Now there is one situation where I rather have Mark Sanchez than Tim Tebow: pocket is protected, route running is crisp, snap is perfect, play call is exactly what OC wants, Mark understands any defensive adjustments and coverages. Then I will take/you might see the Sanchise. Problem is this is the NFL and a defense gets paid millions of dollars to rattle the offensive rhythm and flow. Mark cannot handle a “not” ideal play situation; Tebow thrives and loves the challenge.
Another challenge Tim Tebow loves is playing the quarterback position. The man lives for the moment and wants to be the most successful starter in football. I’ll begin with some stats to put Tebow in perspective with another great young quarterback at the time, John Elway. In his first 16 starts Tebow has 15 passing TDs, 8 rushing TDs, 23 total TDs, to only 9 Ints. The #1 overall John Elway had 9 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD, 10 total TDs, and 21 INTs in his first 16 starts. So when we judge Tebow understand that he is only a 3rd year player and has a lot of time to get better in this league; but the will to be the best and the talent is there.
My criteria for judging great QB talents of college like Tebow is quite simple, and based on five basic categories: love for the game, work ethic (dedication), fearlessness in the pocket, quarterback knowledge (ability to read defense), and physical size and strength.
I broke this criteria down with the likes of quarterback busts Tim Couch, Eric Crouch, Matt Leinart, Ryan Leaf, Todd Marinovich and JaMarcus Russell. Couch’s problem was fear in the pocket leading to massive hesitation on routine throws. Eric Crouch was size, strength, and knowledge. Ryan Leaf has issues in every category besides size and strength. Todd Marinovich was work ethic and love for the game. Matt Leinart same as Marinovich. JaMarcus Russell is work ethic, love for the game, and ability to read defenses. The list goes on and on. Now does Tim Tebow lack in any of these categories? Even slightly? NOT EVEN CLOSE!
Tim Tebow absolutely loves the game of football, works harder than most players (based on what I have seen), is absolutely fearless in the pocket, understands how to read defenses (even though he can get better), and definitely has the size and strength at 6 foot 3 to make any and every throw. Not to mention Tebow was top 15 in every weight lifting category at Florida (yes offensive linemen included).
But can Tim Tebow make the throws to be a NFL quarterback?
Yes Tim Tebow does have a slow and unorthodox release, but the man can buy enough time to make throws that will demoralize a defense. Look at what Russell Wilson is doing in Seattle and Tebow can do just that, but better. Not to mention he has worked his tail off trying to fix that release and it has gotten much better from his rookie 2010 season.
On top of that Tebow’s game is predicated on an option read running scheme that in my opinion is the most effective running play in football. With the option read you essentially give your offense a two way go to either run off tackle left or off tackle right. It all falls on the quarterback to decide whether to give the football to the back or keep it for himself. This is based on how the backside end plays the keep and Tebow is great at confusing this end. When the end comes down to tackle the running back Tebow swiftly keeps the rock and is off; when the end stays at home; Tebow gives it to the RB. Last year the Denver Broncos benefitted greatly from this as a Tim Tebow led rushing attack was first in the NFL with 2,632 yards. Tebow rushed for 660 yards (2nd amongst QBs), & his 47.1 rushing yards/game ranked first among all quarterbacks. Not to mention averaging more rushing yards per game than Roy Helu, Daniel Thomas, James Starks, and BenJarvus Green –Ellis; and more 20+ yard runs than Marshawn Lynch and Shonn Greene. Rex what was that about Ground and Pound?
When defenses try to stop the option read they resort to bringing safeties up in the box. At this point Tebow can and will torch you deep. Tebow throws a great deep ball, and that is comparing him to any quarterback. Against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense daring Tebow to throw deep, playing with at least 8 defenders in the box, Tebow became the only QB to complete three 50 +yard passes in one postseason game since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970. Tebow’s three 50+ yard throws were also the most the Steelers have allowed in one game in the last 10 years. Tebow also completed FIVE throws of 30+ yards or more (Steelers allowed seven all season). The Steelers also happened to have statistically the number one pass defense in football, allowing only 171.9 yards through the air. Tebow 316’d that bad boy and more importantly WON THE GAME. Tebow’s 300+ yard, 2 TDs performance made him the fifth quarterback to do that in his postseason opener, joining a list including Daunte Culpepper, Kurt Warner, Erik Kramer, and Joe Montana.