Count the Redskins as another team that’s (reportedly) interested in Tim Tebow.
Considering I wrote a post about why a team should draft Tebow, and that I’m a life-long Redskins fan, the following statement may not make a whole lot of sense: One of the worst things that could happen to Tim Tebow is coming to the Redskins with ANY of their draft selections.
After an impressive Pro Day workout (better known as Tebow running around in a t-shirt and shorts, throwing the ball to anyone who will catch it), he’s back in the mix of being a second round pick or third round pick (if not slightly higher). The Redskins are bringing him in for a private workout and interview, and could consider him with their second round pick (#37 overall).
I don’t really have a problem with Tebow being drafted in the 2nd round, nor him being drafted by the Redskins in general. It’s just that I know this team and this fanbase WAY too well, and I don’t know that him coming to Washington would be the best thing for his pro development and career.
As I previously said: Regardless of where he’s drafted and in what round, Tebow needs to hold a clipboard on the sidelines for AT LEAST one full season (if not more), before he’s ready to effectively play QB in the NFL.
It’s going to take him quite a bit of time to fully learn and understand an offense that is very different than anything Urban Meyer ran at Florida. He won’t have the luxury of being surrounded by players who are just flat-out better than those of his opponent, so that he can learn on the fly without any real repercussions. He needs about a few thousand more reps of this new-and-improved throwing motion, so that his arm wont revert to its previous muscle memory when the proverbial bullets are flying.
Todd McShay said it best: if he were any other QB, he’d be a day 2 pick (or day 12 or 13 or whatever it may be with this ridiculous new NFL draft format; I think the 7th round of the draft now occurs on Memorial Day). His collegiate success and off-the-charts intangibles inflate his value by a solid two or three rounds (and rightfully so).
But the problem is that Tebow’s name and his reputation carry more equity than is probably good for him, in that fans, and maybe even the ownership, of whatever team drafts him will want to see him on the field as soon as possible, irrespective of these facts.
I can easily see this being the case in Washington. You’re taking about a city who is hopelessly in love with the young and unproven back-up quarterback whom we know nothing about. When John Friesz was the quarterback, we wanted to see what Heath Shuler could do. When Heath Shuler was the QB, we wanted to see what Gus Frerotte could do. When Shane Matthews and Danny Wuerffel were the QB’s in Spurrier’s “chuck and duck” offense, we wanted to see what Patrick Ramsey could do. When Mark Brunell was the QB, we wanted to see what Ramsey and then Jason Campbell could do. And there’s still the loyal following amongst the Cult of Colt Brennan, who believes he is the savior waiting in the wings.
If the Redskins go are on pace to win anywhere from five to seven games (and lets not kid ourselves: that’s what we’re looking at in Year 1 of the Shanahan era), there’s going to be a ridiculous clamoring for Tebow to see the field, to get some reps and playing time. The armchair QB’s and talking heads will say “What’s there to lose?” and “This team isn’t going anywhere, Tebow is the future, let’s throw him in there and get his feet wet.” In theory, and with any other young QB, they’d be right too.
But Tebow’s situation is unique. Any team that really wants to get a full return on their investment needs to allow him to have, at the bare minimum, one “redshirt” season in the NFL (personally, I think it should be longer, in a situation where the starting QB isn’t going anywhere for the next 2-4 years), and be in a situation where he can learn. In a city whose fans called for letting Colt Brennan, a sixth round draft pick coming from a run and shoot offense, become the starting quarterback as a rookie, you really think they’ll have the patience to let Tebow sit on the bench?
Washington fans can’t shut up about the back-up quarterback. Even after a putrid preseason – against pre-season scabs that are probably currently working for UPS, no less – Colt Brennan probably still has a higher approval rating amongst Redskins fans than Barack Obama.
The last thing this franchise needs is drafting the biggest name back-up-quality quarterback in the past decade. From the minute he’d arrive at training camp, the DC media would follow him around like the pied piper and Redskins fans would start the countdown until he’s starting. Tebow needs to go somewhere where he’s not the biggest star on the team the minute he arrives, where his name won’t constantly be in the articles from the team’s beat writers and the mouths of fans and talk show hosts. As a rookie, his name shouldn’t even be in the same sentence as “quarterback controversy.” But if the Redskins draft him, the exact opposite of this will occur. The vast majority of fans already want to ship out Jason Campbell on the first thing steaming, and once Rex Grossman throws one of his patented long-balls right into the other teams hands, the uproar for Tebow to start will become deafening.
In the end, Tebow needs a long-term apprenticeship under a quarterback that garners just as much of a spotlight that he does, similar to Aaron Rodgers when he was drafted. The perfect situation would be somewhere like New England, where he’s backing up Tom Brady will be enveloped and protected in the bunker mentality of the Patriots created by Bill Belichick.
But by my count, more than half the teams in the league are shaky enough that their fan bases would immediately make the argument that Tebow should contend for the starting quarterback position from the minute he’s drafted, with Washington being one of the teams at the very top of that list.
Look, I’ll be happy as heck if we draft Tebow, because heaven knows this city finally needs a Redskins quarterback that it can be excited about. Yet ironically, that’s the very problem I have with them drafting Tebow: will the fans excitement and weariness from six win seasons overcome the obvious fact that Tebow shouldn’t go anywhere near the field in 2010?
I doubt it.