to have to get some more passing game, some way.”

At the moment, opposing defenses are struggling with what the Broncos can do on the ground: The Broncos had 125 yards against the Jets, including 68 from Tebow, most of which came on the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Dungy said it’s that running attack that makes the Broncos a difficult team to game plan against.

“I think it gives you a lot of problems — defensively, you have to get ready for all those different things and they keep adding new wrinkles to the running game,” Dungy said.

But is adding new wrinkles to the running game really going to be enough for the Broncos to win the AFC West?

“To win those big games you’re going to have to complete some third-down passes, you’re going to have to be able to get some explosive games in the passing game,” Dungy said. “But right now they’re winning, and I’d say they have to be happy.”

They’re very happy in Denver right now. It remains to be seen whether Tebow can keep Broncos fans happy for long, if he doesn’t dramatically improve as a passer.

79 responses to “Tony Dungy on Tebow-led offense: I don’t think it can go very long

  1. I remember the Dolphins used to have some gimmicky running ploy a few years back — the wildcat. How those Dolphins doing these days?

    Gimmicks have no sustainability in the NFL. And Tebow is a gimmick. He’ll be riding the pine or out of the NFL in less than two years.

    Now the evangelicals and media sheep can go ahead and commence with all the thumbs-down votes, even though what I said is completely reasonable.

  2. Tony Dungy is so late with these comments. Like every NFL analyst hasn’t said this already.

    Tebow can win, but he cant play. Sooner or later the first part wont be true anymore…

  3. Thanks Tony, nice guy, but not everybody can rely on Peyton Manning to win for them – Some coaches actually have to do some work.

  4. Let us remember that this is the same guy who went from Mike Shula-to-Les Steckle-to-Clyde Cristensen as offensive coordinators in Tampa before being fired because his offenses couldn’t score. Then Jon Gruden won it all with those players next year. I respect Tony Dungy, but he is the last person I would look to advice on how to coach an offense in the NFL

  5. Funny how people keep saying it won’t work, it can’t work, this team or that team will stop it and yet 4 wins later your still wrong.

  6. i’m not a fan of that style of football, but i find it interesting how no one seems to consider the possibility that tebow will actually start to grow and improve over the course of his career. right now he has an unorthodox foundation. if he never builds the rest of the house, then he won’t last — but the guy has won 4 of 5 on a short leash. that should be good enough to buy him some “learn-as-you-go” time.

  7. Tebow ran THROUGH D. Revis last night. THOUGH him.
    (I’m doin the Tebow pose)lol
    This guy will continue to win game. He can run on any team at will.

  8. I’m reminded of when Mike Vick lead the Falcons to two blowout victories at the start of a season using a new option-style running attack suited to Vick’s abilities. Eventually the defenses caught on.

    Tebow will probably not make it as a NFL starting QB. He still has a lot of value as a red-zone and short yardage specialist QB … if some coach is smart enough to use him that way.

    In the meantime, Tebow at QB is racking up wins for Denver. That puts him above half of the rest.

  9. Tebow is similar to Vick except he finds a way to win games. I’m sure Tim’s passing game will improve if he has the opportunity to develop..

  10. Tony knows a lot about winning big games he was 9-10 in playoff games and lost in the first round 3 out of his last 4 years and this with one of the most prolific offenses of all time, maybe if Tony ran the ball more like they did in their Super Bowl year, he would have won more.

    These pundits have no historical acumen. How many times did the Dolphins pass in Super Bowl VII? 11 times! Griese was 8/11 for 88 yards with 1 TD and 1 pick. Just because it doesn’t fit what everyone else is doing does not mean it won’t work. I guess Broncos are better off passing 40 times and losing right!? Morons!

  11. Teebow is getting credit for these wins, the defense is the real hero’s the last few games they have been playing excellent. Lets start talking about them more and Teebow less.

  12. Funny. When Dungy was here in Tampa, he presided over a great defense but an absolutely dreadful offense. The Bucs won a lot of games by scores of 9-7 and 13-6. It eventually got him fired. Just win, baby.

  13. I don’t see why everyone needs to talk about how Tebow plays he wins games and anyone who thinks he won’t be working on his passing mechanics in the off-season doesn’t know football. He knows what his flaws are and will work to improve them. His passing can only go up from here

  14. Gimmick, trick plays, whatever you want to call their offense the fact of the matter is that this kid has heart and the will to win, something many QB’s will never possess. Its amazing the amount of trash talk and hate this guy has endured these past few months, and you know what all that did? Made that man go 95 yards to score at the most crucial time of a game when the world was watching versus one of arguably the best defenses in football.

