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Trying to figure out Tebow

Defensive coaches in the NFL have questions, so where does he fit? Matt Bowen

Print This April 08, 2010, 01:00 PM EST
29 Comments

Can anyone figure out Tim Tebow right now?

That has been my question for most of the week. I’ve heard all the analysis and talked to plenty of league sources and there is no solid answer whatsoever when it comes to trying to determine where Tebow fits in the NFL.

In yesterday’s Mock Draft, NFP scout Wes Bunting has Tebow going to the Bills at No. 9. That high? Hey, why not? Chan Gailey is an offensive head coach, the organization as a whole is impressed with Tebow, and looking at the current crop of QBs in western New York, it isn’t too far-fetched to see Buffalo make a big play here for the biggest name in the draft. Because, right now anything goes when trying to slot Tebow.

I agree as much with the next guy that former Gator is the farthest thing from NFL-ready when it comes to the QB position. But, name a rookie QB who is NFL ready. Or a lineman, a safety, a corner, etc. None of these guys are. They all take time to develop.

Is it crazy to think that he can have somewhat of an impact on Sundays in a situational role? Think of Pat White in Miami or even Michael Vick in Philly last year. These guys could be considered coach’s toys or players you use in exotic packages. But, they still can have a minimal impact in certain situations, inside the 20-yard line and when an offense is in scoring position and needs a play.

From a defensive player’s perspective, these packages are tough to prepare for. They take up practice time and they require you to read your keys and play smart football.

But, what kind of value can we put on that when it comes to slotting a guy for the draft?

I went a different route the last couple of days and strictly talked to defensive coaches in the league. To be honest, I wanted to hear from coaches who would have to game plan against him. Forget about the play callers who will find a way to get him on the field.

What did the coaches who will get paid to stop him think?

I talked to position coaches and defensive coordinators in the league, and most of them question Tebow’s ability to play under center. They talked about his athletic ability, how he would be a great fit in the locker room and what he can bring to a team in terms of leadership quality and ability. But, none of them are sold on Tebow producing at the quarterback position in the NFL.

There is no doubting his character or his ability as a unique athlete at this stage of the game.

The wildcat? That is always brought up. Defensive coaches already view this thing as a gadget. Two coaches even brought up Pat White and how it never materialized in Miami when he was in the shotgun over Ronnie Brown. The same can be said of Vick. A couple of plays here and there, but overall, not a huge impact.

Tebow could have a role here, but it just sounds too easy to place him in the shotgun in some odd looking personnel package — because it is not guaranteed to produce results against NFL defenses.

And, that is the major concern. Where does he fit? A player like Sam Bradford can go to any team who needs a QB. But with Tebow, the situation does have to be unique and almost a rare opportunity for a team looking for his traits both on and off the field.

Who is going to make this play — and when? Because I am still trying to figure it out.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41

Comments

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BoxStuffer
Apr 08, 2010
01:10 PM

If a team drafts him to play QB, it would have to be a team that's already set at QB, who can afford to spend the time developing him. That being said, I don't see how he could go higher than round 3 or 4, where a team could afford to spend a pick on a developmental player.
That being said, I'm sure there are teams that are so oversold on his "intangibles", that they take him in the 1st two rounds.

Maybe Sam Bradford not's NFL ready, but he's a lot further along in becoming a legitmate starting NFL QB than Tebow is.

Da Coach
Apr 08, 2010
01:11 PM

I think the Bills will go O-Line at No.9, but that doesn't mean Tebow isn't far behind. I can't see him getting out of the first round.

Kevin
Apr 08, 2010
01:13 PM

Tebow is the type of guy who will make a team better, but I agree that finding a spot for him is tough. Can he even dress on game days as a rookie for all 16 weeks?

The Hogs
Apr 08, 2010
01:15 PM

I would go as far to say that Tebow is higher than Jimmy Cluasen on most draft boards right now.


cole
Apr 08, 2010
01:16 PM

i agree with Wes that tebow can go this high....but now that you agree, im pretty sure i disagree... you have that kind of effect on people.

