After Cam Newton's second preseason start in the 2011 season, analysts from ESPN and NFL Network loudly praised Newton's exciting game; however, his game looked surprisingly similar to Tim Tebow.
In the game against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals, Cam Newton completed only 6-of-19 passes for 75 yards. Instead of critiquing the persistent inaccuracy he displayed in the game, the news programs highlighted his few completions.
A couple of weeks ago, in the Broncos first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys, Tebow was 6-of-7 for 91 yards. Tim had a beautifully lofted 40-yard pass completion, which was glossed over by analysts.
In fact, one specific Tebow-hater, Merril Hoge, personally attacked Tebow's game, explaining away the huge gain as an easy-open passing lane. Hoge blasted Tebow, saying (h/t Pro Football Talk), "Yes, he completes it, but that’s a perfect setting. In the National Football League, almost 50 percent of all throws are under duress. So you’re not going to have that every time."
Hoge went on to say (paraphrase): "Tebow has developed so many bad habits as a passer that it’s too late for him to change." And he said that any player on the Broncos can plainly see that Tebow has no business being their starter.
That was after a near perfect passing day, where he only had one incompletion. Tebow's quarterback rating was 118.8 percent.
Newton's passing accuracy is much worse than Tebow, but even former Denver Bronco and current ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth glossed over the glaring passing accuracy issues and instead reassured Newton fans that the Panthers shouldn't force him to be a pocket passer right away. He said later that night on SportsCenter:
Listen, don't try to take this guy who is an exceptional athlete and make him a pocket passer right away. Obviously, that has to be a part of the repertoire, but to me, you have to get him comfortable. Get him outside of the pocket. Give him a run-pass option. Create some easy throws for him to get in a rhythm... The coaching staff has to put him in a situation where he can have success and he can get more comfortable outside the pocket, because that's really what he is.
Talk about a double standard!
Every missed pass Tim Tebow throws is criticized and analyzed. Every critic in the league jumps at the opportunity to point out Tebow's development issues and unorthodox throwing motion. It's disgusting.
Newton, a No. 1 overall draft pick, needs to be given time to develop, to learn and grow as a quarterback. But Tebow, after three NFL starts and a couple of offseasons, needs to already be a pure pocket passer.
Aren't No. 1 overall draft picks supposed to be players that are at such a high level that they only need minimal work to get them ready for pro football?
I see the same type of "flaws" in Newton that critics have attacked Tebow about, deeming him a long-term project.
Schlereth states that he needs to be given a run-pass option where he can look at the defense and tuck it and run if he sees things break down because that's who he is.
Is Tebow any different?
When Tebow tucks the ball and runs to try and make a play out of nothing when the pass blocking breaks down, he is called reckless and impatient. When Newton runs for a 15-yard diving touchdown in the preseason, he is called brave and courageous.
In the recap of the game on NFL Network, the commentators encouraged Newton when he took off towards the end zone for his rushing touchdown: "Do a whole bunch of this Cam! One read, two reads, hit 'em with the left shoulder, Cam. He could not be stopped."
On another play, Newton scrambled for 26 yards and the commentator exclaimed: "Look at him go!"
Are you kidding me?
Newton and Tebow's games are so similar, but everyone with a "credible" opinion seems to think that if Newton does it, then he should receive praised. But when Tebow tries, everyone says he shouldn't even be in the NFL.
I wonder what Merrill Hoge has to say about Newton's mechanics, his lack of touch with passes and airmailing the ball over receivers' heads. I wonder if Hoge's twitter account will be firing shots at Newton.
I doubt it.
Everything that the analysts believe about Newton should apply to Tebow. It's not Tebow's fault if the offense is designed for a different type of quarterback that he is still working at becoming.
Instead, it is the coaching staff's fault for failing to create an environment for Tebow where he can thrive, succeed and utilize the special skill set that he possesses.
Everyone who thinks that Tebow isn't anywhere near ready to be a starter in the NFL had better not praise the Panthers for their decision to start Newton in Week 1 of the season, because the two look very similar.
All this hypocrisy is ridiculous!