    All you haters are only fueling his fire..

  15. Tony “I was nothing without Peyton Manning” Dungy is really going out on a limb on this one. smh

  16. I think it was last week I heard Sterling Sharpe actually say that Tebow made jamarcus Russel look like Warren Moon. The hatred is rampant and Tebow is proving them wrong.

  17. My greatest hope is it will last through 12/4 so the evangelical Donkeys can Tebow the pagan vikequeens. I’m running out of material to use to pick on them.

  18. Not a broncos fan, and I still cover my eyes when he tries to pass, but that closing drive last night was something else. The o-line is 100% behind this guy, and the crowd was crazy. You can win a lot of games that way.

  19. I love the wins, but they have all been close and have not been against a good team (ie. contender)

    While I love the running game, until Tebow starts throwing the ball with some kind of accuracy, we are a one dimensional offense.

    This is not a sustainable winning model. Have to keep defenses honest and guessing.

    If he was able to pass better, it would open up so much more as well as make a decent run attack better.

    We’ve been fortunate/lucky so far to come out on the winning side.

  20. He should wear one of those lil kiddie hats that has the propeller on it during interviews!!!!!……………Disney should also start picking up Bronco games?……..

  21. I’m not a Tebow lover or hater. But after watching that game last night a few things struck me. For one, it seemed as if the Broncos didn’t let Tebow run until the the fourth quarter, and then on that 95 yard touchdown drive he had several rushes, including the 20 yard score. I don’t understand why they would limit his carries when that’s such a big strength of his game. Second was his passing, and how horrible it was. He has really good arm strength from what I saw, but the accuracy was very much lacking, I’ll give him a tiny break since he did have two or three drops that should have been catches. But he had more than two or three where he just missed. His final drive was very entertaining as a fan, I just wish Denver would cut him loose for an entire game.

  22. If I were the broncos id be ecstatic because tony dungy is almost never right! I.e. skins to win the east after a 3-1good start, and “no way cowboys beat the eagles back to back weeks ” (2 years ago week 17. & divisional playoffs) just give him a show on hbo that airs around midnight so nobody has to hear this poor excuse for a commentator

  23. First, it was “Tebow can’t win in the NFL”… that he’s 4-1….it’s…..”Well, he can’t win forever in the NFL.”

    Just 8 games started, no offseason after his rookie year due to lockout…..what if….this guy becomes a better passer?

    Maybe he will never improve, but I’m not going to bet against this guy.

  24. Who cares? Tebow to me is a guy you want to root for and sure its not pretty and I have no idea what the future holds for him as a quarterback. But watching him last night, if he had to make the switch to a runningback, I think he would be a pro bowler. His patience behind blockers and decisiveness in spotting the open lanes could make him the next John Riggins or Larry Czonka. Or even Jerome Bettis. All of them were hall of famers (Bettis should be if not already, can’t remember).

  25. Dungy is right. The option cannot hold up in the NFL. Tebow is definitely a gamer, but if he doesn’t improve dramatically with his passing skills he won’t last long. I saw the Jets defenders reluctant to take the hits to make the plays. Cromartie had a chance to make the stop but obviously just didn’t want to take on Tebow in the open field. The DB’s for the Jets are responsible for what happened. Somebody has to take on the blockers on an option play. You have to strip the blockers away from the runner before a play can be made.

  26. Good lord, give the kid a break. Everybody has an opinion of Tebow.

    He wasn’t supposed to be able to play at any level with his accuracy and pocket presence, let alone his long wind up, yet he has.

    He came to the NFL. He’s completely humble and works hard to get better. How about people stop comparing him to Tom Brady for a second and realize he’s really only been the starter for 5 games. Of coarse in the long run this won’t work. That’s why you do what can work now and let him get better, or see if he doesn’t improve, with time. He is unique and he’s not fully crisp by any means yet. Doesn’t mean he can’t continue to work on it.

    His team plays hard for him and he plays hard for his team. He doesn’t look pretty, it’s completely unorthodox, and, to this point, it has worked. And it’s worked against some pretty good teams by the way.

