Hype and popularity are tough things to face, and no one has more of it stacked up against him than Tim Tebow.
Tebow made his NFL debut Sunday night in a preseason matchup between the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals.
Did we learn anything new from Tebow?
Or was it just the same ol' Florida quarterback, with quick feet, leadership potential, but throwing mechanic imperfections.
Tebow finished his debut completing eight of 13 passes for 105 yards and rushing for one touchdown.
Taking a look at the numbers, you see Tebow had a decent first performance.
Breaking down, analyzing, and taking a closer look at Tebow's night, here are some key observations:
Tebow will need his feet:
Tim Tebow was welcomed to the NFL in rude and abrupt fashion. No one did a better job of greeting than Cincinnati Bengals safety Jeromy Miles. Miles came flying around the corner, drilling an unsuspecting Tebow, causing Tebow to lose grip on the ball and fumble. Luckily, the play was reviewed, and the fumble called back.
One can't help but put some blame on Denver's offensive line for the huge hit and pressure put on Tebow. Because of the lack of protection, Tebow was rushed and forced to use his feet all game long.
If Tebow continues to be the third-string quarterback and play with some of the third-string guys on the line, he'll have to rely heavily on his ability to scramble and use those feet.
Tebow has been known for his scrambling and unique skill set for evading the rush and becoming a runner. He showed he'll continue to be known for this in the NFL.
Tebow is resilient, and reliable:
Many times a big hit on a quarterback does more than rough him up, but will also mess with his mentality. That didn't appear to be the case with Tim Tebow.
After the big blow from Miles on the previous possession, Tebow bounced back and made the most of his next one. Tebow displayed toughness and efficiency, leading the Broncos on a last minute drive With 1:09 remaining in the game, Tebow was able to lead Denver 73 yards, capping off the drive with his feet and a 7-yard touchdown run.
Tebow has potential in his arm:
Tebow's first appearance throwing the ball in the NFL was a bit of a mix-bag.
There were two throws in particular in which Tebow displayed great accuracy. One came on a long third-down pass down the sidelines to Broncos receiver Matthew Willis. The throw hit Willis right in stride and in the hands, but was dropped by the Broncos receiver.
Another great showing of Tebow's arm was seen on his touchdown leading drive. Tebow delivered a nice 33-yard strike to his receiver Britt Davis. A great throw individually, but delivering it on a last minute drive was an added bonus.
Referring back to the mix-bag, there were also bad displays of Tebow's arm that could be pulled from his performance.
Tebow had a couple throws that could've, and most likely should've been intercepted by the Bengals secondary. Some attribute these drops to the zip and velocity from Tebow's throw, claiming defenders were unable to hold on because of it.
Bottom Line: Tim Tebow still does not have an NFL release and has mechanics that need work. But, the velocity, zip, and accuracy appear to be present and something that could be "chiseled" out Tebow's current throwing motion.
Move over Brady Quinn:
Brady Quinn looked unspectacular in his Bronco's debut. Quinn completed just six of 16 passes for 68 yards and threw for a costly interception that was returned for a touchdown.
There was no doubt that Tebow upstaged and outperformed Quinn in Sunday night's game. Quinn looked uncomfortable and was inaccurate, whereas Tebow looked confident and more in-tune with the offense.
If Tebow continues to perform the way he did and show development and growth in his mechanics, Quinn may be finding himself farther back on the depth chart.
Tim Tebow looked like the future for the Denver Broncos and a great backup to starter Kyle Orton.
Brady Quinn did not.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see the growth and continued development of Tim Tebow. There is definitely great film that Tebow can now take back to the film room and analyze, critique and better himself with.
While some of the same ol' Tim Tebow was evident, a confident and resilient Tebow showed that he's willing to put in the work, and forget the past.