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More to Broncos Than Tim Tebow

The Broncos defense has played well this season

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Nov 17, 2011  |  Updated 8:05 AM EDT
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Most of the talk during this short week leading up to the Jets' visit to the Broncos has had to do with Tim Tebow.

There's good reason for that. The NFL hasn't seen a player like Tebow or an offense like the Broncos' in a really long time, so the exoticism is always going to draw eyeballs.

We spent some time Wednesday discussing the defense's rather confident take on facing Tebow, a state of mind that's easy to defense outside of the fact that the unit just got dragged all over the field by the Patriots.

You can bet that Tebow (and Darrelle Revis calling playing him boring) will be the big focus of the pregame and in-game commentary on Thursday night.

It's not the entire game, though, and, for the Jets, it might not even be the most important part of the game. Being totally honest, if the Jets defense can't shut down a one-dimensional offense then the team isn't going anywhere this season.

So, as it has been for most of the last three seasons, the focus comes back to the offense and what they will do to rebound from another poor performance. And the Broncos, despite all the Tebowmania, have put together a pretty good defensive team this year that can rush the passer very well and should give Mark Sanchez some problems.

It doesn't help that the Jets are going to play with LaDainian Tomlinson and Jeremy Kerley, two of the more popular options for Sanchez to turn to when times get tough for him in the pocket. The last thing the offense needs right now is for their choices to become even more limited because they've shown all season that they are willing to close doors all by themselves.

That needs to change on Thursday night. The Jets have to do the opposite of what the Broncos do on offense and force the Denver defense to defend everything on every single play.

Run the ball, run play-action and avoid empty backfields that make it easy for Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil to pin their ears back while coming after Sanchez. Get the ball into the hands of your best players as much as possible and take a page from what Denver is going to do by keeping things simple when you have the ball.

Sanchez is the X-factor when it comes to pulling off this or any other offensive strategy, but the Jets can't avoid him. It would certainly make life easier if the team figured out how to use Santonio Holmes effectively and even easier if the offensive line protected well enough to allow the team to take some shots deep down the field, but after nine weeks both of those things feel like pipe dreams.

For now, just keep things nice and easy so that shutting down Tebow actually means something if the defense can pull it off. There are two halves to this game and the Jets need to succeed at both to stop the bleeding from Sunday night.

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