Greg H.
Apr 08, 2010
01:29 PM

I'm still trying to figure the idiocy of Tebow-bashing. Spread offense? Check. Same as Bradford. Bradford couldn't win big games, Tebow could. Tebow can run like the wind, Bradford can't. Tebow has countless intangibles, Bradford doesn't. Tebow can take a hit, Bradford can't. Tebow has done nothing but win, Bradford hasn't. Yet Bradford's the sure thing? "Tebow won't be able to beat NFL defenses." The defenses that feature a whole boatload of players from the SEC that Tebow whipped on a regular basis? "He's a gimmick guy who can only run." So that's why Percy Harvin is already an elite WR? Why Louis Murphy would be if he had a decent QB? That's why Tebow's TE is a sure fire pick? I'm stunned that the entire Florida graduating class are all locks, but their undisputed leader is considered to be barely capable of playing the game.
I'm not a religious man, but I think it's simply bashing on his faith. Imagine that, a young, talented superstar who will NEVER be busted for drugs, hookers, domestic violence, weapons or other criminal offenses who will only inspire kids to be the best they can be. God knows the NFL wouldn't want THAT.

Paul
Apr 08, 2010
01:32 PM

Greg-

Calm down. Did you see anything in this story that bashes Tebow? These are honest questions about his game on the field.

And, when was the last time Bradford was busted for drugs and hookers?

Get real.

Northwoods Tom
Apr 08, 2010
01:33 PM

Greg,

"There is no doubting his character." Yeah, lots of bashing today.

deljzc
Apr 08, 2010
01:35 PM

While I enjoy the rising and falling of draft prospects, eventually enough is enough.

No way does a player who throws as many lame duck passes (and I've watched tons of Tebow highlights and see one pretty pass out of 10) deserve a 1st round QB grade. Screw the intangibles. I don't even know what that means after a while the term is thrown around so loosely this time of year.

The same can be said for Wilson becoming a shut down corner based on a good Senior Bowl against a pretty weak South WR group.

The same can be said about Safford sudding being a 1st round OT prospect.

The same can be said about Bruce Campbell going #8 overall (oh wait, that's Al Davis).

Eventually, you have to step back and ask yourself why has so much changed since January? Is it tangible, real and worthwhile data that is increasing or decreasing a players' stock.

Tebow can't throw. If throwing an NFL caliber spiral was something that could easily be taught, we'd all be doing it. Every top-notch athlete is a new QB project. That's not how it works.

Tebow has a roll in the NFL. And he might be a mid-level starter that can find unconventional ways to move the football and score TD's with the right coach/system. But that makes him a 1st round pick? Really?

I don't buy it and don't think anyone else should either.

BoxStuffer
Apr 08, 2010
01:45 PM

@Greg H.

Take the sand out of your vagina. This article didn't bash Tebow.

meateater
Apr 08, 2010
02:27 PM

If I ran a team and coveted Tebow, I would just wait until his rookie contract ran out. Let someone else coach him up and pay him a first rounder's salary while he learned. Then pick him up for a third or fourth rounder, like Seattle did with Whitehurst. With QBs, you have to take the long view. A lot of them over the years never really flourished until they were in their 30's.

While this article didn't bash Tebow, I do agree with Greg that there has been an awful lot of over the top criticsm of him that seems largely due to his religion.

Bill Bates 40
Apr 08, 2010
02:31 PM

This isn't about how high Tebow CAN go since past drafts are littered with picks made by teams that were irrationally smitten with certain players and made dramatic reaches to get them. The more meaningful question is how high he SHOULD go. While he possesses the size, athleticism and leadership to most likely be an effective NFL QB, there are legitimate questions about the type of offense he ran in college and the very recent altering of his delivery. Neither of those questions limit his ceiling as a player, but they should be enough for most teams to be rightfully hesitant to spend a first round pick on him. The only unique thing he brings to the table which the other top QBs do not is his ability to transition to another position if his team is eventually unhappy with his progress as a passer. For me, he is a top half of the second round player that should probably go after Clausen & Colt McCoy and before Snead, Pike, etc.

