By Steve Silverman
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Boomer Esiason did not tell any out-of-school secrets when he told listeners on WFAN that Tim Tebow played “some of the worst football” that any quarterback has ever played in the NFL last year for the Denver Broncos.
He has not been ripping it up in training camp, either. The Jets are getting exactly the same kind of quarterbacking from Tebow that the Broncos got last year. And it’s not going to get much better.
Tebow’s biggest problem on the field is a lack of accuracy. Forget the deep ball. It’s the short- and medium-range passes that legitimate NFL quarterbacks can complete in their sleep that eludes him. There is no way that head coach Rex Ryan can put him on the field and ask him to lead a drive downfield and have any hope that he will throw six straight accurate passes.
All NFL quarterbacks are supposed to have mastered the basics and have the ability to execute on the field. Tebow is not in that group and it’s simply not going to change. Quarterback prospects improve significantly in youth leagues, high school and the early parts of their college career. By the time they get to the NFL, they are expected to be mechanically sound.
That’s what the Indianapolis Colts are seeing from prized rookie Andrew Luck, and the Redskins are getting the same from Robert Griffin III. A few years ago, the Raiders made the mistake of thinking that huge JaMarcus Russell was ready to step in and throw downfield accurately.
All Russell was interested in doing was cashing a paycheck and filling his ample belly. Accuracy was not one of his prerequisites. His three-year career ended in 2009 after completing just 52.1 percent of his passes.
Tebow is the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to a lack of passing accuracy. When a quarterback completes 46.5 percent of his passes –- as Tebow did last year -– there’s no real comparison.
There are other quarterbacks who struggle with accuracy, but not to Tebow’s level. There were no other quarterbacks in the league who threw 200 or more passes and finished with less than 50 percent accuracy.
Last year, 33 quarterbacks threw 200 or more passes. Blaine Gabbert of the Jacksonville Jaguars completed 210 of 413 passes last year, meaning that he completed 50.8 percent of his passes. He was the least accurate passer besides Tebow, who completed 126 of 271 passes last year.
Accuracy is the watchword in the NFL, as 18 of the 33 quarterbacks who threw 200 or more passes exceeded the 60-percent accuracy mark. Nobody was more accurate than Drew Brees of the Saints, who completed 468 of 567 passes for a mark of 71.2 percent. Brees broke his own NFL record for accuracy with that performance.
Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams, Christian Ponder of the Vikings and John Skelton of the Cardinals all completed less than 55 percent of their passes in the NFC. Curtis Painter of the Colts completed 54.3 percent of his passes, and was the only other AFC quarterback besides Tebow and Gabbert who threw 200 or more passes at a mark of under 55 percent.
Tebow had his supporters in the Rocky Mountains and will have some while he wears a Jets uniform. Those who like him point to his 7-4 won-loss record during the regular season and a group of characteristics that are often referred to as intangibles.
However, he can’t throw the ball accurately. That’s a requirement of the job.
If the Jets are counting on him for anything but bringing negative attention to the team, they are going to be in for a long season.
It seems like Tebow supporters are rapidly dwindling even before preseason begins. Are any of you still out there? Let us know in the comments section below…