With improved mechanics, Tebow shows ‘he’s a quarterback’


GAINESVILLE, Fla.The theatrics and circus atmosphere were long over, and the player who changed the face of college football finally was back in his element.
 
A man and his mission.
 

"Football is just a way to bring me closer to what’s important for me," Tim Tebow said.

 
So there was Tebow, minutes after putting on a show for NFL teams during Wednesday’s pro day workout at Florida, throwing a football with wheelchair-bound Alex Ross, a 17-year-old from nearby Jacksonville who was shot in the head in January and lost the use of the left side of his body.
 
Ross threw a football to Tebow, who caught the ball and summed up the day’s events: "Let’s see (them) come over here and critique that."
 
Yes, everyone, Timmy Terrific is taking this NFL thing serious. A little advice for the doubters: Don’t bet against him.
 
Less than two months ago at the Senior Bowl, Tebow was criticized for his poor mechanics and looping throwing motion. He struggled to take snaps from under center and had fumbling issues the entire week of practice.
 
So he hired former longtime NFL assistant and quarterbacks guru Zeke Bratkowski to help him change his mechanics and throwing motion. He also spoke or worked with former NFL coaches Sam Wyche, Marc Trestman and Jon Gruden in preparation for this very day  —  this very test.
 
After working out for a little more than 30 minutes in front of scoutsand a handful of head coachesfrom all 32 NFL teams, we have this:
 
"From the Senior Bowl to now, the improvement is ridiculous," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. "I was blown away."
 
Or this from Panthers coach John Fox: "He had a very good workout. I saw some adjustments he made and thought he executed very well."
 
Nothing like a little hard work for Tebow to chase the critics away. Or has he?
 
The greatest player in college football history is now the most scrutinized player in NFL draft history. And wouldn’t you know it, as quickly as he won over some, he had others still wondering where it all ends.
 
The most perplexing factor of all in the Tebow Question: No one really knows what kind of quarterback he’ll be in the NFL until he’s under center and the proverbial bullets are flying.
 
Asked if Tebow could be successful in the league, Browns president Mike Holmgrena guy who has coached legendary NFL stars Joe Montana, Steve Young and Brett Favresaid, "I’m going to steer clear of that one now. I think Tim Tebow is one of those guys that you root for. If he’s on your team, you have a better team. I’ll leave it at that."
 
But minutes later, after breaking down the specifics of playing the position, Holmgren offered up this: "If you look hard enough at anybody, you can be really picky about stuff. Be careful about losing sight of the big picture and what kind of a player (Tebow) is and winner he is. There’s a lot of good about this young man."
 

And a lot that has changed. Gone are the looping throwing motion (the ball starts at his ear instead of his waist), the shotgun snaps (his footwork was flawless under center on drops and releases) and the long stride when throwing (he showed a short stride and more compact delivery).

 
"He didn’t revert to any of his old habits today; he really had a nice day," Bratkowski said. "People are talking about other positions with him. He’s a quarterback. He’s where he should be right now."
 
Long after a few thousand fans who watched the workout had left Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, after Tebow signed more autographs and shook more hands and spoke with the NFL Network (yep, they were live on site), Tebow stood in a packed room in the bowels of the stadium and talked about his dream of playing in the NFL.
 
He has five team-specific workouts in the coming weekswith the Bufalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskinsand another five weeks to continue honing his new mechanics before the draft.
 
"I don’t know if when I dreamed of this process, that I dreamed of this," Tebow said.
 
That may be the most accurate critique of all.
 
This story appears in March 18’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today.
 
Matt Hayes covers college football for Sporting News and is an analyst for the NFL Network. Tune in to Total Access weeknights. E-mail him at mhayes@sportingnews.com.

GAINESVILLE, Fla.The theatrics and circus atmosphere were long over, and the player who changed the face of college football finally was back in his element.
 
A man and his mission.
 

"Football is just a way to bring me closer to what’s important for me," Tim Tebow said.

 
So there was Tebow, minutes after putting on a show for NFL teams during Wednesday’s pro day workout at Florida, throwing a football with wheelchair-bound Alex Ross, a 17-year-old from nearby Jacksonville who was shot in the head in January and lost the use of the left side of his body.
 
Ross threw a football to Tebow, who caught the ball and summed up the day’s events: "Let’s see (them) come over here and critique that."
 
Yes, everyone, Timmy Terrific is taking this NFL thing serious. A little advice for the doubters: Don’t bet against him.
 
Less than two months ago at the Senior Bowl, Tebow was criticized for his poor mechanics and looping throwing motion. He struggled to take snaps from under center and had fumbling issues the entire week of practice.
 
So he hired former longtime NFL assistant and quarterbacks guru Zeke Bratkowski to help him change his mechanics and throwing motion. He also spoke or worked with former NFL coaches Sam Wyche, Marc Trestman and Jon Gruden in preparation for this very day  —  this very test.
 
After working out for a little more than 30 minutes in front of scoutsand a handful of head coachesfrom all 32 NFL teams, we have this:
 
"From the Senior Bowl to now, the improvement is ridiculous," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. "I was blown away."
 
Or this from Panthers coach John Fox: "He had a very good workout. I saw some adjustments he made and thought he executed very well."
 
Nothing like a little hard work for Tebow to chase the critics away. Or has he?
 
The greatest player in college football history is now the most scrutinized player in NFL draft history. And wouldn’t you know it, as quickly as he won over some, he had others still wondering where it all ends.
 
The most perplexing factor of all in the Tebow Question: No one really knows what kind of quarterback he’ll be in the NFL until he’s under center and the proverbial bullets are flying.
 
Asked if Tebow could be successful in the league, Browns president Mike Holmgrena guy who has coached legendary NFL stars Joe Montana, Steve Young and Brett Favresaid, "I’m going to steer clear of that one now. I think Tim Tebow is one of those guys that you root for. If he’s on your team, you have a better team. I’ll leave it at that."
 
But minutes later, after breaking down the specifics of playing the position, Holmgren offered up this: "If you look hard enough at anybody, you can be really picky about stuff. Be careful about losing sight of the big picture and what kind of a player (Tebow) is and winner he is. There’s a lot of good about this young man."
 

And a lot that has changed. Gone are the looping throwing motion (the ball starts at his ear instead of his waist), the shotgun snaps (his footwork was flawless under center on drops and releases) and the long stride when throwing (he showed a short stride and more compact delivery).

 
"He didn’t revert to any of his old habits today; he really had a nice day," Bratkowski said. "People are talking about other positions with him. He’s a quarterback. He’s where he should be right now."
 
Long after a few thousand fans who watched the workout had left Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, after Tebow signed more autographs and shook more hands and spoke with the NFL Network (yep, they were live on site), Tebow stood in a packed room in the bowels of the stadium and talked about his dream of playing in the NFL.
 
He has five team-specific workouts in the coming weekswith the Bufalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskinsand another five weeks to continue honing his new mechanics before the draft.
 
"I don’t know if when I dreamed of this process, that I dreamed of this," Tebow said.
 
That may be the most accurate critique of all.
 
This story appears in March 18’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today.
 
Matt Hayes covers college football for Sporting News and is an analyst for the NFL Network. Tune in to Total Access weeknights. E-mail him at mhayes@sportingnews.com.

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