Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has been under the microscope so much lately it’s a wonder he’s not encased in glass.
So it is then, that the view of his preseason performance in Thursday’s 24-23 loss to Dallas at Cowboys Stadium depends through what lens that effort is viewed.
Entering the game one series after starting quarterback Kyle Orton departed with a field-goal drive in his pocket, Tebow was 6-of-7 passing for 91 yards in four first-half possessions. More than half his passing yards came on a 46-yard strike over the middle to receiver Matt Willis. He was at the helm for six Broncos points against the Cowboys’ second-team defense.
“He put points on the board, that’s the key,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “And we didn’t dump the ball to the other team, so I think for a young quarterback he did very well.”
Tebow had a 118.8 rating while working nearly as much from the shotgun (eight snaps) as under center (13). Tebow, starting his second NFL season, also saw a seven-yard TD scramble over the left side wiped out by a holding penalty, an interception nullified by a pass interference call and a 10-yard loss on a sack in which he had no escape.
Tebow also had some of the hiccups that drive his critics batty. He seemed to take off a tick too quickly on a few occasions. His accuracy—another emphasis—wasn’t pinpoint, despite the high completion rate.
The Willis catch might have been a long score had it hit the wideout in stride. Another red-zone pass was behind Willis instead of leading him on third down, sending out the field-goal unit.
Still, after no organized offseason and barely two weeks of practice under intense media heat, Tebow’s work was a stepping-stone.
“I felt more confident in my reads and decisions,” Tebow said. “There’s a few I’d probably change but for the most part I felt like I did the right thing the rest of the plays. Definitely room for improvement.”
Brady Quinn continued to keep the heat on Tebow for the No. 2 job with a strong second half, in which he was 8-of-14 passing for 120 yards, a TD and 109.2 rating.
Half of Quinn’s four series culminated in TDs, including an eight-yard bullet pass to Eron Riley in the back of the end zone with 5:44 left,
“I think we all felt good on offense,” Quinn said. “We’ve definitely come along.”