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July 31, 2012

 

Tebow sees progress

TebowBob Ellis/staff photographer
New York Jets quaterbacks Tim Tebow (left) and Mark Sanchez run through passing drills Monday morning at SUNY Cortland.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

All weekend quarterback Tim Tebow was the target of the out-of-town hecklers, but Monday the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner had a better day under sunny skies and hotter, humid temperatures that may have made the quarterback feel like he was at his home in Jacksonville, Fla.
“I think you’d have to go and look back at the film, but from feeling it I didn’t have a super lot of passes,” Tebow said after the New York Jets completed their morning workout at SUNY Cortland.
“I am getting more comfortable by the day,” he added. “I think just the plays and everything, that’s the easy part. I think it’s the adjustments versus our defense, the checks, the audibles, and different things like that, especially when you’re going with some of the younger guys.”
Tebow said the defense was challenging him even on the camp’s fourth day, more than a defense might during a game.
Tebow’s numbers showed a 4-for-6 passing day with one sack and a nice 20-plus yard run. There were certainly some of his best numbers to date.
“I’ve seen improvement in everybody,” quarterback Mark Sanchez said. “That’s the most important thing. All of us are getting better.
“Tim specifically, he does a great job, especially when he pulls it down to run,” he continued. “This guy can move. It’s not easy to track him. He’s elusive in the pocket and he’s made some really good throws, so it’s been a great improvement for all of us.”
One thing head coach Rex Ryan would like from Tebow and starting quarterback Sanchez is to get rid of the ball quicker on their passing plays. He believes the answer is going to be in a tool that can be annoying: a clock to push the QBs into a quicker release. A horn would sound if they hold the ball too long.
“I read something that Green Bay did, where they’re putting that little clock on the quarterbacks,” Ryan said. “We’ve got to get that ball out. I’ve talked to Tony (Sparano, offensive coordinator) about doing that again. We did that last year a little and it drove everybody crazy. We’re going to go back to that. I just think we need to get the ball out of our hands a little quicker.”
Ryan said Tebow often is looking to make that big throw down the field.
“The thing with him, especially if he’s going to be super dangerous, is if he can get the ball out of his hands quicker, I think that’s going to help him,” he said. “The other thing is his ability to run is a huge challenge for a defense. Right now, he has seen a lot of coverages, but quite honestly, I don’t know how many people are going to play two-man against him.”
Ryan thinks a two-man is difficult to read and causes players to take longer to get open.
“He (Tebow) is going to take off and run with it. He’s trying to get the progression and throw the ball down the field, but I think when you snap it for real, you start seeing this guy run in those situations as well. I think that will help us, but I think that’s why we’re going to challenge Tim to really even get the ball out quicker. I think that will help him.”
Like Tebow, Jets third-year running back Joe McKnight is still waiting to hear what his role will be. Carrying the ball, special teams, whatever is needed, McKnight wants to be ready.
“It’s great to hear that Coach Sparano wants to go with a run-first team,” McKnight said. “All the runners in the running back room are excited to get the season going. We want to get out to practice each day and do it.
“I am excited about the season, but we are still in camp,” he continued. “It’s just day four and I still have some things I need to work on to improve my role on the team. Right now I am just out here practicing hard each day. I just need to make plays so Coach Sparano can find a role for me on the team. We don’t know my role right now so I just need to make plays.”
While Tebow had a better day, Sanchez was also solid with a 6-for-10 showing. He was also sacked once and had a couple receivers drop passes. He is making an adjustment to Sparano’s new up-tempo offensive style, with the help of quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh.
“It’s awesome,” Sanchez said. “We’re moving fast. I think it just keeps things more game-like because after a play during a game, you don’t get the chance to walk over, talk to Coach Cavanaugh and say, ‘Hey, what’d you see. Oh well, I thought this and that’s why I threw it here.’ You don’t have time. You move on to the next play or you’re going to get a delay of game (penalty).”
Sanchez said he has to erase that play from his mind, no matter how it went.
“Then, when you come back during the break when Greg (McElroy) or Tim (Tebow) is getting reps, then I can talk to coach Cav (Cavanaugh),” he said. “It makes it more like a series in a game and I think it’s great preparation for the season.”
One thing is certain, practices are shorter than the posted three-hour sessions. Most days the practices are wrapping up in about two and one-half hours. The guys are working hard, but they also enjoy the up-tempo pace, especially the offensive linemen.
Because of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams have cut back to one practice and, like today, require days off. It is something different, but some players see nothing but good from it.
“There are some positives,” veteran guard Brandon Moore said. “Guys are rested, they can come into practice fresher. It’s a chance to stay away from injuries because of fatigue. You have some time to recover from time to time.
“The young guys do miss out of some of the reps they might get, but the coaches are mixing it up a little more to get them some time,” he added. “In the padded practices, those guys are getting some more reps at the end of the day. This way you get the mental part in the evening and you get the physical part in the morning.”

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