Editor's Note, by Brian Galliford: This was too good to not end up on the front page. Der Jaeger is part of Rumblings' small scouting team - yes, we're currently working behind the scenes, grading prospects - so expect to see more work like this in the coming months. End Note
This is bound to be replied to with lots of angst, but I've wanted to write about Tim Tebow for a while. First, I'm admittedly a Gators fan who has followed and cheered for the Gators and Tebow. Here's my best, and hopefully, most objective shot at reviewing Tebow's footwork and throwing motion. I've mentioned in my college reports a couple of times that I think Tebow can make the transition to NFL QB. Here's why I think that. (Some of this is reiterated from the Sam Bradford thread).
Living in the Southeast, I've watched Tebow play almost every game, and have really focused on his footwork. When you focus just on Tebow, and not the game around him, you’ll notice that when everything is right regarding his footwork, his ball comes out on target, with proper velocity, and with a good spiral.
But that doesn’t happen often.
Tebow does not transfer his weight properly from his back foot to his lead foot, and then follow through with his back foot in front of his lead foot. His back foot often kicks to the side. This greatly affects velocity and accuracy. It also makes his ball float at times, and effects his arm follow through, leading to a wobbly ball.
Tebow is inconsistent pointing his lead foot at his receiver. This affects accuracy. He over-steps with his lead foot, particularly when he tries to fit the ball into a tight window. This affects his velocity, and the ball either sails or he drills it into the ground in front of the receiver. All of this is able to be fixed. [Norm Chow was working on this with Jay Cutler at the 2006 Senior Bowl]
A lot is going to be made about Tebow’s elongated throwing motion. Here are some references to other NFL quarterbacks with awkward throwing motions or dips in their throwing motion. I apologize up front about the music with Rivers and Leftwich.
Philip Rivers 2008
Rivers holds the ball lower than most NFL QBs, though it's not as dramatic as when he was at NC State. His low hold point puts the ball into a dip on some of his throws, particularly when he's running or pressured. He snaps through his throwing motion so fast that it's not as noticable and not detrimental, but you can tell especially in this video when he's rolling left and throwing to the left.
Something to keep in mind as well: when Rivers entered the draft process, he was a second-round prospect that many disliked due to where he held the ball and throwing mechanics. After working through those issues to some degree at the Senior Bowl, he quieted enough doubters to get drafted No. 4 overall. He's worked on them enough that they are irrelevant today.
Byron Leftwich 2008
Tebow brings the ball down just as low as Leftwich does. Leftwich is more elongated from the dip point to release point. He has a classic overhead throwing motion, similar to Jim Kelly's. From that low dip point to the overhead release, it's like watching a clock hand wind. He does snap through it quick, but the motion itself hinders how fast he can cycle through.
Like his footwork, Tebow is extremely inconsistent with his throwing motion. When we talk about his elongated throwing motion, it refers to him dropping the football like a baseball pitcher, similar to Leftwich. Tebow doesn't do this for every throw. Interestingly, he throws just as well when he doesn't dip the ball as when he dips the ball.
Good throwing motion with no dip:
Deep pass on the post vs. Vanderbilt; Throw back pass vs. FSU; Slant pass for TD vs. Alabama; Corner route to TE vs. MSU; Sideline throw to 84
Bad throwing motion with dip:
Post to Murphy in BCS Championship game; TD to Nelson in SEC Championship game; and most of his other throws.
In the first video, Tebow's dipping motion isn't as pronounced, and he's getting through the motion in a more compact manner than in his highlight videos. The second video is similar, though he doesn't get through the motion as fast, but it's much more compact in terms of his motion.
What does this all mean?
We need to be talking about throwing consistency with Tebow, not flaws. He can throw the ball well with proper footwork and without a dip.
Regarding his footwork, I'm not concerned. It's fixable. QBs practice getting better all the time at their footwork. Tebow has proven that he can throw a good ball when his footwork is on.
The ball dip is more of a concern. I'd be super concerned if he only threw a good ball when the ball dipped. But when he keeps the ball up, he's throwing with similar accuracy. It's not like messing with a natural throwing motion, like the concerns with Vince Young's motion. Tebow can throw the ball correctly; he just doesn't do so with any sort of consistency.
What Tebow has is an extremely powerful arm and torso. He can generate a great deal of torque. He doesn’t have a Stafford-type arm, but it’s very strong.
His leadership is off the charts, and his motivation to win and to improve is top shelf.
That last part is the real key. Tebow's wired a bit differently than most college players; I speak specifically to his will to win relating to the improvement in consistency that he needs to make. Tebow is a team player, and has worked to run Urban Meyer's spread to perfection. Perfect throwing motion was not one of the requirements.
In a month, Tebow won't be worried about the spread option, and I'd be willing to bet that he starts working exclusively with Scot Loeffler (Michigan QB coach for Brady, etc.) on his footwork and throwing motion. Anyone here willing to bet against him that he won't improve?
If he fares well at the Combine in QB position drills, he's a high second round pick, in my opinion. The same thing happened to Pat White last year, and Tebow is a more talented player.
Please feel free to disagree with me on this... I'd like to pass on the Tebow haterade though.