NFL: Dolphins QB coach takes Tebow under his wing
By Jeff Darlington
MIAMI — Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach David Lee already has been credited with some impressive accomplishments during the past seven years.
He’s the assistant who brought the Wildcat offense to Miami in 2008, and he also is the former Cowboys quality control coach who is recognized for developing Tony Romo’s throwing motion in 2003 before Romo budded into a star.
It could soon be time to add another: The Tim Tebow project.
“I’ve learned a lot from Coach Lee,” said Tebow, who concluded his NFL Combine workouts Sunday. “He’s a great coach. We worked a lot on different drops, on coming out of play actions, adjustments in plays they had. It’s a wonderful experience for me.”
Although it has since subdued, Lee’s tutelage began on the first day Tebow arrived at the Senior Bowl in late January. The pair immediately developed a strong bond as Lee began to quietly initiate a process that has become one of the biggest stories of the NFL Draft.
Although few have mentioned Lee’s impact on Tebow’s adjustments, the coach nonetheless had a major influence on the latest changes to his throwing motion.
“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 said.
The Dolphins are unlikely to draft Tebow, which might make Lee’s invested interest in the quarterback seem unusual. But Miami’s role as the coaching staff at the Senior Bowl comes with a certain responsibility to actually coach the players.
Lee found himself extremely impressed by Tebow’s makeup, resulting in lessons that were natural and productive.
“Working with Coach Lee a lot, one-on-one, was wonderful,” Tebow said.
It remains to be seen whether Lee’s influence will pay off. Because of the ongoing development of his new motion, Tebow decided not to participate in passing drills Sunday. He will instead wait until his Pro Day at Florida on March 17.
“It’s not necessarily that I’m throwing the ball higher, but I am holding the ball higher, not dropping it, not getting that loop in my release,” Tebow said.
It’s a major undertaking, given the short time frame Tebow is trying to make the changes. And although coaches like Lee believe Tebow has the football smarts and work ethic to make it happen, others are still wary.
“His motion has been talked about a little bit,” Browns president Mike Holmgren said. “It’s always been my opinion that’s the most difficult thing to change in any quarterback. 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, I think. Particularly in pressure situations.”
Although this would have typically been the weekend when NFL scouts would have taken a closer look at his throwing motion, they must instead wait. But scouts can chew on this:
On Sunday, the same day he posted 40-yard dash times of 4.7 and 4.72, Tebow also recorded a 38.5-inch vertical jump — tying the highest mark by a quarterback in combine history.
Tebow can run. Tebow can jump. Soon, we will find out whether his new throwing motion will match those other aspects of his game.
“Tim will take all of what David taught him and know exactly what he needs to work on,” Miami general manager Jeff Ireland told ESPN.com. “I don’t think anyone can truly appreciate how fortunate he was to work with David in Mobile.”