Last week, Tim Tebow gave us the Miracle on the 34th Yard Line, where Santa Claus himself basically came down and gave Tim Tebow magical abilities for 5 minutes of football. For some people, this covered up 55 minutes of pretty much rotten play.
For some people, this 55 minutes was explained away by bad play calling or any number of other excuses.
Here’s the thing: Even bad NFL quarterbacks can hit open receivers regularly.
For example, let’s take Chris Simms. You remember him, right? He could put the ball in a trash can 60 yards away. We remember what he was like as a quarterback. Tim Tebow, though? He misses open receivers. They sacrifice their minds, bodies and souls trying to get to the ball, and they might get their fingertips on it. But since it’s behind them, they drop it. Over. And. Over. Again.
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Of course, this the receiver’s fault. Even I started falling for it, but luckily slow-mo let me see Eddie Royal trying desperately to catch a ball behind him.
For one brief drive at the beginning of the game, I began to think maybe there was something to Tebow magic. But apparently two hands on the ball isn’t control and that touchdown was called back, and that pretty much was the best play from Tebow until late enough in the game that it didn’t matter anymore.
Seven sacks. Two turnovers that provided points. No ability to sustain a drive, control the ball. Short, easy passes, the announcers said, to get him into rhythm. But Tebow isn’t a rhythm passer. He’s a “spread offense-make something happen with his sheer natural talent” kind of passer. He is Reggie Bush as a quarterback. Maybe slightly better — he beat Reggie Bush last week.
In the NFL, natural talent isn’t enough. Pure dedication isn’t enough. You have to combine talent with dedication and skill.
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Maybe Tebow can learn that skill, but in two games, he hasn’t yet. Maybe by the end of the season he might be able to. I was pretty confident coming into the season that the earliest Tim Tebow would be ready to be a quarterback would be 2013, but the way he played out there Sunday makes that estimate feel conservative.