Yojimbo
Apr 08, 2010
03:06 PM

" But, name a rookie QB who is NFL ready."

Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco.

Professor7
Apr 08, 2010
03:06 PM

Matt,

For the most part I agree with you. However, I do think there are handful of players that were NFL ready as a rookie. Brian Urlacher had over 100 tackles and 8 sacks his rookie year. Patrick Willis had over 170 tackles and 4 sacks his rookie year. Joe Thomas has been a Pro Bowler every year he's been in the league so far. AP made quite a splash his rookie year as well.


Greg,

Obviously you're a Tebow fan. Then you of all people should know Tebow has plenty of shortcomings in terms of being NFL ready. The guy can't take a snap under center, he's got a double clutch that telegraphs when he's going to throw and his footwork is all over the place....which is why he's very inconsistent with his accuracy.

The odd thing is, despite all those shortcomings Tebow has still enjoyed a very successfull college career. Rarely is a QB with that many mechanical flaws that successfull. So of course people start to wonder how he did it. That's when you start to notice all the talent around him. Yes, he says all the right things and busts his ass. That's why he's even considered a first round possibility. Take the blinders off and realize Tebow is not sure thing at the next level.

greg H.
Apr 08, 2010
03:07 PM

I didn't say THIS article was bashing Tebow, it's just that for a guy who has done nothing but win and be a classy human being, he gets regularly slammed. And as I pointed out, he played in the same system as Bradford, and was far better at it, yet, because Bradford throws a pretty spiral, he's a sure thing? I'll take the intangibles and class thank you. Mark Trestman seems to think he'll be fine, and he ought to know, he had a kid named Steve Young that threw kind of funky and had a knack for improvising on the field, and he did OK.

Bill Bates 40
Apr 08, 2010
03:15 PM

Greg H.,
Bradford is getting more love than Tebow because his ACCURACY is deemed to be far better, not just because the pass looks prettier coming out of his hand.

Bill Bates 40
Apr 08, 2010
03:20 PM

BearMarket,
You probably should have omitted that last line since everyone knew that Tiger was a first class a**hole long before the infidelity scandal simply by the way conducted himself on the golf course. That one was no big surprise. LOL

BearMarket
Apr 08, 2010
03:20 PM

Hi Greg, the others have covered Tebow's questionables regarding QB mechanics.

I'd like to address this: "Imagine that, a young, talented superstar who will NEVER be busted for drugs, hookers, domestic violence, weapons or other criminal offenses who will only inspire kids to be the best they can be. God knows the NFL wouldn't want THAT."

First, teams all say they want "high character" guys, but most have shown they'll take a shady character if he's a playmaker.

Second, to paraphrase Michael Corleone in Godfather 2: If we know one thing, if history has taught us anything, it's that any christian can be busted for drugs, hooker, domestic violence, etc.

I'm surprised by your naievete Greg. Those who have "fallen" are legend. They sit in Congress, even the White House. They populate corporate boards and newsrooms.

Some of them even play golf.

Bob
Apr 08, 2010
04:02 PM

Greg H:

The majority of the world hates Tebow and bashes him because we regularly have to witness guys like you SHOWERING praise on him.

BearMarket
Apr 08, 2010
04:25 PM

Bob, I don't hate Tebow. Why? it's a waste of time and energy and doesn't say much about me. But if hate you must, direct it to the campus PR machine and the 24-hour news cylce and media who thrive on this stuff. They will be the first to bring every detail of his inevitable downfall as hell. You may enjoy that for five minutes, and then you'll get sick of it.

