ESPN's Adam Schefter has a report today that begins with this sentence: "Tim Tebow is, essentially, painting over the masterpiece he created at the University of Florida." So it's good to see that the penchant for whipping up storms of hyperbole around Tebow didn't end with that Super Bowl ad. At least the kernel of news in the story matters on the football field: Tebow is discarding the looping throwing motion that has been much maligned by NFL observers.
Tebow has been spending his days in Nashville, where he is working with a team of coaches on his transition to the NFL. He says the best parts of the new release, which he will unveil at Florida's pro day on March 17, are the confidence and accuracy it has given him. He completed 67 percent of his throws at Florida with the old motion, though, so the accuracy isn't really the issue; it's the winding motion that NFL secondaries would instantly read and the waist-high beginning point that NFL pass-rushers would convert to a fumble or two per game. Cleaning up those two problems will go a long way towards making Tebow a successful NFL quarterback.
But here's the best thing about this change for Tebow, who says "I'm not changing who I am or how I approach football": it demonstrates his malleability.Tebow's only been accused of obstinacy by tacklers, but showing eagerness to improve as a player, willingness to take criticism, and confidence in his ability to do both while also being effective on the field? That will impress any coach.
Pairing that openness to change with Tebow's legendary work ethic in preparation will get figures of a 6'3", 240-pound jack-of-all-trades dancing in GMs' heads. It's more important to Tebow, though, that he is demonstrating this desire to get better as a quarterback. While a significant part of Tebow's appeal is likely as a hybrid player, Tebow wants to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Coaches do not give that position to players who can't take criticism and learn from it, or at least not for long; Tebow has shown, time and again, that he can take criticism, but this is probably the greatest change he has made in his game.
I wonder if, even though the primary long-term benefits of a revamped motion will be on the field, Tebow can fully rebuild his motion, one he has had since he was a Little League pitcher, in the months before the 2010 season. The immediate benefit he will get from this change, which comes in the form of brownie points and gold stars on character evaluations, may have to suffice for now.
When Tebow tells evaluators at this week's scouting combine that he will do whatever is necessary to fulfill his dream of being an NFL quarterback, they will believe him: not just because of what he has said, but because of what he has done. Backing up his words in a game of expectations taking place long before his first NFL snap will help Tebow come draft day.â†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.