    Let the kid learn. It doesn’t happen in 5 games. But, at this point, opinions aside, Tebow is a winner. There is no way to deny that. He won in high school, he might be the greatest college player ever, and now he’s winning as a professional. Those are facts, not opinions. It might not continue, but to this point lets at least deal in facts, not opinions.

    Also, just to end this. I remember before the season. All the coaches were crying about how Orton gave them the best chance to win. Hmm…..Orton, 1-4…..Tebow, 4-1. Oh well…. guess everybody will have opinions. Anyways, give the kid some time. My QB, Stafford, just had a horrible game. Freeman has had a horrible season in general. Sanchez threw a pick-6 yesterday. But every time Tebow even throws an incomplete pass everybody says he’s no good. Never seen such hatred for a young man just trying to get better. Also, notice how when they let him personally take over the plays using his instincts at the end of games, the offense moves? Maybe they should let him do it more often. Maybe the O-coordinator needs to be called out more, not always Tebow.

  27. Haven’t we all be taught over the past 5 weeks that we’ve all been humbled by Tebow? No, it isn’t pretty. No, it’s not conventional or how we would like it done, but he keeps finding a way to get it done and won 4 of 5.

    I seem to remember Revis and Rex Ryan saying something similar just a few days ago…

  28. It doesn’t matter if he was any good 3 years ago or will be 3 years from now. He’s winning right now. Whether anyone thinks he’s going to be any good or not, who honestly had the Broncos in the playoff race 6 weeks ago? Good for Bronco fans and good for Tebow.

  29. Here’s what I like about Tebow and his chances. He’s already been exposed once this season. The Lions ran over his face time and time again in that severe beating. But the guy got right back up and won two huge games after that – in Oakland and at home against a very good Jets defense. The guy refuses to give up. He’s a terrible passer, but so is Mark Sanchez and nobody bags on him like they do Tebow.

  30. I think Tebow’s strength right now, other than his running ability, is obviously his determination, which will help him develop into a quarterback that can actually throw the ball, assuming he’s got a competent coaching staff that can actually develop him.

    I think a lot of guys with potential end up being screwed by a crappy coaching staff when they get to the NFL.

  31. Tebow/Denver will have issues when they have to play a team like the Patriots, Saints, or Packers. The teams that can put up 21 points in the blink of an eye early and often or the teams Tebow/Denver won’t beat. The Lions while not on the level of the other 3 or built in that mold and look what they did.

  32. the defense has been winning those games. there will be a chance to prove he can (or can’t) pass when they’re down by a couple of TD’s in the 1st q.

  33. We all know it won’t last, but like the run and shoot it’s kind of fun to watch something different.

  34. It obviously can’t continue like this but it’s possible Tebow will improve the passing aspect of his game. Michael Vick used to be a terrible passer but he improved a lot in that area. Tebow was a project when he was drafted but he got thrown in there because he was a first-round pick. He keeps surprising everyone, so I’m not sure how surprised I would be if his passing game significantly improves over the offseason.

  35. Dungy should just keep quiet. The only reason he lasted as long as he did was because Peyton Manning carried him.

  36. If the Sanchez wasn’t horrible last night the Jets win easily. Denver had great field position all night but couldn’t do anything with it. The only successful drive was when the Jets were worried about stopping the big play which left running lanes for Tebow open and CB who didn’t want to tackle anyone.

    Also Denver has gone from 26.25 point a game under Orton to 25 points a game with Tebow. Tebow is a product of defense playing better against worse, worse teams and some luck more then his skill level.

    Denver is winning which is good, but against easy beatable opponents. I think they go 3-3 the rest of the way and get demolished in the first round (see the Detroit game). Next year, who know if the AFC West is as bad as it is, then Denver may have success (I don’t know what division AFC West plays next year and if they win the AFC West I would chalk the first place team game as a loss)

  37. To think they can win a super bowl might be a little insane, but to think they can’t finish with a winning record is naive. Why are there 10 articles on here about people not thinking this offense will work? Find someone who does, that would be a good story. I for one think with all of these defenses personnel and schemes so geared up to stop the pass and the traditional run game, that it is possible for the broncos to keep succeeding. What kills opposing teams is when Tebow hits on a deep bomb since they are so geared toward stopping the run. Its a very intriguing offense, and much more creative I think than the wildcat.

  38. Whether it works or not isn’t my question. I wonder how in Tony’s eyes, Vick and Newton are the most electrifying players in the games, but Tebow won’t last? Hmmmmm…..

