Former Heisman Trophy winner and Carolina Panthers quarterback Chris Weinke spent the past month tweaking Tim Tebow’s mechanics and is convinced Tebow 2.0, released in April after a failed one-year tenure with the New York Jets, doesn’t have to change positions to stick with the New England Patriots.
“Do I think he can play the quarterback position in the NFL? Yeah, no question,” Weinke told USA TODAY Sports Monday. “Like I told Tim when I found out (Monday) that he signed, ‘You’re locked and loaded, ready to go.”’
It sure doesn’t hurt that Tebow could have some situational chances this season to prove the Jets wrong for cutting him.
“Tim’s about as competitive a guy as you’re ever going to be around,” said Weinke, who won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship at Florida State. “Tim didn’t spend any time talking about the Jets releasing him. But at the end of the day, he’s been humbled and he’s hungry.
“That’s good. He’ll go up to New England. And they’ll be pleased with the way he’s throwing the football.”
The IMG Academy director said from his Bradenton office that Tebow couldn’t have landed in a better spot in his bid to prove he’s still a viable quarterback prospect.
“It’s a good fit for him,” Weinke said.
The Bill Belichick and Tom Brady Patriots are the non-circus antithesis of the AFC East rival Jets, who traded for Tebow in March 2012 only to skip over him when quarterback Mark Sanchez was benched.
Weinke said pressure on Tebow will be minimal with Brady entrenched as the starter, and Tebow’s former Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who drafted the Heisman Trophy winner, in the role of Patriots offensive coordinator.
“It’s an ideal, no-nonsense environment,” Weinke said. “He wants to get much better. He grasped and had a great understanding of what’s going on and that, coupled with the familiarity with Josh McDaniels ... he’s going to a place where we all know they have one of the best quarterbacks in the game in Tom Brady.
“So there won’t be pressure to go in there to try to get a starting job.”
Weinke and fellow former NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde noticed a major flaw in the way Tebow’s feet were aligned, which was undercutting his accuracy and slowing his release.
“I made an adjustment to his lower half and invariably that’s where the quickness came from,” said Weinke, the former Heisman Trophy winner. “What I saw was, when his feet were in good position, he was throwing the ball with great accuracy, great velocity. And the ball was coming out much quicker.
“I know he’s excited to get up there to New England.”
Weinke said Tebow would spend four to five hours each day at the IMG Academy, throwing and lifting, and if there was anything Weinke had to make sure of, it was that Tebow didn’t overwork.
“My message to Tim was: Nobody’s questioned your work ethic,” Weinke said. “We want to make sure you’re working smart.
“He was a sponge. He wanted to make the adjustments I was making with him. But there were times I had to shut him down. I knew he was getting a little tired. He’d joke, ‘You’re just taking a break because you saw me drop my elbow a little bit.”’
Weinke said he didn’t want Tebow to regress and slide back into old habits.
“The guy has played quarterback his whole life,” Weinke said. “None of us has a crystal ball. But that’s what he’s done his whole life.”
Bills release Jackson
EJ Manuel’s path to becoming the Buffalo Bills’ starting quarterback got a little shorter Monday, as the team released veteran Tarvaris Jackson.
Kevin Kolb and rookies EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel are the three quarterbacks still on the roster. Manuel, the former Florida State star, was selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.