Why the Success of Drew Brees and Philip Rivers Won't Translate for Tim Tebow

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IJuly 5, 2010

There's been plenty of articles that I've seen recently that are trying to make a point about unorthodox deliveries. The conventional wisdom is that if a few players are able to do it, then Tim Tebow should be able to as well. 

A couple of names I've seen that Tebow has been compared to is Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers and Drew Brees, who started out with the Chargers and then went to the New Orleans Saints

For every success story like Rivers and Brees, there are failures.

Michael Bishop, at Kansas State, possessed a cannon for an arm as well as the ability to run, but never found success at the NFL level. He only appeared in eight games in 2000 and was gone from the league. 

Tommie Frazier at Nebraska never drafted.

Scott Frost of the same school was drafted, but never saw time as a quarterback and was instead switched to a defensive back.

The same can be said for another quarterback out of Nebraska in Eric Crouch, who at first didn't want to give up the thought of playing quarterback. 

How about a quarterback from the SEC? Do I even have to go over what happened with JaMarcus Russell in Oakland

But, now you're getting the picture that just because there's success at the college level (like Frazier, Frost, and Couch) doesn't necessarily mean success at the next level.

Jake Locker is getting hyped for next years draft as the number one pick and the best quarterback in college football because he's running an offense that allows quarterbacks to be more prepared for the NFL level. 

With Tebow it's a little different because, unlike Couch and Frost, he has the height factor playing for him (he's 6'4"). The other issues are his footwork, his actual throwing mechanics, and the fact that he played his career in the spread. 

Alex Smith is another quarterback who was mobile, drafted as the number one pick out of Utah, and who ran the similar system that Tebow did under the same coach in Urban Meyer.

Smith has never found any kind of consistent success at the NFL level. Part of that is the fact that in the spread offense the quarterback is calling the plays out of the shotgun formation. 

In the NFL shotgun formations are used, but not 100 percent of the time. In fact, for Smith, it wasn't until more plays out of the shotgun formation that he actually began to look more comfortable. 

The spread also has very few reads as well. So, the quarterback isn't used to surveying the entire field—it's either look at option one or two and if those aren't available dump the ball off or make a run for it.

Another issue with comparing Tebow to Rivers and Brees is the fact that Tebow played in the spread at Florida while Rivers and Brees, at their respective schools, played in the pro-style offense. 

A pro-style offense basically means that there's not as many gimmicks in the offense. The quarterback will call the plays from under center and will, on occasion, drop back into shotgun formation. 

Also, in a pro-style offense, the quarterback learns how to survey the entire field and instead of looking at just two options, they'll look for the third or fourth option before either running with the football or dumping it off. 

Here's a link to team by team list of schools that run pro-style, spread, and other types of offensive schemes. 

Now for fun let's look at the college numbers for Tebow, Rivers, and Brees. 

Tim Tebow    

Sophomore : 234-of-350, 3286 yards, 32 touchdowns to six interceptions, and 210 carries for 895 yards and 23 touchdowns. 

Junior : 192-of-298, 2746 yards, 30 touchdowns to four interceptions, and 176 carries for 763 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

Senior : 213-of-314, 2895 yards, 21 touchdowns to five interceptions, and 217 carries for 910 yards and 14 touchdowns. 

Average Season : 213-of-320, 2976 yards, 28 touchdowns to five interceptions, and 201 carries for 856 yards and 16 touchdowns. 

Average Game : 16-of-23, 218 yards, two touchdowns, to .4 interceptions, and 15 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown. 

Philip Rivers 

Freshman : 237-of-441, 3054 yards, 25 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, and 73 carries for a negative 85 yards and two touchdowns. 

Sophomore : 240-of-369, 2586 yards, 16 touchdowns to seven interceptions, and 44 carries for a negative 26 yards and two touchdowns. 

Junior : 262-of-418, 3353 yards, 20 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, and 57 carries for 100 yards and 10 touchdowns. 

Senior : 348-of-483, 4491 yards, 34 touchdowns to seven interceptions, and 78 carries for 109 yards and three touchdowns. 

Average Season : 272-of-428, 3371 yards, 24 touchdowns to nine interceptions, and 63 caries for 108 yards and four touchdowns. 

Average Game : 22-of-35, 275 yards, two touchdowns to .7 interceptions, and 5 carries for two yards and .35 touchdowns.

Drew Brees  

Sophomore : 369-of-561, 3983 yards, 39 touchdowns to 20 interceptions, and 69 carries for 193 yards and three touchdowns. 

Junior : 337-of-554, 3909, 25 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, and 79 carries for 177 yards and four touchdowns. 

Senior : 309-of-512, 3668, 26 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, and 95 carries for 521 yards and five touchdowns. 

Average Season : 338-of-542, 30 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and 81 carries for 297 yards and four touchdowns. 

Average Game : 27-of-44, two touchdowns to one interception, seven carries for 24 yards and .3 touchdowns. 

As you can see, Tebow did more running than Rivers and Brees which subsequently also means that Tebow threw the least amount of passes, yards, and touchdowns in total. 

Per season is a little different because Rivers played all four years instead of coming in as a sophomore. 

Another big thing is that when both Rivers and Brees were coming out of their respective schools, they did not have to change their throwing motion (even if they both were unorthodox) while Tebow has been advised that he needs to change his. 

Other reasons why Tebow will struggle is the fact that NFL teams do not want their quarterbacks carrying the ball numerous times because it leaves them more open to taking big hits and risking injury. 

Since, Tebow ran the offense out of the shotgun at Florida, he's going to have to get used to playing underneath center, which means that he will have to make decisions quicker and, with his slow delivery, that could cause major problems. 

So, is success around the corner for Tim Tebow because he shares various similarities with Philip Rivers and Drew Brees?

The answer is no. 


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