Rough first day of Patriots camp for Tebow

Rough first day of Patriots camp for Tebow
July 26, 2013, 1:00 pm
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(CSNNE / Adam Hart)

FOXBORO – Well, at least he kept his shirt on.
 
During a rainy opening practice at Gillette Stadium, Tim Tebow struggled to make decisions quickly and – when the decisions were made – struggled to deliver the ball accurately.
 
Tebow, working as the third quarterback except for a rep or two in a drill designed for linebacker pursuit, was picked off twice during the session.
 
The number of interceptions wasn’t as relevant as the nature of the picks. On the first, Tebow threw to the middle of the field during an 11-on-11 drill and was intercepted by safety Nate Ebner. There was a receiver far to Ebner’s left, but Tebow missed by so much, Ebner glided to his left to make the interception. On the other pick, Tebow was intercepted by defensive end Chandler Jones on a checkdown throw to the perimeter of the defense. Tebow also bounced a pass to the sideline about 10 yards short of his target.
 
With the Patriots practicing in shorts and shells, the tempo was brisk but not breakneck. Many of the drills during the 135-minute practice were against air or shadow defense. There was no contact.
 
Despite that, Tebow was exceptionally indecisive during a 7-on-7 drill in which he twice held the ball close to five seconds. Once he got rid of the ball on a checkdown, the other time, he tucked the ball and ran as the Patriots defenders hooted at the fact the defense covered well enough to make Tebow run with it.
 
After that rep, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels went over to Tebow and gave him some counsel, concluding with a butt-slap. Tebow wasn’t a complete disaster. There were reps he took that looked the way they are designed to. But he did nothing exceptionally well and the aforementioned plays were remarkably bad.
 
Post-practice, Tebow was inundated by reporters.
 
His impression after his first camp practice?
 
“It was fun,” he offered. “It was a lot of fun to get out here and start practice. I feel like I’ve gotten better.”
 
While there was a ripple of conversation in the media when Tebow caught a pass, the context in which he caught it is important.
 
It was a brief drill that lasted about two minutes. The quarterback would throw to a receiver facing him positioned about 6 yards away. The receiver would then turn and head upfield as a linebacker came on an angle to give pursuit. It was a drill designed almost completely for defenders. Any player could have run the pattern, Tebow – as third quarterback – had time on his hands with Tom Brady throwing to one group and Ryan Mallett to the other.
 
“I’m doing what I’m asked but so far I’ve been strictly in the quarterback room,” Tebow answered when asked if he’d been working at other positions.  
 
As for his feelings on the arrest of former Florida teammate Aaron Hernandez, Tebow replied, “It was heartbreaking and it was sad. We’ve been advised a couple of times not to comment on ongoing legal investigations. I’m not going to comment further but all my thoughts and prayers go out to all the families that were involved.”
 
Pressed further, Tebow answered, “I understand why you have to ask the questions. It’s part of doing your job. And mine is listening to instructions.”