  39. Stop the run and you stop the Broncos/Tebow. And scoring enough to prevent that final drive magic he has would be a good idea too. Until someone can do that, Tebow may just keep winning.

  40. Why cant it last? People talk about some of he greatest qb’s. Unitas, namath, bradshaw, etc. you think they would be as succusful as tebow is currently. Just because he is not doing it their way does not make it the wrong way. If he played in the 30’s 40’s and 50’s we would rwmember him as the greatest qb to ever play the game. Probably player. Up there with jim brown. He is throwback. His never die attitude is throwback. His team being a personification of his atitude towards quitting is throwback. I was wrong about him and now…. Im glad I was.

  41. the media sheep subscribe to the “Tim Tebow is a gimmick” banality, but projection is always fun.

    The option ain’t no fad: the thing has been around as long as football, and it’s succeeded on every level of the game except this one. There’s never been a stronger, bigger, hardier, more willful QB to play the game than Tim Tebow, and using him in a run-intensive/read option type of offense can work for a long time in this league. But people don’t like the boat rocked, and the prototypical mold to be amended for anyone. Especially not for a dude who wears his beliefs on his sleeve.

  42. Having faith in Jesus will only take you so far in the NFL. Sooner or later you’re going to have to be able to pass the ball.

  43. Ha ha, imagine them trying to run those plays against the 49ers defense…1st & 10, 2nd & 15, 3rd & 22 incomplee pass, punt, Teddy Ginn punt return TD…ha ha.

  44. For Denver its game by game. They are working with what they have and winning ugly versus finesse is still a win. Teams that are successful are made up of individuals who strive to win with no fear of loss. Tebow may not be NFL conventional but, he is helping the team win now in the short term. He knows who he is and seems to try to improve his skillset in order to maintain his dream of being an NFL QB.

  45. NUMBERS and ATTENTION. 80,000 fans plus 10.5 million viewers. Entertaining football like Tebowmani is good for football. Fans deserve variety. Differences and objections are what make life interesting. March on Tebow nation, it’s your time!!!

  46. I think Tebow will have a very successful and lucrative career…

    … in the CFL.

    (and if not, I hear the Jets might be looking for a Quarterback)

  47. Tebow success reminds me a lot of the early Wildcat success — which of course, is now totally obsolete.

    Denver will eventually need more and anyone who thinks different is completely delusional.

  48. Every offense needs to evolve with time to keep defenses from stopping it. This Tebow thing will be no different. However, who is say that Tebow’s passing won’t improve when the defenses end up with 9 guys in the box on every play to shut down the run?

    I’m still not 100% sold on Tebow long term, but I know I cannot stand hearing any more from Trent Dilfer on how Tebow won’t stand a chance until he plays more like Trent Dilfer did.

  49. Tinkle….bringing the suicide of Dungy’s son is beyond low. The biggest fear/heartache of every parent is having to bury a child. You are sick. I don’t care for Dungy as a commentator, but WTF does Dungy’s family tragedy have to do with it…nothing. Let me repeat- you are a cruel person.
    Maybe the reason Dungy is trying to mentor the NFL’s problem children is because that is a way he can honor his son’s memory…and to hopefully prevent other parents from losing a child.

  50. The NFL old timers must be laughing their arses off. The run is Gimmicky……kind of like that new fangled forward pass.

    This is throwback football. The Broncos have a good chance at success because NFL defenses are built to stop the pass. Whether it is the greatest show on turf or the West Coast offense. Defensive tackles are lean and mean while the defensive ends are 4.5 40 linebackers. The NFL has changed. Has it changed enough that we can go back to the beginning and have a team win some games with a wishbone…..time will tell.

  51. OK, first things first. Just like he did in Miami, Tebow was dreadful for 55 minutes and very good for the last five. Someone has to explain to him that games last 60 minutes!

    Second, buried under all that magic is the fact that Mark Sanchez threw a pick-six to tie the game. Had it not been for that giftwrapped TD, there would have been no heroics.

    And finally, like the Wildcat before, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the league gets wise. When that happens, Denver is in trouble because Tebow can’t pass!

