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That was Denver’s first playoff game in six seasons.
While the Broncos brass was delighted at returning to the postseason party a year after a franchise-worst 4-12 season, they said the 35-point loss to the Patriots showed just how far they need to go to return to the AFC’s upper echelon.
Tebow, who didn’t get the first-team snaps during training camp or for the first month of the season, realizes he has a long way to go himself.
“Just work and improve, fundamentals, understanding defenses, footwork, everything,” he said.
Tebow might also have to get accustomed to a new offensive coordinator in 2012. Mike McCoy has interviewed for head coaching vacancies in Miami and Oakland.
McCoy is a hot commodity after retooling Denver’s offense midstream to capitalize on Tebow’s unique skill set. He implemented the read-option that turned the NFL on its ear at midseason and resulted in the Broncos soaring to the top of the league in rushing.
Tebow ran for 660 yards, most by a quarterback in team history, in the regular season and another 63 in the playoffs, leading to concerns among some that he was exposing himself to injury. But Tebow noted that he actually takes glancing blows, if any, from smaller defenders while on the run, making him less vulnerable than when he stays in the pocket and might get sandwiched by 300-pound linemen.
He took every snap for Denver after replacing Orton at halftime Oct. 9 against San Diego.
Tebow ran for six TDs in the regular season and one in the playoffs while averaging 5.3 yards a carry. But he completed just 46.5 percent of his passes last season and just 40.4 percent in the playoffs.
“We’re always looking for balance,” Elway said. “Balance is what we won Super Bowls with.”
“I feel like I’ve improved a lot in a lot of different forms of my game,” Tebow said. “And I continue to improve and continue to get a lot better, and I believe I can, and I’m looking forward to putting in work.”
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
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