GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers need a backup quarterback. The Denver Broncos are reportedly looking to trade Tim Tebow now that they’ve decided to cast their lot with four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning.
Could general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy be Tebowing soon?
Before you roll your eyes at the idea – which, admittedly, is a bit far-fetched given Thompson’s unwillingness to part with draft picks in trades – it is worth noting that both McCarthy and Thompson had very high praise for the ex-Florida star and Heisman Trophy winner in advance of the 2010 NFL Draft.
McCarthy was actually at the podium in the Lucas Oil Stadium media room when Tebow created a stir with his entrance, which sent reporters scurrying to his podium and away from McCarthy.
“I don’t know how you can not be positive about Tim Tebow,” McCarthy said later that day in February 2010. “The young man’s a winner. I’ve never met him; I’ve seen him play on TV like most people. I have not broken down his film yet. I was in the pre-combine draft meetings for the quarterbacks and heard what the scouts said about him, watched a little bit of tape on him.
“I’m looking forward to breaking him down (on film). I’m going to find something wrong with everybody’s mechanics, but I don’t think you just throw him away and say, ‘He can’t play in this league.’ The guy has a tremendous will to win. I think that’s something you can’t overlook. That’s just my opinion. I have not put a grade on him, so I don’t know how that will come out. But I know one thing: The guy wins football games. I think you need to be excited about that.”
Said Thompson earlier that day: “I'm no quarterback expert, (but) I will say this about young Tebow: There's been a lot of discussion and commenting about him and his release or his ability to play in the National Football League. Based on his history, I think that would be a little bit premature to start criticizing him and doubting his ability to play. He's been playing at a pretty high level for quite some time, has to go down as one of the great college football players of all-time. So let's don't sell him short just yet.”
While McCarthy acknowledged then that Tebow needed to work on his mechanics once he got to the NFL – “The way we do it in our quarterback school, we address areas of fundamentals that we feel are a must, that we feel we need to address and try to fix immediately,” McCarthy explained – he was more upbeat about Tebow’s potential than a lot of other NFL people. In fact, McCarthy was in the middle of saying “I would definitely love to coach him” when Tebow entered the room that day.
“I know a lot's being said about his mechanics. Just the way he approaches the game of football, I think he'll do everything he needs to do to improve,” McCarthy said. “You look for football players, and his record in college I think speaks for itself. I'd love the opportunity to work with a Tim Tebow.”
While a longshot, with the Broncos ready to give up on him after his incredible – and shocking – success last season, McCarthy may still get that chance.
With backup Matt Flynn having left as an unrestricted free agent, the only quarterbacks on the roster behind reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers are Graham Harrell and ex-Arena Football League QB Nick Hill. Like Tebow, Harrell was not highly regarded coming out of college, despite an impressive, record-setting career at Texas Tech. The Packers picked him up after he went undrafted and spent a year on the injured list in the Canadian Football League.
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