ESPN's Ron Jaworski: Tim Tebow hasn't changed as a passer

Tim Tebow looks to pass the ball during Tim Tebow looks to pass the ball during training camp. (July 29, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- For a self-described "whack job" when it comes to the mechanics of football, there is no more fascinating subject for Ron Jaworski these days than the Jets' new backup quarterback.

So the ESPN analyst, having watched video of every pass Tim Tebow threw last season, relished the chance to view him up close Monday and Wednesday as part of ESPN's small invasion of training camp.

Notice many differences, Jaws? "Very similar," he said, a bit glumly, after practice Wednesday. "A two-day sampling probably wouldn't be fair to make a full evaluation, but I see the same things I saw in Denver, a lot of the same things I saw coming out of Florida."

Jaworski, a 15-year pro at the position, has seen positive signs, including that "the ball is coming out quicker, it's a more compact motion, the ball position in his drop is much better."

But those refinements have not eased his primary reservations about Tebow.

"The concern I still have is the deeper throws, where the ball loses energy at the end of the throw," said Jaworski, who shared his thoughts with Tebow on Tuesday before doing so on national television.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"He knows he needs to work on driving the football off that back leg, keeping a small, compact base and not getting elongated where you can't snap those hips. I watched him make these throws 10 minutes ago. He can make those deep out throws when his mechanics are right.

"Tom Brady wasn't a polished product when he came out, either. Now he is. It takes time for these guys to develop proper mechanics, all the fundamentals. We all know Tim is going to work at it."

Jaworski said a passer's weight must be on his back foot at the top of his drop but that Tebow's tendency is to have his weight too far forward, costing him extended zip. "It's those deep throws where you have to bring your weight forward, drive your hips through and drive your body toward your target," he said.

Also, Tebow "has a tendency to pick the back foot up. It's like a pitcher pushing off that rubber; you have to drive off that."

As Jaworski spoke, Tebow continued to work 45 minutes after practice with quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh. Tebow kept his mechanics intact and looked better than he had in practice.

Assessing Tebow is complicated by the fact that to date the Jets have operated here exclusively from a traditional set. That is not his strength.

"He's not very good in a conventional-style offense right now, he really isn't," Jaworski said. "He needs his Tebow package. Last year 83 percent of his passes were out of the shotgun; 85 percent of his runs were out of the shotgun.

"Right now he's running a conventional, New York Jets, NFL offense and Mark Sanchez is light years ahead of him because he knows the system and he knows the personnel. Tim I would say . . . is swimming a little bit, trying to learn everything, process information quickly, get the ball out."

The real test, Jaworski said, will come when the Jets presumably do what Denver did in 2011 and tailor the offense to Tebow, including Wildcat plays on which he will operate as a back as much as a thrower. Said Jaworski: "When they put those packages in, he'll be a lot more comfortable."'

Subscribe to Newsday’s sports newsletter for stories, photos and videos about your favorite New York teams plus national sports news and events.

Comments

Newsday.com now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: