Tim Tebow was actually performing a lot better as a passer

Neil Hornsby explains how Tim Tebow's passing ability had improved in Philadelphia.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Tim Tebow was actually performing a lot better as a passer

(Note: This article has been updated to reflect the news that Tim Tebow has been released by the Eagles.)

So, it looked like Tim Tebow might be back in the NFL, following the Eagles trading Matt Barkley to the Cardinals on Friday. Then the news came down Saturday from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Philadelphia had released him.

Here’s the interesting thing: Tebow had been performing much better as a passer this preseason than he had previously.

Our grades for Tebow from his time as a starter in Denver reflect the typical narrative on him: He’s a poor passer who makes a lot of plays with his legs.

2010: 4.1 overall grade, 1.2 passing, 3.6 running (1-2 record)

2011: -13.7, -16.6, 4.4 (8-5)

2012: 0.2, 0.7, 0.5 (N/A)

Last week I made the point that Tom Brady is better than his actual grades suggest because of the intangible elements he brings to Patriots. The grades are not wrong — they are the most accurate measure of QB production anywhere — but they can never account for, say, the ability to inspire the people around you.

However, while some Tebow supporters may wish to gloss his lack of ability as a passer, the fact remains it’s a pretty important part of his job role. But he’s actually been getting better as a passer. If you look at his performance this preseason, the discrepancy between his passing performance and his running performance has shrunk.

Overall grade: 0.5

Passing grade: -1.2

Running grade: 1.5

His short passing game, his real Achilles heel previously, had been crisper this time around. He has made errors, but his 13 of 16 completion rate (81.3 percent) under 10 yards is indicative of the improvement. In his last full season he was at 68.5 percent at that passing depth.

So yes, Tebow has been better. That turned out not to be enough to earn a spot on the Eagles’ roster. We’ll see if it’s enough for him to land anywhere else.

| PFF Founder

Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.

  • Riffle,Rod&Fly

    Chip Kelly boggles the mind. I’m not sure why he had interest in Tebow at all if Thursday’s performance wasn’t enough. Now they are talking about bringing Christian Ponder in. Apparently, he’d prefer that both the 2nd and 3rd string QBs will shrink in the pocket and throw INTs. Isn’t it nice to have someone who thrives in blitz situations and when things begin to break down, especially in a backup!?

    • DaystarNJO

      He thinks that he is the smartest man around and he will take others trash and make them a treasure. And when someone is showing improvement and people think Tebow will make it he does the opposite of what people think. Now he wants to possibly bring in Ponder? You can only shine a turd so much, it will still be a turd.

      • Trains34

        Tebow was basically a turd as well.

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    • Al

      It could just be a simple matter of preferring your backups to play more like your starter, but yeah. I’d rather Tebow than Ponder even if you have to rethink your offense a bit when he might be forced into the game.

  • Jim Winslow

    Tebow is better than Barkley I am surprised the cardinals traded for him, they could of gotten Tebow for free lol.