Posted by Ryan Wilson
That's right, we're tracking Tebow's performance throughout the preseason because, well, like a slow-motion train wreck we can't look away. And who knows, maybe this experiment doesn't derail and it has a happy ending. Wait, what's that? You don't care about Tebow? Then what are you doing here?
When the Broncos selected Tim Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the plan, presumably, was to eventually make him the franchise quarterback. Even with his unconventional style and unorthodox throwing motion, Tebow arrived in Denver a Heisman Trophy winner and national champion. Plus, successful NFL teams aren't in business of drafting backups in the first round.
So it wasn't wholly surprising when word leaked over the summer that the Broncos would trade incumbent QB Kyle Orton as soon as the lockout ended, and the gig would be Tebow's to lose.
And then something happened. Not only was Orton still with the Broncos, he was outplaying Tebow in training camp and ultimately named the starter. In less than a week, Tebow went from "the guy" to "the guy battling Brady Quinn for the honor of holding a clipboard on Sundays."
But Tebow is no quitter. He'll unleash every cliche that pops into his brain when describing his love for the game and his hopes and dreams for the future. With that in mind, we've fired up the Tebow Tracker, which will chart every one of his preseason snaps, the result, and what it all means for him and the Broncos in 2011.
We've also added quotes, videos and photos because, really, you can never have too much Tebow. So let's get to it.
First up: a play-by-play breakdown of Tebow's performance against the Cowboys in the Thursday night preseason opener. He replaced Orton late in the first quarter, during the Broncos' second series. Tebow played the rest of the half and ended the night with some pretty impressive numbers: he completed 6 of 7 throws for 91 yards, and rushed two times for 15 yards.
Sometimes, however, there's more to the story than the box score…
|Preseason, Week 1: Dallas Cowboys|
|1st series, 4:07 left in 1st qtr.||1st & 10, DEN 14||Tebow handoff to L.Ball up the middle to DEN 12 for -2 yards.||(Note: you can see the entire play-by-play log here.)|
|2nd & 12, DEN 12||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass short left to D.Anderson to DEN 25 for 13 yards.||Worth pointing out that this was a screen pass. The ball traveled five yards in the air.|
|1st & 10, DEN 25||(From the shotgun) Tebow up the middle to DEN 27 for 2 yards.||This was the patented Tebow Sneak made popular at Florida. The difference: he ain't playing Vandy.|
|2nd & 8, DEN 27||Tebow handoff to L.Ball to DEN 28 for 1 yard.||Perfect form on the handoff, for what it's worth.|
|3rd & 7, DEN 28||(From the shotgun) PENALTY on DAL-B.McCann, Defensive Pass Interference, 12 yards, enforced at DEN 28 - No Play.||Yes, it was PI, but it was an awful decision by Tebow to throw the ball as he got hit. It was a fluttering duck -- he should've taken the sack.|
|1st & 10, DEN 40||Tebow handoff to L.White to DEN 42 for 2 yards.|
|2nd & 8, DEN 42||Tebow sacked at DEN 32 for -10 yards.||Bobbled snap and about 2.8 seconds later, Tebow was crushed. Timing thrown off from the start but he didn't have a chance.|
|3rd & 18, DEN 32||Tebow handoff to L.White up the middle to DEN 36 for 4 yards.|
|4th & 14, DEN 36||PUNT|
|3rd series, 11:19 left in 2nd qtr.||1st & 10, DEN 10||Tebow handoff to L.Ball left guard to DEN 15 for 5 yards.|
|2nd & 5, DEN 15||Tebow pass deep middle to M.Willis to DAL 42 for 43 yards. Pass complete off play action on a "Go" route.||SEE VIDEO BELOW! Nice play-action fake and Tebow's throw beat three defenders.|
|1st & 10, DAL 42||(From the shotgun) T.Tebow pass short left to L.Ball pushed OB at DAL 30 for 12 yards.
