ENGLEWOOD Tim Tebow has tried everything else. Now, hes going to set his alarm for the crack of dawn.
Maybe the early bird will get the offense rolling.
With the Denver Broncos relying on his last-minute magic to pull off six comebacks in the eight games hes started, Tebow joked maybe he should arrive at the stadium even earlier than he already does on game days, perhaps toss a few more pregame passes than usual.
Hes open to anything to try to find his rhythm sometime before halftime instead of well after.
A faster start definitely may be needed with Tom Brady leading the high-scoring New England Patriots (10-3) into Denver for a showdown with the resurgent Broncos (8-5) on Sunday.
The Broncos coaches also are busy trying to decipher why the offense has been such a slow starter.
Since Tebow began running the show, the Broncos have managed just six scoring drives in 49 first-half possessions. They only have a dozen scores in 76 drives through the first three quarters.
But that all changes in the fourth quarter, when Tebow roars to life.
Take away the first drive of the final quarter when its not yet Tebow Time and the Broncos have scored on 16 of their 28 possessions, including overtime.
That wait-until-late-in-the-game-to-rally formula probably wont cut it against the Patriots, who are averaging 30.5 points per game.
The Broncos have won games with Tebow despite scoring 18, 17, 17, 16 and 13 points.
Ive just got to go back to the drawing board and find a way to get a little bit better in practice, Tebow said. Try to improve and just try to get better as a quarterback and as a player and find a way to get this offense in the end zone early.
Should that happen, it would take the pressure off a defense that has been keeping the Broncos close until Tebow finds his traction. Hes appreciative of the defenses effort and realizes that side cant be expected to hold New England out of the end zone all game. The Patriots only have been held under 20 points once this season.
It does get frustrating when we do see the defense on the field a lot, Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker said. We want to take pressure off them. We know we have to do a better job of scoring points and executing out there.
The sluggish start is baffling to the Broncos. They make it a top priority to begin each game with a sense of urgency, but its not translating on the field.
Id love to get out early on a team and rest, let some other guys play, said Willis McGahee, the teams leading rusher with 920 yards. But it doesnt work like that.
Coach John Fox has a theory on why the offense sputters early in games. He believes it takes a few series to figure out what a defense is doing to counteract the Broncos rather unorthodox offense.
Its a notion McGahee supports.
Theres certain times when were starting out that you cant really get a finger on how theyre handling us until the second half, McGahee said. I tell my coach, OK, I figured out what I need to do. Then he says, OK, lets do it, and we get the train moving.
The train cant be stuck in the station too long against the Patriots, or the game just might be out of reach before Tebow Time rolls around.
Theyre a very potent offense, Fox said. Theyve got world championships. Theyre well-coached. Theyve got outstanding personnel. It will be a big test. Id say thats kind of concerning.
Part of the reason for Tebows late-game success is this: Thats when the Broncos go to more of a no-huddle approach. Its also when defenses drop into more of a prevent look, opening up lanes for the unconventional quarterback.
A no-huddle scheme right from the start may just be something the Broncos attempt versus a Patriots defense thats effective at slowing down the run but struggles against the pass.
At this point, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy isnt ruling anything out.
Were trying to feel teams out the way theyre going to play Tim, McCoy said. Its not always going to be the same you see from the five previous weeks. Weve got to make some adjustments. Regardless of what theyre doing or regardless of what I call, it comes down to execution.
Tebows recent ability to lead the Broncos to wins, and not so much his pedestrian passing stats, has garnered him quite a few Pro Bowl votes.
There are a lot of guys that deserve to go far ahead of me, Tebow said. I hope a lot of those guys get a lot of votes, too.
He will see one of the games best in Brady on Sunday. He may even try to pick up a tip or two.
He does a lot of things very well and is very cerebral and understands the game very well, Tebow said.
And thats the level Tebow is trying to ascend to.
It starts with, well, starting faster.
Weve had opportunities, Tebow said. I think its just finding a way to execute, get a first down so we can kind of get adjusted and kind of get rolling.