Arguing whether or not Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL has seemingly become a national pastime with fans, league executives, former players, current players and analysts all having an opinion on his future without even seeing the former Florida Gators star step into a professional huddle.
Supporters and doubters alike realize that Tebow has some work to do in order to be a polished NFL quarterback. Nevertheless, what some term as “flaws,” others believe are characteristics that make Tebow unique and will allow him to succeed at the next level – perhaps even beyond his most ardent fans’ expectations.
ESPN spoke with a few former NFL signal callers known for their mobility – most prominently Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton and Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh – and asked them to evaluate Tebow’s ability to succeed in the pros.
Tarkenton: “I know that Tim Tebow is not the prototypical quarterback. I wasn’t either. Neither was Roger Staubach, even Bob Griese wasn’t. I had my own style of play and did OK. The only thing that will hurt him is coaches. Most coaches don’t understand quarterbacks. Don’t try to coach him into what he’s going to be. That would be a disaster. […] Peyton Manning can’t do what Tim Tebow does, and vice versa. […] The quarterback position is about playmaking, it’s about leadership. It’s a complex position you can’t test for.”
Read what else was said about Tebow and his future…after the break!
Harbaugh: “The value of a running quarterback, somebody who can pick up four or five first downs a game, is huge. That keeps drives alive and leads to points. That’s a huge asset. [Tebow is] a winner. He’s got tremendous athletic instincts. I’m sure the Broncos know what they’re looking at it in terms of accuracy, decision-making and timing.”
“I look at Tim Tebow’s throwing motion and it doesn’t look that much different than Steve Young‘s, if you put them next to each other. Steve Young would drop the ball when he threw it. And he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback. To me it’s more important to be natural than it is to shave a tenth of a second off the time it takes to get rid of the ball.”
“I don’t mess with a guy’s throwing motion. It’s more mechanics. It’s footwork. It’s accuracy and decision-making. […] Say he only looks at one read and then runs. He can be effective that way. [But] I don’t think that’s the most effective way to be a quarterback. […] Ideally, you want to be able to get through three reads and then, if [the open receiver is] not there [run].”
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Kordell Stewart: “[My scouting report was that] I was a great running quarterback with a strong arm. Inaccurate. Can’t read a defense. [Tebow] has everything that you need in a quarterback in coming to the next level. It’s just a matter of getting him the experience that every player in the National Football League deserves to go out and fail, learn from the mistakes and just get better from it.”
“He’s like a Ferrari. [Do] you put it on the highway and run it at 40 miles per hour just because the speed limit says 40 miles per hour? Heck no! You get aggressive every once in a while and find your spots. You get it to 120 [mph] real quick and then shut her down. That’s Tim Tebow. He’s not a Pinto. He’s a Ferrari.”
ESPN also heard from the Chicago Bears’ Bobby Douglass and the New England Patriots’ Steve Grogan on the topic.
Photo Credit: Associated Press