Lamar Miller was among the players who stood out at OTAs. Evan Silva provides spring news and notes on all 16 AFC teams.
Left tackle Ryan Clady’s absence from Broncos workouts this spring has drawn a lot of attention, but he’s not the only starting offensive lineman who has been missing from the field. Center J.D. Walton and guard Chris Kuper have been recovering from surgery and also missed the offseason workouts, leaving the Broncos with several questions…
Bigger, stronger and faster football players are going to kill the sport.
June, 12, 2013
By Field Yates | ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — On Tuesday, quarterback Tim Tebow agreed to a two-year contract with the Patriots, which ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported included no guaranteed money. Adding on to that report, the full details are below, provided by a league source.
Base salary: 0,000 with a full injury split if placed on injured reserve
Base salary: 0,000 with a full injury split if placed on injured reserve
Offseason workout bonus: ,000
2014 playing time incentives
60 percent: 0,000
70 percent: ,000,000
80 percent: ,500,000
80 percent and reaching the playoffs (or winning 10 games): ,000,000
Note: Tebow would not earn the sum of each playing time benchmark reached. For example, if he plays 70 percent of the offensive snaps in 2014, he would earn ,000,000, not ,500,000 (the sum of both the 60 and 70 percent benchmark incentives).
Maximum value: Two-years, .385 million.
QUICK-HITS: If Tebow stays on the roster as a backup, this deal is straightforward. The base salaries for 2013 and 2014 are the minimum value for a player of his tenure and would qualify as fair value for a backup quarterback. In the event that Tebow does become a starter in 2014, an unlikely possibility unless Tom Brady is injured and he is able to leapfrog Ryan Mallett on the depth chart, then he’ll have an opportunity to earn more money. The take-home point on this deal was made clear with Schefter’s initial report: There’s no guaranteed money involved, making it a low-risk investment for the Patriots. If they don’t feel Tebow has a spot on their roster, they can cut ties without penalty. If he performs well enough to remain on the roster, it won’t come at a steep price.
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — One day of practice wasn’t enough for Patriots coach Bill Belichick to share his thoughts on new backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jun 11, 2013
By Kerry J. Byrne
Cold, Hard Football Facts vestal virgin (@footballfacts)
The Cold, Hard Football Facts love Tim Tebow not because we suffer the weakness of human emotion. We don’t.
A pile of used Buffalo wing bones feels more emotion than we do.
Instead, we love Tebow because he’s a fascinating statistical storyline, a cultural lightning rod and a seemingly too-good-to-be-true off-field persona.
But mostly we love the fact that he so clearly challenges tired old conventional NFL wisdom and so routinely embarrasses the so-called pigskin “pundits” who openly mock him and refuse to give him a legit shot.
The reality is that Tebow deserves a shot to play quarterback in the NFL. He does not deserve that shot in New England. He’ll never be good enough to replace Tom Brady. But few quarterbacks in history would be.
But he does deserve a shot to play the position even if we have little confidence that shot will ever come.
Tebow is certainly a better more productive QB than half the schmucks allowed to lead NFL teams today.
He should get that shot … somewhere. Here’s the case for Tim Tebow, NFL quarterback:
ONE – Tebow has started just 16 NFL games
People mock Tebow’s passing capabilities. He’s never going to throw with the pinpoint accuracy of Drew Brees or Peyton Manning.
But Tebow’s critics seem to forget that he is still a very inexperienced quarterback. Yes, he’s entering his fourth NFL season – assuming he makes the New England roster or any other roster for that matter.
But he’s started just 16 games in those previous three seasons. Essentially, he has just one year of experience under his belt. Few quarterbacks look like big-time players after just 16 NFL games.
Hello, Mark Sanchez is a laughingstock who clearly can’t play in the NFL. He posted a dismal 55.3 Real QB Rating in 2012. Yet he’s been given 68 starts to prove he can’t play. And Sanchez’s production is still light years behind what Tebow has shown in his limited time on the field.
Hell, Peyton Manning didn’t look like a big-time player after just 16 NFL games, either. Manning, in his first 16 starts, threw 28 INT, completed just 56.7 percent of his passes and posted a fairly dismal 71.2 passer rating for the 3-13 Colts.
Not saying that Tebow is Peyton Manning. He’s not. He never will be. But Peyton Manning wasn’t Peyton Manning after 16 NFL games, either.
Tebow has something in common with Indy’s newest QB phenom, by the way: Tebow led the most inaccurate passing team in the NFL in 2011, the Denver Broncos. Andrew Luck led the most inaccurate passing team in the NFL in 2012.
TWO – Tebow wins games
Despite that inexperience, Tebow’s teams have gone 8-6 in the regular season and 1-1 in the postseason. That’s 9-7, for those of you keeping score at home.
The history of the NFL is littered with great quarterbacks who failed to win nine of their first 16 starts.
