Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Draft Watch: Tebow as...NFL Safety?

I'm a huge fan of Fanhouse's Michael David Smith -- I count him as a friend. And as an NFL analyst, he's first-rate. But I disagree with his analysis of Tim Tebow's NFL future as a safety.

Let's start with a place of agreement: Based on the existing model of starting NFL quarterbacks, Tim Tebow doesn't fit, for a variety of reasons, well-documented.

MDS appears to argue that disqualifies Tebow for ANY snaps as an NFL QB, and that his hit on Eric Berry -- and his general intensity -- means he is better suited as a safety.

(Let's quash that right here, using MDS's own caveat: Tebow isn't nearly fast enough to play safety in the NFL.)

I would argue that Tebow's game as showcased against Tennessee -- and his overall strengths -- lend himself as a specialized or situational NFL QB: Short-yardage and red-zone situations.

Is that a "Wildcat specialist?" Only if you think that the imagination of NFL offensive coordinators is limited to what we already know, as opposed to what is possible.

(Remember: It took a college coach -- Arkansas assistant David Lee -- to bring the Wildcat to the NFL, out of both opportunity and necessity. Don't think that new iterations aren't out there.)

This is why Urban Meyer constantly stresses that Tebow needs to be in the right context to succeed -- and why Tebow fans would love to see him playing for Bill Belichick.

Playing out of the myriad variations of the single-wing, Tebow could be very effective as a short-yardage or goal-line specialist. Under Belichick, can't you see Tebow accounting for 10-15 TDs per season? I think Belichick can. (The mistake isn't overvaluing Tebow; the mistake would be overvaluing Tom Brady.)

If Tebow is drafted into a situation where he is expected to step in and play full-time QB -- say, with the unimaginative Redskins or Jaguars -- he won't fulfill his potential.

But as the vanguard of a new breed of dual-threat, spread-trained college QBs -- including Terrelle Pryor, Joe Webb, Dan LeFevour and others -- deployed by innovative coaches, Tebow and the group could be very effective.

It feels like the theme of the week: Re-setting expectations. For Tebow this year, it is simply winning, not putting up 2007-Heismanish numbers.

For Tebow next year, it is simply finding the right fit for his unique skills.

1 comment:

  1. How can people say Tebow isn't capable of passing in the NFL?

    Did you NOT watch the Alabama and Oklahoma games?

    You are basing the determination that Tebow isn't an NFL QB on one game against Tennessee which he won and was never behind in?

    Tebow didn't pass against Tennessee becausehe din't need to and they were defending him t he way they were. They were daring him to beat them running the ball. They can get away with that because the gators don't have a true between the tackles runningback other than Tebow.. well.. let me rephrase that.. they don't have a runningback that would allow them to go undefeated without Tebow. But who does? look at Georgia the past 2 seasons.. they had Matt Stafford AND an NFL runninbak and STILL couldn't win a national championship!

    Sure.. Tebow could pass like all the other QBs and LOSE... but he doesn't need to.. because he is Tim Tebow and they aren't.

    It's almost as if people would rather see Tebow pass and lose.. and the only real difference would be that he has an unconventional throwing motion.. regardless of what his real passing capabilities.

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