Tebow making progress with Eagles, but still has a ways to go

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 – 5:15pm

There were two distinct groups of people when the Eagles signed Tim Tebow to a one-year contract back in April. There were the Tebow supporters who only needed to be pointed to where the quarterback’s jersey was on sale, and there were the Tebow skeptics shaking their heads wondering what Chip Kelly was thinking.

While it’s probably early to go plunking down your hard-earned money on Tebow merchandise, there’s no denying he’s making tremendous strides as a passer at training camp. There are still moments when vintage Tebow appears, holding on to the ball forever or missing his target by a mile. By and large, however, he looks far more accurate, consistent and polished than at any of his three previous stops in the NFL.

Much of that progress seems to be a direct result of Tebow’s refined throwing mechanics, which were something of a curiosity leading up to his return to pro football. Reports that quarterback guru Tom House had fixed the former Heisman Trophy-winner’s wonky, elongated delivery turned out to be true. Now Tebow’s motion is much quicker, more compact and doesn’t look strikingly different from anybody else’s on the roster.

It’s readily apparent to anybody that Tebow has made great strides since he was in Eagles training camp as a member of the New England Patriots in 2013. He also realizes it’s a process, and there is a ways to go before realizing his full potential.

“I think I’ve improved, I’m continuing to try to improve every day,” Tebow said after Tuesday’s practice. “It takes time, but it’s been happening, and I just want to continue that process.”

That process includes polishing his mechanics.

“I’m trying to focus on those areas,” Tebow said. “Either before practice, after practice, sometimes during — but sometimes you just have to play during, too.

Of course, although Tebow looks objectively improved as a passer, specifically as it relates to throwing a football, it remains to be seen how much better of a quarterback he is. There’s more to it than that. Can he diagnose a defense? Does he make the right reads? Can he play within the pocket when there’s a live pass rush? Will his mechanics regress in the heat of the moment?

Therein lies the difficulty in evaluating a signal-caller who just spent over a full year away from the game, who hasn’t really played the position in a meaningful NFL game since January, 2012. We all know Tebow’s mobility could bring a different dynamic to the Eagles’ offense, but can he adapt to a more traditional style of quarterbacking when the situation calls for it, when he’s already going on 28 years of age?

Based on his own self-assessment, Tebow understands what is demanded of him in order to take that critical next step, let alone crack the 53-man roster in Philadelphia.

“Decision-making, timing and accuracy,” Tebow defined as the areas he could improve most. “Those are the three things that are really important for quarterbacks in the NFL. You have to have great decision-making, you have to have timing — knowing the offense, your footwork, everything like that — and then accuracy, putting [the ball on the receiver].

We won’t get a better sense of how far long Tebow’s development is in those other facets until the Eagles get into some preseason games, a fact Kelly touched on earlier in camp. Yet, at least so far, the head coach’s experiment is working in that Tebow is providing viable competition to Matt Barkley for the club’s third quarterback spot.

“There’s been a couple stretches in there where it seems like he’s got a little bit more zip on the ball than he did in the springtime,” Kelly said. “We’ll see how that manifests itself, but for those guys, especially with them wearing red jerseys, you are not going to know anything until they get into a game and then there’s a chance with contact coming and all those other things.

Fortunately for Tebow, he’ll get that opportunity soon enough. The Eagles have their first preseason contest this coming Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Tebow — who hasn’t even suited up for so much as an exhibition game in nearly two years — could barely find the words to express his enthusiasm.

“I’m definitely excited,” he said. “It’s been awhile since I really strapped it up, so I’m excited and looking forward to it.”

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6 Responses to “Tebow making progress with Eagles, but still has a ways to go”

  1. Sage says:

    Studied obtuseness. Yes, yes, it’s all about the checkdown passes, the completion percentage, and the way a QB wears the baseball cap while defense is on the field.

    If Tim can just complete a higher percentage of two-yard passes behind the line of scrimmage, then the easy stuff like leadership and critical scoring strikes will of course follow naturally. Being like the rest, that’s surely how one separates oneself and accrues distinction.

  2. ck says:

    When it comes to clutch situations then you want Tebow and besides, he has already beaten both Sanchez and Bradford in games before he refined all his natural attributes!!!

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