Tim Tebow

Urban Meyer On Trevor Lawrence, Tim Tebow

This year may bring the most closely followed Jaguars training camp ever, with No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence coming to town and quarterback-turned-tight end Tim Tebow vying for a roster spot. Urban Meyer‘s role as a first-time NFL coach will be scrutinized as well.

The new Jacksonville HC addressed these topics recently. Lawrence is expected to be the Jaguars’ Week 1 starter, but the Jags interestingly pumped the brakes on this expected ascension recently. Meyer confirmed his franchise-QB hopeful is not quite there yet.

He’s not ready yet, but he doesn’t have to be ready yet,” Meyer said during an interview with USA Today’s Mackenzie Salmon (h/t 247sports.com). “We got a long training camp coming up. He’s probably advanced maybe a little quicker than we would’ve thought, which was a positive.

One thing that we worked on, when we made a decision that Trevor was going to be our No. 1 pick, we went from the evaluation stage to the preparation stage. And that means that I want to see. I can’t remember the exact date, but we started installing the playbook with him well before the draft. So you can see the retention. He’s got a really good work ethic and he’s progressed very well.”

Replacing Kelly Bryant as a true freshman at Clemson, Lawrence rocketed onto the NFL radar by leading the Tigers to the 2018 national championship. Lawrence was viewed as the likely 2021 top pick for years. The Jags securing that selection helped lead Meyer to Jacksonville, so it would certainly be stunning if Gardner Minshew or C.J. Beathard started in Week 1.

Despite Tebow not having played in a regular-season game since 2012, the former Heisman winner and playoff QB starter will go to camp with the Jags. Meyer said earlier this month Tebow has done a “decent job” since joining the Jaguars. Last month, 46% of PFR readers said Tebow would make Jacksonville’s 53-man roster, while another 25% said the ex-Broncos QB1 and Mets farmhand would land on the practice squad.

The last thing you just said is the tough part – there’s 53. And that’s new to me,” Meyer said, via Salmon (video link). “That’s the reality of the NFL – that you have 90 players. So to me he’s one of 90. What’s the difference between him and the other 40 guys trying to make the team? To me it’s all the same. This is their livelihood. This is a job. This is a way to make a living and the reality is a good percentage of your roster is going to get cut or transitioned out of here which to me, that’s completely new.”

The Jags signed Chris Manhertz, a Panther in 2020, and drafted Ohio State’s Luke Farrell in Round 5. Veteran James O’Shaughnessy remains on the team as well. Tebow, 2020 sixth-round pick Tyler Davis and 2020 UDFA Ben Ellefson round out the Jags’ tight end contingent. The Jags potentially planning wildcat-type looks for Tebow may give him an edge, but teams keeping more than four tight ends on an active roster is fairly rare.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Notes: Lawrence, Chaisson, Tebow

Trevor Lawrence made his way back from offseason shoulder surgery and progressed to working out with his Jaguars teammates during OTAs. The No. 1 overall pick, however, has run into injury trouble on a new front. Lawrence battled left hamstring tightness last week, and after attempting to return to work during the first day of Jacksonville’s minicamp Monday, he aggravated the injury, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com notes. Urban Meyer said Lawrence will likely sit out team drills Tuesday, and it certainly would not surprise if the franchise’s QB1 is done with seven-on-seven or 11-on-11 activity until training camp. C.J. Beathard and the now-mullet-less Gardner Minshew split the reps in Lawrence’s absence.

Here is the latest out of Jacksonville:

  • K’Lavon Chaisson will miss all of Jacksonville’s minicamp due to a positive COVID-19 test, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The second-year defensive end attended Von Miller‘s annual pass rush summit in Las Vegas over the weekend. The event had coronavirus testing, per Chaisson (on Twitter).
  • The Jags have used a 4-3 defense as their primary look throughout their 26-season history, but new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen will switch to a 3-4 alignment. Meyer confirmed as such Monday, via News4Jax.com’s Jamal St. Cyr. Dating back to their Marcus StroudJohn Henderson D-tackle duo through the “Sacksonville” period, the Jags preferred a 4-3 look. While the distinction means less nowadays, given teams’ sub-package reliance, it is notable the Jags will make this switch.
  • Tim Tebow has bulked up to 255 pounds, up nearly 20 from his quarterback days, and will be attempting to make a rare transition. Washington tight end Logan Thomas, who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, provides a reasonable example of a quarterback-to-tight end switch working, DiRocco writes. Thomas, however, first worked out as a tight end in 2016 and said it took him two years to feel comfortable at the position. The former Virginia Tech quarterback made the transition in his mid-20s; Tebow will attempt to do so at 33. Thomas noted blocking will be Tebow’s most difficult task, but the Jags may not have a pure tight end role in mind for the former Heisman winner. The prospect of using him as a wildcat quarterback has surfaced.

Latest On Jaguars’ Tim Tebow

As you might have heard, the Jaguars signed Tim Tebow earlier this month. According to head coach Urban Meyer & Co., Tebow will be competing for a roster spot as a tight end. But, around the league, executives believe that Tebow is actually being groomed as more of a wildcat quarterback (Twitter link via ESPN’s Dianna Russini). 

