So Michael Silver had an intriguing article go up, with quotes that he sourced on Monday from "one highly knowledgeable member of the organization," as well as "one high-ranking member of the Broncos’ organization," (probably both the same person, and probably John Elway), and he indicates that the Broncos feel Adam Weber is simply "flat out better," as of this moment in time. But there is a caveat:
"If everything was totally equal, and this were a competition based only on performance at this camp, Tebow would probably be the fourth-string guy. Kyle [Orton] is far and away the best, and Tebow’s way behind [Brady] Quinn, too."
The "If everything was totally equal," will need to get clarified at some point, because if it is referring to Tim's status as a first round pick, it means that the dreaded "politics" is entering into the competition, something which we were ostensibly assured wasn't going to happen. Tim's first round status carries with it a high (higher than average, even) investment cost, guaranteed money ($1.6mil in 2011, plus the recent "double down" roster bonus of $6.275mil), and high expectations.
The only thing remotely redeeming about "politics" entering the debate at this stage is that it is for the 3rd string QB spot...hardly a cause for concern, especially since few will go to bat for Weber.
But two things deserve to be highlighted from Silver's report.
The first is that Weber may have been an untalented scrub player brought in to fill the added depth requirements of a 90-man training camp roster, but no one told him that. Lloyd himself noted that Weber had been making impressive plays in camp since being brought in.
"He threw that ball before the receiver made his cut, and it came down in the dude’s hands like, ‘Merry Christmas,’ " Pro Bowl wideout Brandon Lloyd(notes) recalled
Monday. "He’s thrown four or five passes like that in camp where it’s been like … whoa. Weber’s got personality, and he’s got some swag about him, too."
Weber comes in as an underated prospect, with borderline 7th round status but draftable qualities, not the least of which is being smart and playing within his role at Minnesota, and having a decent dropback game.
Which makes the following observation from the "high ranking Broncos' source" all the more interesting.
Sources say the Broncos view Tebow as a major project who was negatively impacted by the lack of an offseason. Having operated almost exclusively out of the shotgun in college, he still lacks smoothness when taking snaps directly from center: Whereas the Broncos’ other three quarterbacks anticipate the snap and are already into their drop upon receiving it, Tebow typically is locked in place, meaning he’s already behind in his timing upon the beginning of a play.
I went back into the Dallas game upon reading this, to review Tim's reps via formation, looking specifically at his passing dropbacks from under center, and wondering why I didn't notice it before, since it is the kind of thing that really stands out.
Tim received 21 reps that I counted in this analysis, with 12 of those being pass plays. On the day he audibled out of one shotgun play into a QB draw, but overall of his 12 passes, 7 came from the shotgun, just like he is used to from college. And the other 5 passes?
The first is a no read screen pass. It looked to me like Tim came out from under center cleanly and decisively.
The second is 212 personnel (2RB 1TE 2WR) with a wingback and a single back. Tim comes out from under center VERY slowly. Play is a sack.
The third is a playaction pass from 122 personnel, and is the long pass to Willis down the middle. No read on the play. Tim comes out from under center quickly and decisively.
The fourth I was unable to watch due to the horrible coverage. It was the only incomplete Tim had on the day I believe.
The fifth was 122 personnel again, with a playaction pass. Again, there is a lengthy delay for Tebow coming out from under center, and he ends up rushing a throw to the second read.
We will need more data to corroborate, but in this case, where there is smoke, I think we can suspect a fire. When Tebow didn't have an automatic read, such as a swing, screen or single route, he did not progress quickly out from under center, checking his defensive read and working through his first progressions on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd step of his dropback. The claim that he is still struggling to progress from a spread offense installation appears to have merit on its face, and as a result, he seems to be losing footing against "under center QBs" with each passing day.
This isn't a fatal flaw, an is actually becoming a very common curve that college QBs need to master. But in an already shortened offseason, Tebow is going to need to figure out how to bring his "gamer" mentality to practice, before he runs out of time.
UPDATE: Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe checked with his Broncos' sources on the subject, though a twitter isn't a lot to go on:
Broncos source is as much at a loss about the Tebow comments as I am. Thinks it's totally unfair for 2yr QB. "Somebody has it out for him."
Sigh. Why can't things ever be easy, Broncos Country?