Like it or not, the Tim Tebow era is officially underway for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
As expected, Tebow — a former starting quarterback who is now playing tight end — lasted on the 90-man roster throughout the summer and is participating in training camp with the Jaguars. Although he’ll still need to prove himself during camp and the preseason, the former Heisman Trophy winner has an excellent chance of making the 53-man roster, according to a new report.
Tim Tebow reportedly has the three attributes that Urban Meyer desires
Say what you want about Tebow’s arm strength and accuracy, but few ever doubted his physicality. He excelled as a dual-threat quarterback at the University of Florida and gave defenses fits when he ran the ball with the Denver Broncos a decade ago.
Those physical traits will serve Tebow well as he continues his NFL comeback. At 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds, he has the size needed to play tight end, even if most of his action is as a blocker.
Sources told Walterfootball.com‘s Charlie Campbell that Tebow has a “legit shot” to make the team’s 53-man roster. According to Campbell, Tebow has three attributes — speed, toughness, and instinct — that teams look for when finding reliable special teams players.
Football Outsiders uses a metric called STR, or special teams ratings, which combines kickoff return, kickoff, punt return, punt, field goal, and opponent field goal efficiency. Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, who coached Tebow at the University of Florida, regularly fielded some of the nation’s top-ranked special teams units in college. Ohio State ranked fourth in 2018, which was Meyer’s last season before he retired and joined Fox Sports as a television analyst.
Tebow could see most of his actions as a core special teams player
On the one hand, Jaguars fans might like the idea of Trevor Lawrence throwing a game-winning touchdown to Tebow in Week 1. Twitter might finally break if that happens, so we’re all for the chaos.
However, there’s nothing wrong with Tebow making the roster and primarily contributing on special teams. NFL teams regularly carry extra receivers and tight ends who see the vast majority of their snaps on kickoff coverage or blocking to set up a field goal.
It is worth noting that Tebow already has special teams experience in the NFL. He saw 59 special teams snaps for the New York Jets in 2012, so it won’t be a totally new feeling running down the field on kickoff coverage or protecting the punter.
We already know Tebow likely isn’t going to play quarterback outside of a trick play or two. How much he factors into the offense as a tight end is still to be determined both on his progress and how rookie Luke Farrell, who played for Meyer at Ohio State, develops as a rookie. If he can contribute on special teams, then it makes sense to keep him around.
We’ll let you decide which sounds more appealing: Tebow catching a game-winning touchdown in Week 1 or Tebow recovering a fumble on a kick return and bringing that back for a score.
Tebow is already giving Jaguars fans something to remember
There still exists a very real possibility the Jaguars choose not to carry Tebow. If he looks completely overmatched in preseason matchups and other tight ends on the roster outplay him, it will be difficult to justify keeping him.
With that said, this entire experiment still stands to be memorable. Jaguars fans cheered for Tebow during a recent open practice. It helps that he grew up in the area and starred at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, a town 22 miles east of Jacksonville.
At least for a few weeks, a hometown favorite and local legend is back playing for the area’s NFL teams. For some Jaguars fans, that may be enough, especially with Lawrence starting at quarterback.
If Tebow fails to make the Jaguars’ 53-man roster, we can at least say he made it this far after six years removed from playing any type of professional football. But if the football gods are feeling merciful, they’ll at least let us see Lawrence and Tebow connect on a touchdown. Please?