[POLL: Will Tim Tebow Make Jaguars’ Roster?]

Given Tebow’s background, a Taysom Hill type of role could make sense. A hybrid position also give him a better chance of making the final cut. The Jaguars already have a full house at tight end, with Chris Manhertz, fifth-round rookie Luke Farrell, Tyler Davis, James O’Shaughnessy, and Ben Ellefson on board. Ditto for quarterback, where No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence is backstopped by Gardner Minshew, C.J. Beathard, and Jake Luton. Whether or not Minshew stays, the Jags will carry no more than three QBs on their Week 1 roster with three or four tight ends, max. In theory, Tebow could provide a bit of roster flexibility if he’s slotted as the No. 3 QB/No. 4 TE.

In any event, it’s hard to peg Tebow’s odds of actually making the roster. At last check, ~46% of PFR readers said that Tebow will make the 53-man roster, ~29% predicted he’ll be dropped entirely, and ~25% said he’ll land on the taxi squad. And, in case you’re wondering, Tebow still has the No. 1 selling jersey in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Will Tim Tebow Make Jaguars’ Roster?

Considering the jersey sales and Jacksonville’s proximity to where Tim Tebow starred in high school and college, he might already be the most popular tight end in Jaguars history. Marcedes Lewis was obviously far more accomplished and made 12 Jaguars rosters. Will Tebow end up making one?

The Jags have a noticeable hole at tight end; this issue has persisted for several years. Lewis’ run of 400-plus-yard seasons stopped after the 2012 campaign, and the Jags gave Julius Thomas a big-ticket deal in 2015 to provide a better receiving option. That did not end up working out, and the franchise has not featured much of note at the position since it traded Thomas in 2017. Its current tight end group consists of veterans James O’Shaughnessy and Chris Manhertz and recent Day 3 picks Tyler Davis (2020, Round 6) and Luke Farrell (2021, Round 5). Among those who were pros in 2020, O’Shaughnessy’s 262 receiving yards — a career-high mark — led the way.

Of course, Tebow’s profile does not point to him providing a remedy for the Jags’ tight end issues. But the former Heisman winner, playoff starting quarterback and minor league outfielder generates considerable discussion and has throughout his time in the spotlight. Urban Meyer has both expressed concern for his tight end group and lauded Tebow’s leadership qualities.

Although he spent time with the Eagles and Patriots through the summer of 2015, Tebow has not played in a regular-season game since 2012 with the Jets. Should Tebow return to a game that counts in 2021, he would be only the fourth NFLer since the merger to return to the league after at least eight seasons away. Doug Flutie was the only player to do so without the 1987 players’ strike factoring into the equation; both the others — ex-Broncos offensive lineman David Diaz-Infante and former Chiefs QB Tony Adams — were replacement players in 1987.

Given Meyer and Tebow’s history, the recent Mets farmhand lasting beyond the summer probably should not be considered a shocking proposition. The Jags did not guarantee any of Tebow’s one-year, $920K contract, however, and the former Broncos first-round pick has never caught a pass in an NFL game. Tebow reportedly impressed Jags coaches at his new position during his workout and displayed ball-carrying chops at Florida and as a Bronco (660 rushing yards, six TDs in 2011). And the Jags do not have a host of roster locks at this position.

Should Tebow be released ahead of roster cutdown day, he would be eligible for Jacksonville’s practice squad. As strange as it would seem, given Tebow’s age (34 in August), a developmental/roster insurance role would make sense — if the Jags view him as a viable tight end, of course. This path may be amenable to Tebow, who spent multiple seasons with much younger teammates as part of the Mets’ minor league system. Practice squads increased from 10 to 16 players last year, but barring another change, the CBA calls for 12-man taxi squads in 2021.

On a slow weekend, weigh in with your view of Tebow’s comeback. Will he end up sticking with the Jags in 2021, or will his No. 85 jersey end up a collector’s item like Jerry Rice‘s No. 19 with the Broncos?

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Guarantees For Jaguars’ Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow has a new job and the hottest selling jersey in the NFL. What he doesn’t have, however, is guaranteed money in his new deal with the Jaguars (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). 

Tebow’s one-year deal with Jacksonville is for $920K, the league’s minimum salary for a player with his experience level. And, if he doesn’t make the final cut in the fall, he’ll see $0 of that sum, because it’s completely non-guaranteed. That’s not necessarily a surprise – Tebow has bounced around from the broadcast booth to minor league baseball in recent years. Outside of pal Urban Meyer, it doesn’t sound like there were many coaches interested in signing him this year.

The one-time U of F star hasn’t played in a real NFL game since the 2012 season. His last stint was with the Eagles during the 2015 preseason. Despite his first-round pedigree, Tebow wasn’t up to snuff as an NFL quarterback. This time around, he’ll be trying his hand at tight end, practicing alongside Chris Manhertz, fifth-round rookie Luke Farrell, Tyler Davis, James O’Shaughnessy, and Ben Ellefson,

For what it’s worth, Meyer is pretty excited about what Tebow could bring to the table.

