NFL: Tebow’s new team honing his technique
By Sam Farmer
Los Angeles Times
INDIANAPOLIS — In one sense, Florida’s Tim Tebow looks like every other high-profile quarterback at the NFL scouting combine.
Yet another passer not throwing for the scouts.
The challenge for Tebow is to look a little more mainstream. The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner is the most intriguing work in progress in this draft class, a player who is reconstructing his throwing motion to be more NFL-friendly. He’s working to eliminate his swooping windup in order to get rid of the ball quicker.
An overdue overhaul?
“It’s more like a tweak. It’s not necessarily changing my whole motion, just the way I’m holding the ball and kind of how I’m getting to where I’m throwing it,” Tebow told a large group of reporters Friday. “That’s kind of the biggest problem we’ve seen so that’s what we’re working on the most.”
Tebow has a team of technicians working with him, among them former NFL coaches Sam Wyche and Marc Trestman. One of the most respected quarterback groomers in the game today says the Tebow tweaking is no simple task.
“It’s always been my opinion that that’s the most difficult thing to change in any quarterback,” said Mike Holmgren, Cleveland’s team president. “I’ve read he’s got a number of guys coaching him up on that and he’s trying to change it, but it’s really hard to do, particularly in pressure situations.”
Tebow said he’s holding the ball higher to remove “that loop” from his release, but added: “My release point of where I’m actually throwing the ball is not different at all. If you broke down the film that came out, my college film, I don’t think if you watched the release or the follow-through you’d see anything different.”
Some scouts project Tebow as a second- or third-round pick who could use a “redshirt” season or so to learn behind a veteran, all the while ironing the wrinkles in his delivery.
“Whenever I get with a team, I’m going to do whatever that coach asks me to do,” he said. “If that’s work on what I need to work on for two years, then that’s what I’m going to do. But that’s not going to be a goal. I want to be the best player I can so you tell me what I have to do to do that. And then I’ll start working on that.”
Tebow spoke from a raised podium and was typically courteous with reporters, even helping them arrange their recorders in front of him. When one media member jokingly asked him to take notes for him, Tebow grabbed the notepad and pen and playfully made some scribbles on the paper.
He seemed completely at ease, as he should be, considering the constant media crush he experienced in college.
USC receiver Damian Williams said he’s a student of the game and takes bits and pieces from watching film on all sorts of NFL receivers. One of those is Arizona’s Anquan Boldin, who has a remarkable yards-after-catch (YAC) average of 5.3 for his career.
“We call him the YAC-master at our school, and that’s kind of what I was at our school, the YAC-master,” Williams said. “Just catch the ball and do what you do.”
DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, met for nearly two hours with about 400 player agents Friday and essentially told them to brace their clients for the worst.
“I told them that the message to the players over the last 10 months was to understand where they are in the business of football, to prepare for the uncapped year, that they needed to prepare themselves and their families for a lockout,” Smith said.
“They know the steps that the union has taken to prepare for that lockout, with the savings plan and the financial consulting to the players. But the message to the agents was that they have an obligation to their players to do exactly the same thing. And that each and every one of them had a fiduciary obligation to be on the same team and to prepare their players for this.”
The talk came a day after Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a negotiating session in Indianapolis that both sides said was cordial, but neither would characterize as terrifically productive. If Friday passes without a deal (or postponement) in place, there will be no salary cap this season. The current collective bargaining agreement expires after next year’s draft.
Smith said the union will be watching expenditures “very closely” when the free-agent shopping starts on Friday.