The reality is that, in the short time we’ve seen him play, Tebow has proven that he makes his team better and the players around him better. That ability is the single most important factor in sports, and especially in a team game like football, and most especially for the QB position, which is judged by wins and losses.
To discount that ability is to discount the sole purpose for playing sports, period.
THREE – Tebow won games with a bad team and very bad defense
Tebow not only won in 2011 with the Denver Broncos, he won with a very bad Broncos team. Denver went 4-12 in 2010 and kicked off the 2011 season with a 1-4 record.
That’s a 5-16 team, for those of you keeping score at home.
Enter Tim Tebow.
That awful 5-16 team suddenly went 7-1 in its first eight games with Tebow at starter, reached the playoffs and knocked off the NFL’s best defense from Pittsburgh in the wildcard round before finally falling apart in the divisional round at New England.
The anti-Tebow crowd tells us that the Denver defense carried the Broncos to the playoffs in 2011.
The anti-Tebow crowd is filled with idiots, hucksters, transients and railroad bums.
The 2011 Broncos finished the year No. 24 in scoring defense and surrendered 40 or more points in four of Tebow’s 13 starts that season, including three of his last five. Tom Brady, Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana don’t win games when their defense surrenders 40+ points. It’s unreasonable to expect Tebow to win those games, either.
The 2011 Broncos also finished the year No. 28 in Defensive Passer Rating (93.12), a number which usually precludes teams from reaching the playoffs, and intercepted just nine passes all season. In fact, only two teams in the history of the NFL reached the playoffs with a Defensive Passer Rating worse than the one Tebow was paired with in 2011.
It was quite literally something close to a statistical miracle that the 2011 Broncos reached the playoffs with that defense.
By the way, it’s worth noting that Tebow carried the Broncos as far into the playoffs in 2011 as Peyton Manning did in 2012.
FOUR – Tebow has a cannon
It may not be an accurate cannon, at least we haven’t seen accuracy yet in the NFL. But Tebow’s arm is a cannon just the same.
The world saw that cannon in Denver’s win over Pittsburgh in the 2011 wildcard playoffs.
Tebow set not one but two postseason NFL records that day (min. 20 attempts): his average of 15.05 yards per pass attempts was the best in NFL history; so, too, was his 31.6 yards per completion.
You don’t produce the most explosive passing day in NFL postseason history, against the NFL’s No. 1 defense that season, without a cannon for an arm.
The raw talent is certainly there to make big plays.
FIVE – Tebow is far more statistically proficient than he’s given credit for.
The average NFL fan or analyst judges a quarterback merely by his passing abilities. And we understand why: NFL games are won and lost almost exclusively by a QB’s ability to pass the football efficiently.
In fact, we’ve written about this phenomenon incessantly for years.
But Tebow clearly plays a different game: padding often inefficient days passing the football with highly efficient performances running the ball, while generally keeping turnovers at a very low rate.
His 2.7 percent turnover rate (15 in 559 touches) is not only good, it’s one of the best in the history of football. CHFF’s Captain Comeback looked at the career turnover rate of every QB in NFL history back in November.
Tebow doesn’t yet qualify for the list (min. 1,500 attempts). But among qualifiers, only Aaron Rodgers was better at protecting the football.
Tebow also rates much higher than just his passing numbers would indicate if you look at him through the prism of CHFF Real QB Rating, which measures all aspects of QB play, not just passing.
Tebow’s career Real QB Rating of 81.2 would have been good enough for 12th in the NFL last year – better than the Real QB Rating of every single team that fired a coach or GM.
Keep in mind that Real QB Rating may be the most important stat in football: Teams that won the Real QB Rating battle went 218-37 (.855) in 2012, consistent with year-after-year results. No stat in football has a higher “Correlation to Victory.”
Put another way: Tebow is better than anyone realizes in the single most important stat in football, other than final score.
SIX – Tebow is the greatest QB in SEC history; and maybe the greatest player in college football history.
We all know that great college success does not always translate to pro success. But we do know that the SEC is the best, most competitive conference in all of college football.
Year after year, the SEC wins the national championship and sends more players to the NFL than any conference in football. Hell, 1 of 4 picks in the 2013 NFL draft came straight from the 14 teams of the SEC alone.
And among all that talent, Tebow is the greatest QB in the history of the SEC. And not because he was a great runner. Tebow was, at the time he left the SEC, the highest rated passer in the history of the conference.
Here’s how Tebow’s college production, playing in the same tough SEC, stacked up against that of Peyton Manning
* Using the NFL formula for passer rating, not the college formula
Tebow was more accurate, got the ball downfield better, was more likely to throw touchdowns and less likely to throw INTs than Peyton Manning himself.
Tebow was, in other words, a much better college passer than Peyton Manning.
And it’s not like Manning was surrounded by chump talent at Tennessee. Three of his wide receivers went in the first round of the NFL draft and the Volunteers fielded enough talent around him on both sides of the ball to win the national title the year after Manning left.
