Doug Robinson: The curious case of Tim Tebow

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 30 2011 7:00 p.m. MST

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow warming up prior to the Broncos NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011, in San Diego.

Associated Press

Just look at Tim Tebow. He's all wrong for an NFL quarterback. His throwing mechanics are little league. His passes are wild and inaccurate. His release is pedestrian, more suited to pitching than passing.

He's a technical disaster area. Purists avert their eyes when he's throwing a football. It's like watching Chuck Norris with a script. High school quarterbacks should not be allowed to watch this man play football. He's a clinic on what not to do as a passer. He is to passing what Roseanne and Paris Hilton are to singing.

And yet somehow he wins.

Tebow has won five of six games, including the last four. But it's the defense and running game that are winning games, you say? The Broncos had the same defense and running game while they were losing four of the first five games before Tebow took charge.

How does Tebow do this? No one knows. It's a complete mystery.

The modern NFL is nothing if not a passing league. The winning formula requires golden-armed, drop-back quarterbacks able to throw 30 to 40 times a game (please see Brady, Brees, Rodgers, and Manning).

Then there's this guy, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound bruiser who throws like an ironworker and runs like a fullback.

Tebow is — how should we put this? — a horrible passer. From the first quarter through the third quarter, he can't hit the ocean. In six games, he has completed only 45 percent of his passes. He has never completed more than half his passes in a single game since becoming a starter. Of the 32 quarterbacks on the NFL's list of leading passers — Tebow hasn't thrown enough passes to qualify — not one of them is below 54 percent. Brees and Rodgers are over 70 percent.

I wanted to know what a coach thinks of Tebow as a passer and quarterback, so I called Brandon Doman, the BYU offensive coordinator and quarterback coach who played quarterback for BYU and the San Francisco 49ers.

"When you throw the football, the elbow is supposed to be in front and above your shoulder at the same time and the football follows the lead of your elbow," says Doman. "He never gets his elbow above his shoulder. There is no natural follow through. All the (NFL) guys were trying to fix that at the combine. It would help him get the ball out quicker. He has a slow throwing motion. By the time he delivers, he's wound up like a pitcher on the mound. It just isn't real clean."

Doman continues. "This is what creates inaccuracy, but here's the deal: It isn't always due to throwing motion, although it contributes. It's decision-making and timing. For a young quarterback, if he's got an unorthodox throwing motion and any question in the timing of his throws, it really enhances the inaccuracy. The throwing motion, the hesitancy, the timing — you're going to see wild throws."

The Broncos don't even want Tebow to throw the ball. He spends most of his Sundays handing off the ball or running with it. With Kyle Orton at quarterback, the Broncos threw the ball an average of 30 times a game in the first five games. They have averaged 14 passes in the last four games — or about what Drew Brees throws in one quarter.

The Broncos tried to use Tebow like a normal pro quarterback. It was brutal. In his second start, Tebow threw 39 passes against the Lions and completed just 18 of them. He also had a fumble and an interception returned for touchdowns and was sacked seven times. It was his only loss, 45-10. After that, Denver coaches retooled the offense, turning it into the Florida Gators-West. They added the read-option, a high school and college offensive gimmick previously considered ill-suited for the NFL.

"If we were running a regular offense, he'd be screwed," Broncos coach John Fox said of his quarterback.

Since then, Tebow has become the oddest phenomenon to hit the NFL since, well, Michael Vick and, before that, Bo Jackson. This is what Tebow has done in the last four games:

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