Flip
Apr 08, 2010
05:13 PM

Dei is correct about Tebow not having a strong arm, which Bradford does possess.
if people question his arm in the sunny weather in Fla., wait to see his arm strength in December when the winds are howling.
Compare how Tebow can be Pat White or even Vick. Where are those 2 qbs on their respective depth charts? How many people actually think either one of those 2 are actually nFL caliber starting qbs?
Tebow is a project qb, at best, and a situational qb, realistically. A qb can have all the leadership and intangibles that you want, but it simply comes down to completion percentage and not making giant mistakes at crucial times.
if a NFL team takes Tebow high in the first round, they simply will be reaching. its tough to pay a guy top 10 or 15 money to ride the pine for 3+ years, which Tebow would have to do.
I agree that there are no collage players ready to go right into starting, but that is why there is mini camps and also preseason games for them to understand the complexities and the speed of the NFL.

As a Steeler's fan, I would rather have Batch as a 3rd stringer, then Tebow with the money he will earn

nowhuffo
Apr 08, 2010
06:37 PM

"...they require you to read your keys and play smart football."

I was hoping that happens most of the time anyway.

Big D - Not Dallas
Apr 08, 2010
10:31 PM

I just fail to understand the accuracy comments about Tebow, maybe people just see what they want to see... The fact is that Tebow is the highest rated passer in the history of SEC football. He was objectively a more effective passer than any of the 5 QBs selected #1 OVERALL from the SEC over the previous 12 years P. Manning, T. Couch, E. Manning, J. Russell, M. Stafford).

Compare Tebow to the 5 recent SEC #1 overall QBs:

•His accuracy was the highest of any SEC QB EVER at 67.11% (next closest of the 5 above was T. Couch at 66.96%, next following was P. Manning at 62.85%).
•His TD ratio was highest at 8.9% (next closest was P. Manning at 6.6%).
•His INT ratio was lowest at 1.52% (next closest was E. Manning at 2.6%).
•His PYPA (passing yards per attempt) was highest by far at 9.43 YPA (next closest was J. Russell at 8.31 YPA).
•His passer rating (using the NFL system) was 120.72 (next closest was P. Manning at 100.93).
•Finally, his TD to INT ratio was an incredible 5.87:1 (next best was P. Manning at 2.73:1).

And before anyone replies "but, but, but..." about the respective surrounding casts, a little research shows that, with the exception of T. Couch, all played with multiple future NFL players. And no, I'm not his agent, friend or relative ;)-

Stats & some info from CHFF, who have an excellent article on the subject "A tale of six quarterbacks" (won't let me post the link, sorry).

seahawk21
Apr 08, 2010
11:29 PM

i think tebow had a wonderful career on incredibly loaded teams. There are some comments I have about everyone's analysis tho.

* What is Tebow's ypg compared to Peytons? If he averaged so many yards per attempt... then shouldn't his yards per game be considerably higher? I think it's because his average games are 12 for 25 for 136 yards.

* If bradford's injury prone then Tebow MUST be considered the same. Bradford hurt his throwing shoulder and required surgery and should be considered a liabilty when it comes to durability. Tebow suffered a concussion against uk. His style of play would raise question marks as to how many more concussions he could take. With concussions we just don't know... Tebow is effective because he is such a punishing threat to run. The concussion makes him just as big of a question mark durability-wise.

* Bradford threw for FIFTY (50) touchdowns in one college season. That's crazy. You cannot be considered "far better" at performing in the "spread system" than a QB that threw for 50 TD's in a season. That's not really debateable. It's fact.

* What IS debateable is the idea that they played in the "exact same system". Urban Meyer runs a system where the QB dominates the ball. In many games tebow had twice as many carries as any RB in the game. The QB is much more of a rb in his system than in Oklahoma. Not really a slam on anyone, just program style/philosophy.

*I personally think any team would benefit from having Tebow. Both exposure, sales and also just a class act to have around. He had a glorious career in college. But he's not 'that guy' that's going to be your cornerstone stud for a decade. He's a running back who throws. His stats show that.

seahawk21
Apr 08, 2010
11:42 PM

i think tebow had a wonderful career on incredibly loaded teams. There are some comments I have about everyone's analysis tho.

