Everyone who cares about the NFL seems to have an opinion about whether Tim Tebow deserves a spot as a tight end with the Jacksonville Jaguars. But it appears a spot for Tebow is on the way, regardless of what the pundits think.
Tebow, 33, will be playing pro football for the first time in nine seasons. And rather than offering an opinion on whether he belongs, some Hall of Fame tight ends weighed in on what he could be facing.
“Everything will be happening a lot quicker,” former Broncos star Shannon Sharpe told USA Today. “More times than not, you’re not down the field catching 40-yard balls. You’re running shallow crosses or 10-yard in-routes or out-routes. You’re catching it, and guys are right on top of you. So you need to understand: ‘Where am I exposed?’
“Say I’m running a seam. Did I bend it too quick? Now the front-side safety will send me to the hospital. There are so many things I don’t think he understands because he’s never been exposed to that.”
Sharpe speaks the truth. Tebow was always a quarterback in the NFL. This would be his first stint as a tight end.
“The route-running, I think he’ll pick up rather quickly,” Kellen Winslow told USA Today. “The catching will be second-nature. It’s going to be the physical play of blocking … and getting hit.”
Another tight end legend, Mike Ditka, also cited the “physicality” of the position that will take some adjusting.
“If you’re a tight end and I don’t think you’re physical, I’m going to try to beat the heck out of you,” Ditka told USA Today. “That’s just what the linebackers will try to do. If they don’t think he’s physical enough, they’ll try to beat him up.”
There’s also the issue of trying to run a route in a congested area, Sharpe added.
“You’ve got people banging on you,” he said. “The defensive ends you’ve got to block are bigger than you. And you’ve never blocked anybody. And he’s never caught a pass. You’re asking him to do something he’s never done in his entire life, and you’re asking him to do it at the highest level. You’re asking an awful lot.”
Tebow has a strong relationship with new Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, dating back to their days together at the University of Florida. Meyer has made it clear the Jaguars were blown away by Tebow’s workout for the team.
Of course, workouts are different than games. But Ditka said Tebow as a tight end is undoubtedly worth a shot.
“Absolutely,” Ditka said. “Listen, I think he’s a good enough athlete. I think he deserves a shot. I’d give him a shot. No problem.”