Thoughts on Tim Tebow's debut

August, 10, 2012
8/10/12
9:00
AM ET
Tim Tebow will make his highly-anticipated debut with the New York Jets tonight when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals. The game will be nationally televised on the NFL Network.

Tebow
Here are some thoughts of what to look for:

Why it's important: Tebow is new to the Jets and needs to solidify his role on the team. He must fit in, and it doesn't make things any easier that Tebow gets more media coverage than anyone on the team. Tebow will be the backup quarterback, Wildcat quarterback and punt protector on special teams this season. He may wear all three hats Friday night.

Playing time: Tebow could get as much as two quarters of work against the Bengals. Starter Mark Sanchez will play limited reps and probably won't play outside the first quarter. The second quarter, and potentially the third, will be Tebow's. He will be playing against mostly backups and needs to prove he can have success.

What's a good debut? A good preseason game for Tebow is all about throwing well. I don't care what Tebow does running the football. I already know he can run. Tebow needs to prove that his passing (and passing motion) has improved under pressure. Tebow did a lot of work this offseason to improve. He worked a lot on his passing, but is still inconsistent in practice. He has a chance to show his improvement in a game.

What's a bad debut? It will be bad news if Tebow struggles. He will not get much (or any) time against Cincinnati's first team. Therefore, Tebow is expected to do well against Cincinnati’s second-string players. If he doesn’t, that will cast doubt. For better or for worse, all eyes will be on Tebow Friday night.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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