What Does Tim Tebow Need to Do to Lock Up the Starting Job?
Of course, the biggest obstacle keeping Tim Tebow from being the starter is Kyle Orton. If Orton weren't in the mix, the Broncos would have little choice but to turn the reigns over to the young phenom.
With Orton there, the team is waiting on Tebow to prove that he is ready to lead the team. With so much invested in his development, it's clear that the team wants to give him every chance to force his way into the starting lineup.
For that to happen, though, Tebow has to show some marked improvement. Last season in his three game stint as the starter, Tebow threw five touchdown passes compared to three interceptions, but only completed 50 percent of his passes.
First and foremost, that completion percentage will have to come up. While trying to get him in sync with the offense, the Broncos will likely run a more conservative version of their offense. If that is indeed the case, his accuracy on short routes will be very important.
Another hurdle for Tebow will of course be his transition from his wide-open, shotgun formation offense at Florida to a more conservative under-center, "pro style" offense like the one used in Denver.
It seems trivial, but that transition is one that has eaten several successful college quarterbacks alive. When you are used to having a buffer between yourself and the defensive front on every play, it's tough to get used to having that defensive front staring you in the face on every snap.
The biggest improvement Tebow needs to make in the eyes of the coaching staff isn't any of those things. It's something much more subtle and often overlooked.
Woody Paige of the Denver Post wrote about that concern recently:
"He has to make his drops (into the backfield) quickly. Tim has spent his career in the shotgun," Fox said.
To be successful when taking snaps under center, a quarterback has to be quick to get back in the pocket. In watching tapes of his three starts last season, the coaching staff observed that Tebow was a little slow getting back in the pocket and his footwork got a bit sloppier on the longer drops.
Tebow has all the tools necessary to be successful. He just needs that extra layer of polish and the time to fully adapt to the differences between the college and pro games.
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