DENVER – Tim Tebow’s first full offseason in the NFL has hardly gone as planned, thanks to the labor impasse between the league and its players association.
But even though he can’t get coaching from offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and quarterbacks coach Adam Gase, he’s been working on one of the most crucial aspects of the pro game: taking snaps from under center.
This would have been important if Josh McDaniels was still the Broncos’ head coach, but under John Fox, it will likely be essential. Fox’s meat-and-potatoes offensive philosophy will likely see the Broncos run fewer plays from the shotgun, if his years with the Carolina Panthers are any indication.
“The biggest thing for me is that I’ve been working on play-action passes (and) play-action drop-backs — all under center,” Tebow said. “I haven’t had one rep in the shotgun, just to make being under center the most comfortable for me — and to even be more comfortable than the shotgun. So I’ve worked 100 percent on that.”
“Then there’s just timing and going and checking off from one receiver to another. Whether that’s throwing to a receiver who’s really running or throwing to my brother standing there — whoever it is, we’ve been putting in the work.”
It’s often come with Broncos teammates.
“We have, and we’ve been able to throw some,” Tebow said. “It’s somewhat difficult, because everybody’s spread out, but we have been able to get together and throw and lift and do this and that.”
The players with whom Tebow has worked out have changed depending on who is in Denver at the time, the quarterback said.
“I’ve gotten to work with most of the guys,” Tebow said.
Tuesday, Tebow took a break from the workouts to join John Lynch at the ex-Broncos safety’s Salute the Stars luncheon, which provided scholarship money and awards to a group of middle- and high-school students who excelled in academics and athletics this past year.
Tebow, the keynote speaker of the event, has already earned Lynch’s respect.
“There’s a lot of things he’s got to prove: serious, legitimate questions about his release,” said Lynch, who now works as a game analyst for Fox Sports and broadcast the Broncos-St. Louis Rams game last November. “But I know this from playing with the great players: when John Elway walks in a room, there’s something different. When Champ Bailey walks into a room — and Champ does it in a much quieter way — there’s an aura. And (Tebow) has an aura, whatever that’s worth. That means something to me.”
Lynch doesn’t see it in the locker room first-hand now, but he hears it from players who are. He also gets a glimpse into Tebow’s diligence by walking out the front door of his home.
“He’s my neighbor, and I see him out on a mountain bike going by. It looks like he never has a down moment,” Lynch said.
“He’s so focused, he doesn’t even see me half the time. I go, ‘Hey, Tim!’ and it’s just, ‘Woosh,’” Lynch said.
But now Tebow has to make time for playbook study, since he and his teammates have their books after last week’s one-day opening of team facilities to their players.
“Having that, you’re constantly able to refresh on your responsibilities and be ready when it’s time to go out there and play,” Tebow said.
TEBOW WAS HONORED by being presented a Leadership Legend award by Lynch.
“Some were concerned about giving an award for leadership to a guy that hasn’t done a whole lot, but I said, ‘Yes, he has,’” Lynch said. “When you read what he represents and what he’s all about — he’s done a lot.”
Lynch said he hadn’t given the award since the years when the luncheon was held in Tampa, when he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The last winners of the award was U.S. Army Gen. Tommy Franks, who was stationed out of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, and former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Tebow said.