For all the ink that has been spilled on Tim Tebow’s mechanics (including a whole bunch in today’s Gazette), two men who worked with Tebow this offseason want you to know something:
Mechanics don’t matter all that much for a quarterback.
Former NFL coach Sam Wyche and longtime NFL offensive coordinator and current CFL coach Marc Trestman aren’t saying mechanics are meaningless. Tebow has a better chance for success with the Denver Broncos without his long baseball-type windup. (Although, to repeat something from today’s story, Wyche said he didn’t think Randall Cunningham would make it in the NFL when he saw his long delivery coming out of college. Cunningham didn’t change much, and as Wyche pointed out in a deadpan, “Randall Cunningham did all right.”)
But both coaches started their interviews about quarterback mechanics by sharing the same sentiment.
“At the end of the day, mechanics are probably the last thing on the list or requirements to play quarterback at the highest level,” Trestman said.
“That’s very, very overdone,” Wyche said of attention paid to a quarterback’s mechanics.
Wyche said when he was in the NFL – and he was around many successful quarterback like Joe Montana, Ken Anderson, Drew Bledsoe, Vinny Testaverde and Boomer Esiason – he told scouts to look for intelligence and accuracy.
“The two most important components of a quarterback are those two things,” Wyche said. “You’ll always want to replace these two things if he doesn’t have them.”
For intelligence, a quarterback needs to know not just offensive concepts, but defensive concepts and theories too. Wyche saw that in Tebow when he worked with him this offseason. He said he quizzed Tebow relentlessly and Tebow passed all the tests.
“I tried to trick him at the blackboard every way I could think of,” Wyche said. “I couldn’t catch him.”
Wyche also said Tebow’s accuracy is good, especially on deep passes. So as Wyche was pointing out Tebow had the two things he looks for, he interrupted himself.
“By the way, if you’ve got a winner, that’s like putting a smiley face on his locker,” Wyche said.
Tebow was part of two national championship teams in his four years at Florida.
Although mechanics are not the most important thing Wyche or Trestman look for, that doesn’t mean someone like Tebow can’t be helped with some extra work.
“Mechanics can be overrated, but they can be improved,” Trestman said.
Tebow has put in the time to fix his motion, including slowing down his torso rotation and keeping his right non-throwing arm in tight to his body to make his motion more compact (which was described in a Sports Illustrated story in mid-June) and not dipping the ball before he throws, which was his habit in college.
An improved throwing motion will help, but based on the thoughts of two respected quarterback coaches, one ha to wonder if the teeth-gnashing about Tebow’s mechanics really has much bearing on whether he’ll be a successful NFL quarterback.
“The guy is a winner,” Wyche said. “I’ve been around too many that turned out good.”