* What is Tebow's ypg compared to Peytons? If he averaged so many yards per attempt... then shouldn't his yards per game be considerably higher? I think it's because his average games are 12 for 25 for 136 yards.

* If bradford's injury prone then Tebow MUST be considered the same. Bradford hurt his throwing shoulder and required surgery and should be considered a liabilty when it comes to durability. Tebow suffered a concussion against uk. His style of play would raise question marks as to how many more concussions he could take. With concussions we just don't know... Tebow is effective because he is such a punishing threat to run. The concussion makes him just as big of a question mark durability-wise.

* Bradford threw for FIFTY (50) touchdowns in one college season. That's crazy. You cannot be considered "far better" at performing in the "spread system" than a QB that threw for 50 TD's in a season. That's not really debateable. It's fact.

* What IS debateable is the idea that they played in the "exact same system". Urban Meyer runs a system where the QB dominates the ball. In many games tebow had twice as many carries as any RB in the game. The QB is much more of a rb in his system than in Oklahoma. Not really a slam on anyone, just program style/philosophy.

*I personally think any team would benefit from having Tebow. Both exposure, sales and also just a class act to have around. He had a glorious career in college. But he's not 'that guy' that's going to be your cornerstone stud for a decade. He's a running back who throws. His stats show that.

Mr. Murder
Apr 09, 2010
12:53 AM

Good weather passers suddenly going up north, worked well for Jim Kelly.

His endorsement of Tebo was a big item to help get in front of the Gator's rise on draft boards. True, Kelly was a pure passer in comparison, but both are leaders.

The extra things he can do, create ways to move the ball or score, are they enough to surpass limitations?

Are his limitations set in stone, or are these items he's also working through?

Is he the ultimate weapon as a dual threat in the red zone?

b roo
Apr 09, 2010
10:02 AM

No matter how much Buffalo likes him, taking Tebow at 9 is horrible draft value. That is almost as bad as the Raiders taking DHB early last year. Hopefully R Wilson hasn't gotten as crazy as Al himself. They could easily land him in the late first if they want to make sure they get him.

greg's conscious
Apr 09, 2010
12:02 PM

Greg -

you explain exactly why tebow isn't a surefire pick. You explain that his surrounding staff was unbelievable. Which is exactly what every scout is saying... he's a product of a system, a college system. Just like Texas Tech QB's that throw for 500 yards a game against Big 12/NFL caliber defenders.

THe arguement is weak. If his team wasn't that good and he put up great numbers, that says something. But tebow's team was the best on the field every game he played. Jake Locker would possibly be the greatest athlete to ever play QB if he played for florida.

Who is Louis Murphy? And what does he have to do with Tim Tebow?

Percy Harvin is an elite NFL athlete. He was a RB at Florida. Tebow "threw" reverse pivot pitches to him.

The mechanics aren't that big of an issue. People are blowing it out of proportion. Look at Phillip Rivers. He throws the ball like a girl... but he's an absolute gunslinger. Tebow isn't a gunslinger. He's not a true NFL QB. He just isn't. He's a runner who throws. sometimes jump passes. He's a gimmick. A red zone tool to be used. Not a franchise, every sunday guy. Not even close.

I feel bad for the fan bases that draft him. It'll be never ending "Is tebow ready?" and "When will Tebow play?".... i mean, at what point during his career do we say he can't play.. he could struggle and the tebow lovers will say it's because he's young, or he's on a bad team... and the haters will say it's because he sucks... And this will go on and on...

Did Matt Harrington suck, or did he play for the Lions? Does Matt Leinart suck or has he not really had a chance to play consistently? We're still hearing how Kevin Kolb isn't that good, but the dude threw for like 400 yards in both of his starts. I guess my point is, Tebow's career is always going to be subjective. Situation, stats, everything can be spun to fit your opinion.

And worst of all, It's definitely not going away any time soon. :(

truth
Apr 11, 2010
04:17 PM

Greg's conscious:
who the hell is Matt Harrington?

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