Friday, August 12, 2011

A Good (Non-) Start for Tim Tebow

Last night's preseason opener was a good one for Tim Tebow. The morning-after reviews are along the lines of "Hey... not bad!"

Ironically, the critics who spent the past week bashing him only ended up reducing expectations to a tepid bath -- easily cleared by relative standards.

Most fans nationally didn't watch the entire game. They will see Tebow's high completion rate. They will see that crazy scrambling play -- called back on several penalties, but no less entertaining than any play of the first NFL preseason weekend.

But how did he really play? Fine, actually. He got solid reviews from Yahoo's Doug Farrar.

The big point is that all the criticism turns this into a game of whether or not Tebow beats the (low) expectations, not whether he plays well in an absolute sense.

Expectations-wise, Tebow exceeded. That's enough to give sports pundits a week's worth of new discussion, but I'm betting Tebow is focusing on what he can do better.

(By the way, when Kyle Orton had three chances right near the goal line and couldn't secure a TD, that's where you can't believe that a head coach would be so concerned about Orton's feelings that he wouldn't replace him with "Tebow Smash" to bull the ball in. I'm not saying John Fox would need to do that in a preseason game -- but if this was the regular season? It is strategically sub-optimal to stubbornly stick with Orton at the goal line if Tebow can smash you in a TD far more efficiently.)

-- D.S.

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