ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- After making it to the Pro Bowl seven times as a dynamic special teams gunner for the Buffalo Bills, Steve Tasker currently enjoys a career as a color commentator for CBS.
Tasker joined the CBS team in 1998 and he's set to broadcast Sunday's game between the Broncos and Chiefs for the network.
Tasker recently chatted with DenverBroncos.com about the pivotal AFC West matchup, the play of
What are you looking for in Sunday's Broncos-Chiefs game?
"Well, as far as the Broncos go, I want to see some more consistency with the way Tim (Tebow) throws the ball and gets more accurate. Also, I noticed the last game, a lot of people made a lot to do about the run-option. It's interesting, and I think it's great that they're using it, but I think one of the other things I want to see how much drop-back they do. Because if Tebow's going to get better as a passer, they're going to have to let him do it in a game. I know they're not going to run the read-option every single offensive play, they're going to give him some drops backs and other things to help him get used to being an NFL-type quarterback. Because ultimately he needs to evolve into that. But I think it's great that the run-option kind of offense gives the team the ability to win games while he develops."
What did the Broncos do differently from a 45-10 loss in Week 8 to a 38-24 win in Week 9?
"They played a different team and it was on a different day. That's the NFL. You look at the Kansas City Chiefs, they won four in-a-row after a slow first three weeks and they ran off four straight wins. Then they got beat by a team that hasn't won a game this season when they got blown out last week by the Miami Dolphins. The Buffalo Bills laid an egg last week, the same team that made the Chiefs look bad. A lot of teams have looked bad against Detroit. It's just the way the NFL is. Sometimes it comes down to being able to adjust during games. That falls on the coaching staff and the players to be able to execute, but also, coming in ready to play and get off to a fast start. I think you can attribute it to a lot of things. I don't think you can throw it all the way over on the offensive side whether they're running the read-option or not, I think it falls on the whole team when you get beat by that."
When a team is coming off a tough loss like Kansas City is, is that a good time or a worse time to play them?
"I think it's a worse time because they do not want to go through that again. Forget about gameday, it's a wakeup call from the week before, so they'll prepare better, concentrate more, watch extra film -- they'll do extra things and they'll show up more prepared because of it. That's what it really does. It's not so much about gameday because when you walk down the tunnel, if you're not motivated to play on gameday with all those thousands and thousands of people cheering for you, you don't have a pulse. It's not about gameday, it's about the week leading up to it. You take one on the chin like the Chiefs did last week, you've got to know they're going to show up to work Monday morning ready to make a difference."
What are your thoughts on Tebow so far this season?
"I don't think there's any question it's between his ears, that's where his improvement lies. He's got the physical ability to do it and something clicks. You look at the second half of that Raiders game last week, he played very well, at least markedly better than he did the first half. What was different? I don't know. I'll have to ask him about it. But there's no question that he threw the ball better, made better decisions and the team hung a lot of points on a pretty good Raider team."
As a former Pro Bowler on special teams, what are your thoughts on that phase of the game in the NFL today?
"Everything's kind of changing for special teams these days. I think it's one of the facets of the game that's really in transition. The kickoff moving back, or moving forward, has changed the kickoff return. I think it's changed the complete emphasis of the game. Punting has become more specialized these days with the advent of the Aussie-rules kick. Moreso than any other time because they don't get many opportunities, you see guys catching the ball deep and bringing it out on kickoffs and also on punts. You saw the Arizona game last week where (Patrick Peterson) caught (a punt) on the goal line. I've seen that a couple of times this year. I think it's getting frustrating for guys playing special teams, because they're getting fewer and fewer opportunities to make a difference in the game. Sometimes they gamble and it's a sensational play and other times they gamble and it's a complete mistake. So, I think that's one of the things that's going around the NFL as far as special teams is concerned."
What do you make of the AFC West? Are the Broncos in the race?
"I don't know how you could say it any other way. Coming into this weekend before that game Thursday night, you had three 4-4 teams and the Broncos at 3-5. That division is up for grabs by anybody. The Broncos are definitely not out of it."