Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NFL scouts scrutinizing former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow

Though few would say it out loud, many observers scouting former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow ahead of Saturday’s Senior Bowl focused on his mechanical weaknesses.

Associated Press

Though few would say it out loud, many observers scouting former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow ahead of Saturday’s Senior Bowl focused on his mechanical weaknesses.

FAIRHOPE, Ala. — The scene was surreal, with SEC fans of varied persuasions — Alabama fans, Georgia fans, Tennessee fans — screaming wildly in adoration of Tim Tebow, while a security detail shadowed him to keep the potentially overambitious at bay.

Senior Bowl practices have long been open to the public, but never has the public been this interested in attending them.

Then again, Tebow has never played in the Senior Bowl until now. Love him or loathe him, the outgoing Florida quarterback is a hit wherever he goes.

But whether the throngs of NFL personnel gathered in Mobile, Ala., this week to dissect prospects give Tebow a similar reception remains to be seen.

In his first practice before Saturday's predraft showcase, it was hard to argue that Tebow helped his cause. His mechanical flaws — primarily his slow, shot put-like delivery — were on display for all to see, with observers standing barely 50 feet away. His footwork and lack of experience working from underneath the center was an issue, too. UF's spread offense employs mostly a shotgun attack. And Tebow wasn't accurate or fluid.

But no one was willing to publicly shortchange him as a football player. He has accomplished too much, played in too many big games and proved himself a flat-out winner. Those things did not go unnoticed.

"One of the things that a club always looks for is being able to hit on the things you can't tell. What are those intangibles?" said Jim Zorn, the former Redskins coach and former NFL quarterback. "Some guys wear those intangibles right out in front. You can easily tell. It's a less risky move. There's risks involved with some players because they don't show it. Then, when you get them, you're either really disappointed or you're really fired up because you can't believe what you just got."

But when it comes to hard-core details on Tebow, most scouts watching Monday's practice at Fairhope Stadium seemed unimpressed, even if they were reluctant to say so on the record. He clearly was uncomfortable working under center, at times having problems handling the snap. And his throws were sometimes erratic, though he attributed some of that to getting used to new techniques, receivers and centers.

When the draft arrives in April, teams must ask themselves whether the former Heisman Trophy winner can be molded from a project into a legitimate franchise quarterback. For now, no one is betting their careers on it.

"If you draft him thinking you're going to correct (the flaws), then you're wrong," said Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a former Bucs assistant. "I think it's going to be just as much up to him as the team that takes him. … If he's better at one thing than another, then you better figure out how to work that into your offense.

"If you draft him and think you're going to do what you've been doing all along, you're probably going to be getting him ready for the next coach who's going to replace you."

For his part, Tebow, 22, isn't letting the scrutiny ruin his experience. He came to Mobile to prove he belongs in the NFL. Besides, criticism is old hat for a player who has been coping with tremendous expectations since before he walked onto campus.

"I've been pretty used to dealing with a lot of criticism since I was in eighth or ninth grade. So, I can handle it," he said. "I'm a pretty self-motivated person. If anything, it just adds a little motivation."

He added, "I'm not worried about coming out here and failing in any way."

That's the confidence Tebow is renowned for. He never seems daunted or diminished. It's the other stuff — the wobbly throws, the windmill-like release and unfamiliarity with pro-style offenses — that have to be addressed.

"You have to make sure you know they can physically do it, but also how quickly can they do it at a level where they can help," Shanahan said of prospects with technical flaws. "Some of the guys who haven't done it in college for four years, it takes them a year or two years, and in the NFL, you don't have that time."

Those were sentiments echoed by Ravens general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

"Every player that comes into the National Football League has to learn something about technique regardless of the position they play," he said. "Every one. It's just a matter of how quick they can adapt."

For Tebow, the clock is already ticking.

NFL scouts scrutinizing former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow 01/25/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 25, 2010 11:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Red state: Yes, Bill O'Reilly is a Bucs fan

    Blogs

    TAMPA -- The question was simple enough for Bucs fans: Why is former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly wearing a red Bucs polo?

    O'Reilly was wearing the polo during a few video clips from his "No Spin News" podcast posted on his website Monday, which was exciting news for some Bucs fans and not-so-exciting …

    Former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was sporting a red Bucs polo during his "No Spin News" video podcast Monday. An assistant said the shirt was given to him by former Bucs tight end Dave Moore.
  2. For starters: Slumping LoMo, Dickerson not in Rays lineup tonight vs LHP

    Blogs

    1B Logan Morrison and LF Corey Dickerson, two of the main slumpers in the Rays lineup, are not in tonight's lineup with the Orioles throwing LHP Wade Miley.

    Logan Morrison is 0-for-12 on this homestand.
  3. Ex-Buc Booger McFarland becomes ABC college football analyst

    Blogs

    Former Bucs defensive lineman Booger McFarland is continuing his broadcasting rise by joining ABC's studio coverage for the upcoming college football season, ESPN announced Tuesday.

    Former Bucs lineman Booger McFarland (No. 92) will become an ABC studio analyst this college football season.
  4. Rank the top 10 Bucs players? Here's what fans said

    Blogs

    We mentioned this morning that is was a fun challenge, in response to Sports Illustrated's ranking of the NFL's top 400 players, to ask fans to rank their top 10 Bucs players.

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston during last year's Bucs win against the Seahawks. Evans and Winston finished 1-2 in an informal Twitter poll of fans ranking their top Bucs players.
  5. Brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn't have CTE.

    Storm

    Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.

    This combination of photos provided by Boston University shows sections from a normal brain, top, and from the brain of former University of Texas football player Greg Ploetz, bottom, in stage IV of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. According to a report released on Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, research on the brains of 202 former football players has confirmed what many feared in life -- evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a devastating disease in nearly all the samples, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. [Dr. Ann McKee | BU via AP]