If you have followed football for any length of time lately you know who Tim Tebow is. He is the current starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. He played at the University of Florida and was an absolute star in college. He won the Heisman Trophy. He was arguably the greatest college football player of all time. He played with a style and swagger all his own. He played like a linebacker or fullback. He did not have a classic throwing motion. He threw more like a left-handed sidearm pitcher than a major college quarterback.
Coming out of Florida, he was drafted in the first round by the Broncos and was asked to work on his throwing motion and his other quarterbacking skills. For most of his college career he operated out of the shotgun and ran an option offense where he ran the ball much of the time. He was not often required to throw the ball with pinpoint accuracy. He seldom dropped back to pass from under center like most professional quarterbacks are required to do.
He played a bit last season toward the end. He played pretty well. The Broncos had some major changes. The head coach was fired and a new general manager was hired. John Fox, the former Panthers’ coach took the reins in Denver and John Elway, the former Broncos legendary quarterback, became the GM. Denver entered this season with classic qb Kyle Orton as the starter and Tebow down on the depth chart.
This blog is not really about Tebow. It is about John Fox, the head coach of the Broncos. John Fox is an excellent coach. He took Carolina to the Super Bowl a few years back and is a defensive guru. John Fox had a decision to make when first-string Kyle Orton played poorly at the beginning of the season and the team began losing games. The fans were calling for a change and Tebow was there readying himself to play if called upon. Fox never coached a quarterback like Tebow in the pros. The Denver offense was a classic, dropback/shotgun offense based on a strong running game and the quarterback passing primarily in the pocket.
Fox changed quarterbacks and started Tebow and it was immediately visible that the Broncos’ new starter would not thrive in this drop back, pocket passing game. Fox had another decision to make. Should he bench Tebow, go back to Orton, or go to third-stringer Brady Quinn? Or maybe there was another option to consider?
Fox changed. The Broncos’ offense changed as well. They began calling plays suited to Tebow’s strengths…more rollouts, more shotgun formations, more run-option plays. Fox understood that at this point in his career, Tebow needed something different than what the Broncos had been using under Orton. Denver needed to change the scheme to fit the player in order to give themselves the best chance to win. Great leaders do this. They flex when necessary.
Fox recognized that for his team to have the best chance to win they needed to put their quarterback in the best position to win. Square pegs don’t fit into round holes. So, either change the peg or change the hole. Great leaders know how to get the best out of those whom they lead. They understand how to put them in positions to succeed. They flex when flexing is necessary. Great leaders know the gifting and skill sets of those around them and they get the most out of them.
Things to think about: Do you understand the gifting, experience, and skills of those you lead? Are you flexible enough to put others in position to succeed even if it means changing some things?