Tebow eager to work with, repay McDaniels
AP Sports Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Tim Tebow looked out the foggy window as his weather-delayed flight dropped through the dark clouds and descended into Centennial Airport on Friday afternoon.
He saw the snow-covered city, the wind-whipped pines and the snarled traffic and thought, there’s just no better place he could have landed to begin his NFL career.
The southpaw shotgun quarterback who helped Florida win two national titles said he’s determined to repay coach Josh McDaniels for making him the surprise No. 25 pick of the Denver Broncos.
“I can’t be more thankful for him deciding to take me,” Tebow said at his introductory news conference Friday. “That will be one of my biggest goals is proving him right and making him proud.”
McDaniels tutored three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady in New England, helped Matt Cassel become an NFL starter and guided Kyle Orton to his best statistical season of his career in Denver last year.
“The work that he’s done with the quarterbacks that he’s been around, the influence that he’s made on them in their careers has been amazing,” Tebow said. “I’m just blessed to play for him. I think he’s one of the best coaches in the NFL. I firmly believe that.
“I’m drawn to him, too, because he’s so passionate. I think that’s going to bring out a lot of things about me and my character and my excitement for football and excitement for life,” Tebow added. “We were both talking about how we can’t sleep we’re so excited.”
In Tebow, McDaniels has a big project on his hands in maybe the most intriguing pro prospect since Michael Vick.
This is the Heisman Trophy winner who some called the greatest college player ever. Now he is an NFL enigma, a big question mark because of his throwing motion and the offense he ran at Florida.
Last week, McDaniels raved about the left-handed Tebow, who has developed a new passing motion that allows him to drop back with the ball at his shoulder instead of near his hip and release it quicker.
Tebow said eliminating the loop or “backswing” in his motion only took a matter of weeks and now he’s adjusting his footwork for the three-, five- and seven-stop drops he’ll be making in the NFL.
Some scouts think it could take two years for Tebow to make the transition from combination college quarterback to prototypical pocket passer. Others argue his success in college, his passion for football and his work ethic will make the transition smoother and shorter.
A work in progress either way, Tebow is looking up at Orton and Brady Quinn on the quarterback depth chart while the smart money has him spending his rookie season running some wildcat plays while honing his game to play more in 2011.
“Well, I look at it as I am a prototypical quarterback,” Tebow insisted. “I like to do the things that a regular quarterback does, and then I’m blessed with athletic ability to do extra things. That’s how I look at it. … I’m going to be a regular quarterback, a pocket quarterback and I’m going to work and try to be great at that. That is my goal, I want to be a great pocket passer, and that’s something I’m working on.”
Tebow said he’s been proving critics wrong his whole athletic life, so he’s not bothered by all the critics who questioned Denver taking him in the first round while more polished passers Colt McCoy and Jimmy Clausen were available.
“I love a challenge and I love when somebody tells me that I can’t because it just pushes me that much more,” Tebow said.
Tebow said he’s selected jersey No. 15, which became available when the Broncos traded Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall to Miami.
The Broncos replaced Marshall by taking wide receiver Demaryius Thomas of Georgia Tech with the 22nd overall pick Thursday night.
Thomas said he thinks he convinced the Broncos they should select him in part because “I’m a good guy.”
Thomas said living with his uncle, James Brown, a preacher, after his mother and grandmother were incarcerated on drug charges when he was 12, is what set him on the right path.
He said he spoke with his mother, Shirley Brown, on the phone Friday morning.
“They watched last night,” Thomas said. “She just said she was proud of me, just do the right thing, stay with the right crowd, what I’ve been doing the whole time.”
The Broncos made the former Yellow Jackets deep threat the first wide receiver taken in the draft, selecting him over Dez Bryant, who went two spots later to Dallas at No. 24.
Thomas said he was surprised he was drafted ahead of the more polished Bryant. After all, Thomas played in Paul Johnson’s triple-option offense at Georgia Tech, a system that’s ill-suited for the NFL, and then he broke his left foot just before the NFL combine.
But Bryant raised red flags with some teams concerned about his character after his final college season at Oklahoma State was cut short by an NCAA suspension.
“Why am I better than Dez?” Thomas said. “Well, I don’t know, I can’t say. I know I’m a better person than Dez – that’s how I feel. I feel like I’m a better receiver, too. Bigger, faster.”
Thomas said he thinks he’ll be 100 percent in a couple of weeks and will be able to participate in the Broncos’ workouts in mid-May.
The Broncos drafted a versatile offensive lineman Friday by selecting Utah’s Zane Beadles in the second round.