- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- How predictable was this? Tim Tebow has rushed for 84 yards in three preseason games, and now pundits, including ESPN's Merrill Hoge, are calling to him to be a running back.
"Well, I will take that as a compliment from him," Tebow said. "I'm a quarterback, first and foremost. However else I can help the team, I will help the team. I think some things are just playing football and I think some things are position-specific."
Based on his preseason performance, Tebow should concentrate on throwing the ball. He has a 26.5 passer rating, having completed only 38 percent of his passes. But offensive coordinator Tony Sparano defended Tebow, claiming he's making strides as a passer. In essence, Sparano said fans and media types were way off base by criticizing Tebow for his 4-for-14, one-interception game against the Panthers.
Sparano named three specific situations in which he felt Tebow showed progress:
1. He said Tebow went from his first to second to third reads on a sideline completion. Previously, Tebow tended to lock on to his first read.
2. He completed a ball in the middle of the field to TE Dedrick Epps -- "a throw I'm sure a lot of people didn't think Tim can make."
3. He executed a hard play-action fake in a pro-style set, from under center, and fired a 12-yard completion to Jordan White. Tebow, who has played in the shotgun for most of his college and pro career, has little experience under center.
"When I watch the film, I see something a little different than I think most people (who) watch it see," Sparano said. "That's progress to me."