It's not about the Combine or Pro Day, or even about his mechanics. This is about flipping the storyline from the bearish analysis the week of the Senior Bowl to the bullish "redemption" storyline that every single sports media person thrives on. "He's working on it"... "He's getting better"...
Whether or not Tebow is ready to start as a full-time NFL QB in the fall of 2010 -- and why should he be? -- is irrelevant. What is entirely relevant is the story goes from "Tebow can't throw" to "Tebow can throw just fine," which gives a team that wants it the permission to draft Tebow in the 1st round, no matter what the draftniks say. It pushes back against the draftniks.
This story -- including its timing (pre-Combine) and who is filing it (ESPN's lead NFL "information" guy) and how it reads (sympathetic) -- is as much about the perception as the reality of how his throws actually look. Thus Schefter's "Tebow 2.0" characterization. That Senior Bowl stuff? Old Tebow. What is happening now? The re-boot.
A few more thoughts:
*Tebow was always going to have to work on his mechanics.
*Contrary to some opinions (like Kiper's), Tebow did NOT make a mistake in going to the Senior Bowl. If not for the scrutiny at the Senior Bowl, I don't think he and his handlers would have nearly the grasp of the magnitude of the questions about his mechanics.
However, I don't doubt the comprehensive criticism wasn't helpful to those in his training camp who were trying to impress on Tebow and his team that some serious work had to be done. (Although to Tebow's point, I don't doubt that he has always been open to improving his mechanics, although I think the pre-Draft context is a lot different from pre-Senior year context.)
*It is unsurprising for Tebow to skip working out at this week's NFL Combine. He is still working on his revamped mechanics; it would be crazy to roll out the product before that work was done, like announcing the iPhone a year before it was ready.
*Florida's Pro Day on March 17 -- featuring Tebow and the restructured mechanics -- will be the most-watched, most-hyped pre-Draft event until the week of the Draft itself. I would not be surprised if the event was broadcast live.
*Even by the time we get to Pro Day, don't expect his form to be flawless -- but definitely improved. The point is that he is rebuilding it not for that particular day -- or even for mini-camp or training camp -- but for next fall... and even the fall of 2011, 2012 and beyond.
*The work is actually working. Now, his tutors Bratkowski and Trestman are being paid, in part, to promote Tebow's improvements. But I trust them entirely when they say stuff like this:
"You're not looking at the same quarterback," said Bratkowski, who has worked with quarterbacks such as San Diego's Philip Rivers, Philadelphia's Michael Vick and Boomer Esiason. "To say we're there 100 percent where we want to be, no. But we'll be more improved come pro day than we are at this point in time now."
Watch the video in the ESPN link: His mechanics DO look better, already. Just wait for another four weeks' worth of work, then another few months of work after that, then another two years after that. You can see the glimmer of a pathway to mechanics not being a problem, which opens the door for Tebow to be a full-time NFL QB, no matter what draftniks say in January 2010.
"That's the reason we're trying to rep it and rep it and rep it," Bratkowski said. Those who have seen Tebow's new delivery believe it is noticeably quicker."The ball is coming out a lot faster now," Trestman said.
UPDATE: Ben Volin has a terrific bit of original reporting on this.