||Another screen pass. (The throw didn't even make it to the line of scrimmage.)|
|1st & 10, DAL 30||Tebow handoff to L.White to DAL 29 for 1 yard.||Just wanted to point out that LenDale looks less chubby standing next to Tebow.|
|2nd & 9, DAL 29||Tebow handoff to L.White up the middle to DAL 26 for 3 yards.|
|3rd & 6, DAL 26||(From the shotgun) Tebow scrambles up the middle to DAL 21 for 5 yards. PENALTY on DEN, Illegal Shift, 5 yards, enforced at DAL 26 - No Play.||Tebow drops back and promptly tucks and run. Takes a good lick from a Cowboys defender.|
|3rd & 11, DAL 31||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass short right to M.Willis to DAL 24 for 7 yards.||One-step drop and he hits Willis a little low and behind him. Not awful, not great.|
|4th & 4, DAL 24||FIELD GOAL|
|4th series, 4:34 left in 2nd qtr.||1st & 10, DEN 13||Tebow handoff to L.Ball right tackle to DEN 14 for 1 yard.|
|2nd & 9, DEN 14||Tebow handoff to L.Ball left tackle to DEN 17 for 3 yards.|
|3rd & 6, DEN 17||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass short right to D.Anderson to DEN 27 for 10 yards. Pass complete on a curl.||Tebow stands tall in the pocket, steps into it, takes a hard hit but completes the pass. Best throw of the night.|
|1st & 10, DEN 27||Tebow handoff to L.Ball right tackle to DEN 28 for 1 yard.|
|2nd & 9, DEN 28||Tebow pass incomplete short right. PENALTY on DEN-L.White, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 28 - No Play. Pass was thrown away out of the bounds.|
|2nd & 19, DEN 18||Tebow handoff to L.Ball left tackle to DEN 21 for 3 yards.|
|3rd & 16, DEN 21||(From the shotgun) Tebow scrambles left end to DEN 34 for 13 yards.||Three-step drop, goes through progressions, and runs up the middle. Reminiscent of halcyon college days.|
|4th & 3, DEN 34||PUNT|
|5th series, 1:00 left in 2nd qtr.||1st & 10, DAL 7||(From the shotgun) Tebow left end for 7 yards, TOUCHDOWN NULLIFIED by Penalty. PENALTY on DEN-C.Clark, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DAL 7 - No Play.||Another Tebow Sneak. He walks into the end zone untouched but it's called back.|
|1st & 17, DAL 17||Tebow pass incomplete short left to B.Davis. Pass incomplete sideline.||Play-action fake, he sits in the pocket for a few beats, rolls left and throws a 14-yard out route 12 yards. Pretty ugly short-hop.|
|2nd & 17, DAL 17||(From the shotgun) Tebow handoff to L.Ball left tackle to DAL 14 for 3 yards.|
|3rd & 14, DAL 14||(From the shotgun) Tebow pass short right to B.Davis pushed OB at DAL 8 for 6 yards. Penalty on DEN-J.Thomas, Illegal Block Above the Waist, declined. Penalty on DEN-T.Tebow, Illegal Forward Pass, declined. Penalty on DEN-M.Ramirez, Illegal Receiver Pass, declined.||Doesn't give play a chance to develop. Tucks and runs, bounces off a few would-be tacklers, and then tries to throw a pass. He's called for illegal forward pass. This play is a microcosm of his night.|
|4th & 8, DAL 8||FIELD GOAL|
Audio & Video
Tebow is a lot like Tiger Woods in that no matter how he's playing, he's always the story. Tebow's diametrically different from Woods in that he's never accomplished anything professionally, much less dominated his sport. But golf fans -- and even Tiger supporters -- will tell you that the media coverage can be a bit much. And that mentality (of which we are most certainly guilty) explains why we at CBSSports.com recorded not one but two Tebow-centric podcasts last week:
Matt Willis, during the Broncos' third series. We saw this play live and our first thought was that Tebow fans will be talking about this throw 20 years from now. "Remember than BOMB Tebow threw against the Cowboys in preseason? Man, that was awesome."
NFL Network's Albert Breer: "One scout, charged with studying the Cowboys-Broncos game, texted that Tebow 'looked like a No. 3.' He went on to compare Tebow to Charles Barkley. Not Barkley the basketball player. Barkley the golfer. The scout explained, '[Noted golf teacher] Hank Haney couldn't help Chuck's swing. Hell, Johnny U couldn't help Tebow's throwing motion."
Cowboys television announcers before the game: "We were watching Tebow in warmups and I don't know that I've ever seen a guy throw the ball more inaccurately at this level. And I'm not talking starters, I'm talking (No.) 1, 2, 3, 4 (on the QB depth chart). I'm not being unkind here but he was throwing the ball against air. Just receivers, throwing routes, and skipping balls, and high ... his accuracy is really in question."
CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman: "Now, I don't think Tebow is an NFL quarterback, but to rip him for his throws during freaking warmups is pretty insane. The Tebow bashing has reached DefCon levels when that happens. But again, he's not a pro quarterback, and based on what I've seen, he won't be anything more than a backup, if that. It's easy to see why and it leads to a difficult truth and problem: Tebow was extremely ill-served by his college offense and coach."
And to refresh your memory, here's what ESPN analyst Merril Hoge tweeted about Tebow back on August 3 (all sic'd):
"Sitting watching tape off bronco offense from last year! Orton or Tebow? It's embarrassing to think the broncos could win with tebow!!" ...
"QB play is not just about who works hard gives rare rare college speeches or who is a good guy!! Because orton works hard And is a good guy as well. It's about who can play!! I just watched Tebow throw 5 out routes to a wide open WR! He was 1 for 5!" ...
"College credentials do not transfer to NFL raw raw speeches do not work! You must poses a skill set to play! Tebow struggle with accuracy!"
And just so you know that Tebow has supporters in the media…
ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Herm Edwards: “Personally I hope so because I think he’s good for football [with] everything he brings to the table. What he has to do is help himself and become a better player inside the pocket. As rugged as he is, as tough as he is, the leadership skills he has, you have to play inside the pocket because if you continue to play outside the pocket you’re gonna get hit and these are big guys hitting you defensively. He showed some things last night you liked. He moved the team, he moved the chains, and at times he looked like a rookie. And that’s what he is, a rookie quarterback with not a lot of experience.”
(click on images to enlarge)
Please join us next week for another installment of "Tracking Tebow." You know you want to.
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