Friday, April 30, 2010
Tebow makes Broncos debut
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Tim Tebow is accustomed to living under the media microscope. Now, his every move on the football field is being scrutinized by the Denver Broncos.
A team videographer was at his feet Friday when Tebow took snaps and threw passes as the three-day minicamp for rookies got under way.
"Oh, it's great because we can go back and watch it," said the ever-excitable Tebow following the 90-minute workout on a chilly morning. "We can look at every play, every throw, go back and see what I did good, what I did bad, what I have to work on and what I need to change."
The most intriguing pro prospect since Michael Vick, Tebow has plenty of work ahead of him.
Some scouts think it could take two years for Tebow to make the transition from combination college quarterback to prototypical pocket passer -- if he ever does. Others argue his success in college, his passion for football and his work ethic will make the transition smoother and shorter.
Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who made waves when he traded three draft picks to the Baltimore Ravens to take Tebow with the 25th selection in last week's NFL draft, said it's unrealistic to put a timetable on Tebow's transition.
McDaniels has dismissed the notion of moving Tebow to H-back to start his pro career. And with Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and maybe even Tom Brandstater ahead of him on the depth chart, many expect Tebow's contributions as a rookie will come in wildcat formations.
Although Tebow is a Heisman Trophy winner and a two-time national champion some call the greatest college player ever, he is an NFL enigma, a big question mark because of his not-ready-for-prime-time throwing mechanics and footwork, as well as the spread offense he ran out of the shotgun with the Gators.
So, Tebow donned an orange No. 15 jersey and hit the field at Dove Valley for the first time to begin his NFL education.
With the offense in white on the south end of the field and the defense in blue at the north end, all eyes were on Tebow in the middle.
During the 25-minute period in which more than 50 reporters, photographers and cameramen were allowed to observe, Tebow ran agility drills and then threw several passes under the watchful eyes of McDaniels and his younger brother, Ben McDaniels, who is Denver's new quarterbacks coach.
Both had plenty of advice for Tebow.
"It was just everything from the plays to footwork to getting my body in position to throw and just different things like that," Tebow said. "All football, all the time, and I love it, it's great."
Deploying his new and improved throwing motion that removes the looping windup he had at Florida, the southpaw's throws were tight and compact.
Tebow's mechanics and throwing motion were dissected ad nauseam in the weeks leading up to the draft, and he insisted he embraced the critiques and criticism. He began correcting his sidearm throwing motion weeks ago. Now he has to adjust to taking snaps under center and dropping back while dodging the pass rush after operating almost exclusively out of the shotgun in college.
Tebow wouldn't pinpoint a priority.
"Just improving, getting better on everything, I mean the footwork, the drops, the cadences, identifying the right [reads], going through the protections, everything like that has been what I've been working on," Tebow said. "I can't just narrow it down. I got too many things I'm working on right now."
That's why he didn't really take a moment to soak it all in when he hit the field for the first time with six other draft choices, 19 college free agents and two wide receivers trying out with the team.
"Not at that time. I thought, 'I got a lot to go do and I got to go improve,'" Tebow said. "So it's not time to daydream right now."
Tebow said he wasn't overwhelmed by the daunting challenges ahead.
"Oh, I'm just excited. It's not really pressure," he said. "I just go out here and play football. I'm loving doing it. I'm learning a great offense from great coaches, just trying to soak it all in every chance I get and I'm having a great time with it."
Although he's in terrific shape, Tebow found out firsthand what it's like to train at altitude.
"I had been working really hard so I felt like I was in decent shape," Tebow said. "But I can definitely feel a difference. ... You just can't get as much air."
He also called the chilly weather "a great change of pace."
The Broncos drafted two wide receivers last week -- Demaryius Thomas from Georgia Tech in the first round and Eric Decker out of Minnesota in the third -- but both were on the sideline Friday because they're still recuperating from foot operations.
Two undrafted wide receivers, Dicky Lyons of Kentucky and Rockeed McCarter from James Madison, were in for tryouts and caught passes from Tebow.