  52. Im getting pretty tired of this guy. All he ever has to say is something someone else already said, or how every black players who goes to jail should still get an nfl job. Oh and also “when I was in Indianapolis” which should really be “when Payton won for me”

  53. Does anyone care what Tony Dungy thinks? Tebow has McNabb/Vick stats from early on in their careers and they have been pretty damn good. It is not the best offense and he’s not the best QB but he is winning and has comparable numbers to good company early on. I hate when people constantly make everything a race thing but come on here, would this be a discussion if…?
    Stop ripping the mans game. Derelle did it then he completely sold out on tackling Tebow on the game winning drive.
    Not a Tebow fan, religious person or Broncos fan but am giving this guy the props he deserves for being a great scrambling QB.

  54. “March on, Tebow Nation. It’s your time.”

    Seriously? This is a .500 ball club that will be sub .500 at the end of the season. Dim bulbs like you are the reason real football fans are so eager to point out the untenable nature of Tebow’s QB abilities and the Donkey’s “success.”

    Awww, the Denver Broncos.

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!

  55. NFL defenses are built on stopping the pass. Right now they haven’t adjusted to the run, so kudos to John Fox and Teblow for taking advantage. NFL offenses aren’t very innovative compared to the college ranks so they ought to use more plays to take advantage of the Messiah’s strengths.

  56. People hate Tebow and have this insatiable lust for him to fail because they see in him everything they lack. He has poise, humility, an incredible work ethic, a desire to serve and be used for the greater good. He is nothing like pretty boys “look at me, I’m so great and it’s all about me” Tom Brady and Tony Romo.

    Admit it. You people hate him because you can’t stand the possibility of real goodness in this world. Brats. Go back to your miserable, empty lives.

  57. If Tebow even gets a little better in the passing game, like, for instance, actually hitting an open receiver, he is going to be extremely difficult to deal with.

    And for those of you who didn’t see how he managed to drive them 95 yards for a score in the last two minutes last night, it was because they used a spread offense with four receivers, which gave Tebow the option of throwing or running, and, if he chose to run, having to only beat one or two guys because the defense was so spread out.

    I hope Fox was paying attention because this is the way to keep winning with Tebow.

    As for all of you haters out there, your jealousy makes you pathetic and petty, and I hope this “solid” kid continues to win and rub your moronic noses in it. And even if he doesn’t, he’s still accomplished more in five games than most of you will accomplish in your entire miserable lives, so try that on for perspective…

    BTW, love your post, rdnugent! 🙂

  58. I am so tired of sanctimonious critics like Dungy/Young etc. complaining about Tebow. They start with this attitude that the NFL is as important as brain surgery and can only be done one way. They forget it’s a kid’s game played by adults for adult entertainment and Tebow is entertaining, even if he usually bores you for 3 quarter first. Would they please get off the soap box and just let us enjoy him making the Dungys look stupid week after week. In the off-season Cam Newton can hire him to learn how to win games rather than pile up meaningless passing stats.

    PS: I’m an agnostic so no Come to Jesus angle with this post.

  59. rdnugent says: Nov 18, 2011 5:00 PM

    People hate Tebow and have this insatiable lust for him to fail because they see in him everything they lack. He has poise, humility, an incredible work ethic, a desire to serve and be used for the greater good. He is nothing like pretty boys “look at me, I’m so great and it’s all about me” Tom Brady and Tony Romo.

    Admit it. You people hate him because you can’t stand the possibility of real goodness in this world. Brats. Go back to your miserable, empty lives.
    No, what I can’t stand is zealots who act as if supporting Tebow was a requirement of the faith, and that questioning his ability as a Qb was somehow an attack on Christianity. Let me leave you with an idea I found in a really Good Book I’ve ready a number of times: Thous shalt not worship false idols.

  60. @tinkletinkleonyourstar:
    Thats a horrible thing to say to a man that lost a son. Shame on you!
    But anyway, Tebow just keeps winning! And I love how everyone keeps saying : “he wont do it on this team” or “that team”.. Meanwhile he is doing it! And as a true Broncos fan, I truly don’t believe it will continue to work.. But Im hoping he is at least workin on his timing and route reading, etc. We shall see…

  61. I’m so tired I people stating the obvious, “it’s not Tebow, its the Defense”. Well, thanks for pointing out the onvious u genius!! U r so much smarter than the rest of us.

    Of course, some of us recognize it’s both!!! The D is fantastic, and Tebow’s offense is doing enough to get the win. If it was so easy, Mark Sanchez or Kyle Orto would do it.

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