Tebow, meanwhile, was a key player on two national title teams, the undisputed leader of one of them, won one Heisman trophy and nearly won a second. Hell, some say he’s the greatest college football player of all time.
The fact that so few are willing to give arguably the greatest player in college history a legit shot to play QB in the NFL says more about the close mindedness and tired old orthodoxy of the NFL than it does about Tebow or his talent.
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Leave it to the arbiter of conventional wisdom to punch conventional wisdom squarely in the jaw.
Every so-called expert in the NFL said Tim Tebow couldn’t make it in the NFL. He can’t throw. He can’t learn an offense. He can’t fall in line.
And of course, there was the circus! Think of the circus!
That was the conventional wisdom, until just after 5 p.m. ET Monday afternoon, when reports surfaced that Tebow was going to the New England Patriots to play for the originator of so much of the wisdom in the NFL: Bill Belichick.
It’s a copycat league, and the league has been trying to copy Belichick for years. Ask the franchises who have hired former Patriots assistant coaches Josh McDaniel, Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Scott Pioli, and Charlie Weis. Everyone wants to be just like Belichick, and nobody has been able to do it.
That’s because Belichick has always gone directly opposite of where all the so-called experts stand. He gave Corey Dillon a shot. He gave Randy Moss a shot. He gave a former rugby player, Nate Ebner, a shot. And now he’s giving Tebow a shot when every other team had weeks to bring him in.
Now watch: Everyone who yesterday said Tebow was a football dead-end is going to miraculously see the light. This really could work!
Of course it could work! Tebow’s got that rugby player’s toughness – his willingness to tuck the ball away and seek contact as if he has a million-dollar insurance policy on the cartilage in his nose.
Of course Belichick could make it work! He’s the former lacrosse player who played the attack position and used his toughness and preparation to overcome other limitations.
Bill Belichick speaks to the media during rookie minicamp at Gillette Stadium. (USAT …”Bill wasn’t the best athlete on the team,” former teammate Dana Seero told the Eagle Tribune two years ago, “but nobody worked harder in practice and nobody was in better shape. I was a tackle. And I always remembered Bill knew where everybody was supposed to be. He was solid all the time.”
New York Jets fans who were delighted to be rid of Tebow will now start to fear that Tebow will be reborn in New England. The pundits who were sure the circus would keep Tebow out of the NFL forever now realize that, hey, Tom Brady is married to the greatest supermodel in the world and there’s no circus.
There will be no circus in New England.
Media coverage? Absolutely. But the Patriots are used to that. They’ve been to how many Super Bowls in the Belichick-Brady era?
Watch how the conventional wisdom about Tebow’s game will change. Maybe he’ll be a backup who sees an occasional running play. Maybe he’ll do his old jump pass from his Florida Gators days. Maybe he’ll spell Brady at quarterback every now and then. Watch it work. Admit it: you can see it working now in a way nobody saw it working days ago.
It will work because Belichick has order. He has complete control in a way other franchises (especially the Jets) don’t. He’ll scoff at the constant media questions. What will he do with Tim Tebow?
Whatever he damn well pleases.
Tebow won’t grumble. First of all, that’s not his style. He wants to play quarterback, but he hardly complained last season in New York even though he went from a playoff hero to the punt team. Tebow is not going to gripe about Bill Belichick or to Bill Belichick. He’ll do whatever he’s asked – quarterback or wildcard or fullback or all of the above.
And slowly but surely, the story of Tebow’s demise will reverse course.
If it doesn’t? If Tebow holds a clipboard and then vanishes into retirement? Belichick will not get any blame. All the so-called experts will blame Tebow, insisting he never had the goods and even the great Bill Belichick couldn’t save him.
If it does work? It’s a victory that will go down in New England lore. It’ll cement the Jets’ inferiority complex for years to come, and prove yet again that Belichick can fit any round peg into a square hole.
Remember: Tebow has never failed at any level of football. He was one of the greatest college football players of all time after being a high school legend. He then was a first-round draft pick and helped turn the Denver Broncos around. He led them to a stirring playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers with an overtime pass.
We all know the reasons why Tebow’s history counted for nothing up until a few hours ago: He can’t play the quarterback position. Put simply, he can’t throw.
Never mind that nobody could throw or run or do anything productive in New York, where the Jets had a weak offensive line, no real running threat and no solid targets at wide receiver.
Well, the Patriots don’t have those problems. The Patriots don’t have a coach, general manager and owner pulling in all different directions. The Patriots don’t have an avalanche of anonymous quotes coming out of the locker room following every availability with the media.
The Patriots have an unquestioned coach, and unquestioned leader at quarterback (who can throw), and an unquestioned chain of command.
Tebow will fit right in or he’ll be out.
Here’s betting it’s the former. And here’s betting the same people who were so sure Tebow was done will quietly come around to seeing how Tebow makes perfect sense in the Patriots’ offense.
Then conventional wisdom will change again. Because Bill Belichick made it so.
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