Tim Tebow's Blueprint for Earning Spot on Patriots' 53-Man Roster

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IAugust 26, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 16:  Tim Tebow #5 of the New England Patriots warms up prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium on August 16, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Tim Tebow isn't a lock to make the final 53-man roster of the New England Patriots, but he still has time to make a case for it in the team's final preseason game against the New York Giants.

Through two preseason games (he didn't play a single snap in Week 3), the former Heisman Trophy winner has looked more uncomfortable and incompetent than he ever has before.

Having completed just five of 19 passes for 54 yards (minus-one yard in his last start) for zero touchdowns and one interception, Tebow seems to have regressed even more this season than he did a year ago with the circus New York Jets

It just doesn't make any sense, really.

Tebow has been lauded throughout his entire career—both in college and as a pro—for being a hard worker, as noted by Clark Judge of CBSSports.com: "He works hard to overcome his limitations, plays hard to overcome his opponents and is a natural leader."

He has the desire to become great, and he puts in the hard work needed to become great.

But in three-plus NFL seasons, Tebow hasn't reached his goals—putting it mildly. If he puts together another nightmare performance on Thursday, the Patriots would be crazy to keep him on the 53-man roster.

Here's what Tebow needs to do in order to belay what appears to be his inevitable release from the Patriots.


Complete More than Half His Passes

Tebow must be able to show he can get the ball where it needs to be on time and with accuracy. 

Not counting dropped passes, he must complete more than 50 percent of his passes on Thursday. For most quarterbacks, the 50 percent mark would be an easy goal. 

Tebow is not most quarterbacks, however.

In his three-plus seasons as a pro, he's completed just 47.9 percent of his passes, and in two games this preseason, he's been far worse (26.3 percent).

When he connects with his receivers, it's more often than not on throws deep downfield. Slant patterns, quick outs and other timing patterns have given Tebow fits over the years, and these are the passes he must start completing on a regular basis. 


Play with Confidence and Relax

Bleacher Report Lead NFL writer Mike Freeman recently divulged some interesting insider information. He reports that NFL scouts are stunned by the way Tebow has regressed in the past couple of years. 

He was highly efficient in college, completing 66.4 percent of his career passes. 

Granted, college defenses don't compare to what the NFL has to offer, but the drop-off in production and efficiency from when he left Florida in 2009 until now is staggering.

Since joining the NFL, however, Tebow has been constantly tinkering with his throwing motion, trying to shorten up his elongated delivery. 

It was a huge focus leading up to the 2010 NFL draft, and it was something he worked hard on prior to this season, as noted by Chris Dell of the New York Daily News.

But when you watch Tebow play in games these days, he appears to be getting too wrapped up in doing everything right rather than simply playing the game he loves.

It's hard to blame him, given the amount of national attention being paid to a third-string quarterback. That said, Tebow isn't going to be able to play at his best until he can approach the game with the relaxed confidence he had during his days in college.

Right now, he's playing with the weight of the world on his shoulders, but Tebow's no Atlas. It's time to shrug off the burdens weighing him down and simply play for the love of the game once again.


Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78.