Broncos’ Bailey impressed by Tebow’s dedication

Denver Broncos veteran cornerback Champ Bailey may not have the responsibility of choosing his team’s starting quarterback, but he knows plenty about signal callers after facing them in the NFL for 11 years and bringing in 46 interceptions while defending 107 passes. As a Broncos team leader and future Hall of Famer who has faced some of the best passers in the game, Bailey’s glowing impressions and early evaluations of former Florida Gators QB Tim Tebow hold a lot of water.

“See that?” Bailey asked while watching Tebow get in extra practice on his own a few fields away. “That’s Tebow. It’s long after practice and he’s still out there. That’s what he does. That’s not for show. He’s not just doing that because the media is here today. He does that every day.”

Bailey told ESPN that Tebow’s work ethic is unmatched and that, while his reputation precedes himself, he is already impressing teammates.

“We’re all interested in it,” Bailey said. “He has the team behind him. We heard so much about Tebow before he got here and he’s a big story. But everything he has shown shows that he can succeed. The guy just works at his job so much. [...] I’m impressed. I like what I see so far.”

Tebow, who said upon being drafted by Denver that his first goal was to win over his teammates, was happy to hear what Bailey said about him afterward.

“That’s what I want ,” Tebow says. “It means so much that my teammates believe in me and know that I’m working hard. That’s why I’m here. […] It’s 24 hours football. I love it. This is how I’m going to spend my summer.”

He may be third on the depth chart at this point, but it is widely believed that Tebow will see the field plenty in 2010 – potentially as a third-down specialist or in a role similar to that which he played on Florida’s 2006 National Championship team.

Photo Credit: Ed Andrieski/Associated Press

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Haslem, Nelson, Dorsey

1 » On Tuesday, OGGOA tweeted a picture of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow handing a football off to a kid that got some of our female followers pretty riled up. It appears that picture was taken from a Broncos Bunch kids club event that Tebow participated in over the weekend. The Denver Broncos rookie threw passes to and took pictures with a bunch of children – not all of whom were Broncos fans. “Gator nation really is everywhere,” Tebow told CBS4 in Denver, CO. “It’s great to be out here and to play with these kids, to meet the parents and just be here in the stadium. It really is humbling to have people supporting me and to have fans. It really does mean a lot. […] It’s just an opportunity to come out here, throw balls, take some pictures, hang out with people, get a chance to make a kid smile or a family smile and – it’s more important than winning games, when you really look at it.”

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Three more BITS on the futures of Udonis Haslem, David Nelson and Demar Dorsey.
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FOUR BITS: Harvey, Bullard on NXT, Tebow

1 » Former Florida Gators defensive end Derrick Harvey has been underwhelming since being drafted in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Having only compiled 5.5 sacks in his first two seasons in the league, he is taking the coaching staff’s belief in him to heart by shedding some weight and becoming a more athletic player. “I thought bigger was better,” Harvey told the Florida Times-Union. “Speed is better. You’ve got to be rushing all day, and you can’t be 280 [pounds] rushing in this heat. […] It’s all on me. I’ve got to perform.” General manager Gene Smith agrees. “I think a couple of things are evident out there,” he said. “He’s probably in the best shape of his life, and he’s lighter this year, so I think you’re seeing some quickness off the snap. And he has better bend coming off the corner. He has shown better flexibility, better quickness and has been better at getting to the quarterback than in any OTAs since he’s been here.

Three more BITS on Thaddeus Bullard’s debut on WWE NXT, 2010 baseball signees picked in the MLB Draft and Tim Tebow…after the break!
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Tebow adds more supporters, lofty comparisons

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!
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TWO BITS: Gators in MLB Draft, Tebow vs. Rivers

1 » As they await their opponent for the 2010 NCAA Super Regional likely to be hosted at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL, members of the No. 4 Florida Gators baseball team are on notice as the three-day 2010 MLB Draft begins Monday night at 7 p.m. Seniors outfielder Matt den Dekker and closer Kevin Chapman will likely be selected somewhat early in the process, especially considering it can go up to 50 rounds. Also poised to be picked at some point are seniors pitcher Jeff Barfield and outfielder Jonathan Pigott, junior second baseman Josh Adams, and redshirt sophomore pitchers Tommy Toledo and Justin Poovey. There are four other seniors on the Gators’ roster whose names could potentially be called. Unlike football and basketball, being eligible for or selected in the draft as an underclassman does not ruin eligibility; said player is not forced to hire an agent, sign a contract or leave school.

2 » Denver Post columnist Mike Klis took a different perspective on Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels’ decision to draft former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, saying he may be just what the team needs to finally equal or surpass the San Diego Chargers and their signal caller, Phillip Rivers. Here is an excerpt from Klis’ piece:

In Tebow, McDaniels believes he has a quarterback who can eventually match Rivers. Maybe not pass per pass, but play per play.

It’s too much to expect Tebow to keep up with Rivers this season. But maybe by 2011, Tebow can stare down Rivers and mix in 190 yards passing with a touchdown and 55 yards rushing with another touchdown. There’s the offset to the typical Rivers game against the Broncos.

Before he can beat Rivers, though, Tebow has to win over his locker room.

“When you earn respect from people, then they begin to like you, and then they believe in you, and then they begin to love you, and then you have a team that is united and cares about each other more than anything else,” Tebow said in a backroom session with The Denver Post. “And then you go out there and you play for each other, you play for your coaches and you win championships.”

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Tebow feeling growing pains at Broncos’ practice

As former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow progresses through his rookie practices and training camp, Denver Broncos’ beat writers and other media members following the young signal caller will be quick to evaluate his each and every move. This is what occurred Friday as Tebow struggled with some passes during practice but simultaneously showed flashes of brilliance.

Frank Schwab of the Colorado Springs Gazette filed this play-by-play, singling out some of the more prominent mistakes Tebow made during seven-on-seven drills Friday:

Early in practice he missed receiver Alric Arnett, then a couple plays later threw way behind tight end Riar Geer. He had a pass tipped at the line that was intended to tight end Richard Quinn. A few plays later he missed badly to Quinn on a pass that hit the ground before it got to him. Tebow himself singled out another bad pass – a crossing route to open receiver Patrick Honeycutt that was behind Honeycutt and too low, and hit the ground.

Tebow continued to be a bit wild, missing some receivers by throwing behind or low or leading them too far. He did have some very nice throws, mostly on out routes – one of the toughest passes a quarterback can make. He had a fantastic throw to Arnett in the corner of the end zone that had great velocity. He called out a blitz at the line on one play, then calmly hit Arnett on a crossing route, showing he is starting to understand the offense a little.

Tebow recognized his struggles – as he usually does – and took them in stride. Extra scrutiny was on him Friday as only he and Brady Quinn (starter Kyle Orton was given the day off) were on the field throwing the ball.

“I was probably a little bit more happy with some of the reads,” Tebow told reporters. “I still got to get more consistent with some of them. Your accuracy comes when you know where to go and when to go to. […] Sometimes you’re still thinking, overthinking things sometimes instead of reacting and playing. I think that’s a big thing as a rookie. You’re trying to do everything right and thinking about everything. Am I doing this right? What’s he doing? How am I going to do this? Sometimes it’s just reacting and playing and playing and knowing your assignment.”

Regardless of Tebow’s early issues, head coach Josh McDaniels takes them in stride, remaining confident in his abilities and even going as far as to release the team’s previous third-string QB, Tom Brandstater, from his contract Friday.

“No issues, none at all in terms of [Tebow’s] arm strength, velocity, anything like that,” McDaniels said. “Time is progressing well in terms of understanding what the offense is asking him to do. No issues in terms of calling the plays in the huddle or communicating with his teammates and what he wants from them.

“Right now, until you understand exactly what’s going on every play, until you have your head and eyes in the right place in every snap as a quarterback playing in our system – or any other system at this level – it’s hard to consistently look the right way. There’s certainly a bunch of good plays, and there’s some other ones where we have to work hard to get him right. That’s what we’re doing, that’s what he’s doing.”

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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SIX BITS: Golf in fifth, spread, softball, NFL, trivia

1 » After two days of action at the 2010 NCAA Championship in Ooltewah, TN, Florida Gators men’s golf is tied for fifth place with an even par score of 576. Florida is 14 shots off of the leader (Florida State, 562) and will compete in the final round on Thursday.

2 » CBS college football analyst Gary Danielson questions whether or not the Gators will remain successful running the spread offense without former quarterback Tim Tebow (now with the Denver Broncos) at the helm. “I’m still not sure any other spread will work in this conference,” he told Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel. “They cannot have John Brantley getting hit 12-15 times per game. He’s too valuable. […] It was tough for [Tebow] to take the punishment of [the SEC]. This conference is more and more simulating the NFL, with sophisticated defense to put hits on people.”

Four more BITS including a softball preview, updates on Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes and a Florida Gators *trivia* question…after the break!
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NFL Matchup creator “could never” draft Tebow

Sports Illustrated’s Ross Tucker sat down with Greg Cosell, the creator of ESPN’s popular NFL Matchup program, to discuss a number of NFL topics including former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow’s future with the Denver Broncos.

Below is a portion of Tucker’s column, featuring Cosell’s thoughts on Tebow:

What did you see from Tim Tebow on tape and were you surprised the Broncos made the bold move to get back into the first round to snag him?

“On film, there is very little in Tebow’s game that projects well at this point to the NFL. I could never draft a quarterback in the first round who does not show on tape the skill set and physical attributes that are demanded in the NFL.

“Number one, he has questionable and limited arm strength with a slow and ponderous delivery. Number two, in college he did not throw with timing or anticipation because the offense that he was in did not require it. In the NFL, there are certain throws in certain situations that necessitate that the ball is delivered before his receiver makes his break. He wasn’t asked to do that at Florida. Thirdly, pocket movement in the NFL is far more important than running. Pocket movement is the ability to move within the confines of an area about the size of a boxing ring while at the same time maintaining your downfield focus so you can deliver the football. Tebow did not exhibit that trait in college, probably because he was a runner. Nobody is a great NFL quarterback because of the way that they run.”

Cosell, who also works for NFL Films, is the creator and has been executive producer of NFL Matchup since its inception in 1993.

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