[My assistants] said, ‘Wow, this guy’s ball skills, he’s a great athlete, he looks like he’s 18 years old, not 20-whatever-he-is, 33,’” Meyer told Cris Collinsworth (via The Ringer). “Guys, you don’t understand. Now this guy is, he’s the most competitive maniac you’re ever gonna talk to, and let’s give it a shot.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Sign Tim Tebow

It’s officially official. On Thursday, the Jaguars confirmed that they’ve signed former University of Florida superstar Tim Tebow. Tebow, who made his name at quarterback, will attempt to return to football as a tight end.

“‘I want to thank the Jaguars for the opportunity to compete and earn the chance to be part of this team,’ Tebow said. “I know it will be a challenge, but it is a challenge I embrace. I am dedicated to taking the direction of our coaching staff and learning from my teammates. I appreciate everyone’s support as I embark on this new journey.”

Tebow hasn’t played in a real NFL game since the 2012 season. His last pro football stint was with the Eagles during the 2015 preseason. He’s since attempted a pro baseball career, spending time in the minor leagues with the Mets, which he just recently retired from.

All in all, Tebow’s NFL career spans three seasons, two with the Broncos and one with the Jets. As a first-round rookie in Denver, Tebow threw for 654 yards and five touchdowns, while adding 227 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. In 2011, Tebow played in 14 games and passed for 1,729 yards and 12 scores, plus 660 yards and six TDs rushing. Tebow logged a playoff win that year, but he wasn’t necessarily the driver behind their success.

Now, the two-time national champion at Florida will reunite with Urban Meyer and try to make the Jaguars as a tight end. For what it’s worth, the Mets’ minor league affiliates listed the 6-foot-3 Tebow at a TE-ready 245 pounds. The Jaguars now roster six TEs in total: Chris Manhertz, fifth-round pick Luke Farrell, Tyler Davis, James O’Shaughnessy, Ben Ellefson, and Tebow.

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Jags Notes: Lawrence, Etienne, Tebow

Let’s round up a few items out of Jacksonville:

  • The expectation remains that Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick of this year’s draft, will be at full strength when training camp opens in a couple of months, as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network observes (Twitter link). In fact, head coach Urban Meyer said Lawrence should be “pretty close to full go” before the end of mandatory minicamp on June 17 (via John Oesher of the team’s official website). Lawrence was on a 30-40 throw “pitch count” during this weekend’s rookie minicamp, and both he and Meyer believe everything is trending in the right direction. Lawrence underwent surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder in February.
  • Lawrence was obviously the headliner of the 2021 draft, but there is also plenty of excitement about the Jaguars’ second first-round choice, RB Travis Etienne (Lawrence’s teammate at Clemson). Etienne is a threat to break off a big play whenever he touches the ball, and his receiving abilities are just as enticing as his rushing prowess. In an effort to continue honing Etienne’s skills as a dynamic dual-threat talent, Meyer said that Etienne took most of his rookie minicamp reps at wide receiver, as Rapoport tweets. The Jags do have 2020 UDFA James Robinson on the roster, and Robinson turned in a terrific rookie campaign both as a runner and as a receiver. Despite Robinson’s presence, it doesn’t sound as if Etienne will be transitioned to a full-time WR. Meyer said he knows what Etienne can do as a rusher and just wants to see if he can also excel when split out wide (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com).
  • The Jags are planning to sign Tim Tebow as a tight end, but according to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington (via Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report), not everyone in the building is thrilled with the proposition. The detractors think that the signing does not send the right message to the rest of the team, and that it will not provide the locker room with the “cultural jolt” that Meyer is anticipating. But this is unquestionably Meyer’s club now, and there is an obvious void at TE. Whether Tebow is a legitimate candidate to fill that void remains to be seen.

Jaguars Planning To Sign Tim Tebow

Well, it’s pretty much official now. The Jaguars are “planning to” sign Tim Tebow as the former star quarterback makes his NFL return as a tight end, sources told Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Rapsheet writes that the deal “could be official in the next week or so.” He also reports it’ll be a one-year contract, unsurprisingly. Things have been trending in this direction for a while, with Tony Khan (son of Jaguars owner Shad Khan) recently saying Urban Meyer wanted him on the team.

Meyer, of course, coached Tebow during their glory days together at Florida. Pelissero tweets that Tebow is still “a long shot to make the team,” but it sounds like he’ll have his chance at training camp. It’s not like the Jaguars have a ton at tight end right now, as Meyer recently highlighted when discussing the team’s interest.

Tebow hasn’t played in a real NFL game since the 2012 season. His last pro football stint was with the Eagles during the 2015 preseason. He’s since attempted a pro baseball career, spending time in the minor leagues with the Mets, which he just recently retired from.

If nothing else, you’ve got to admire his resiliency and work ethic. Teams had wanted Tebow to try out at tight end in the past, but he always refused. Turning 34 in August, it’s unclear how much he’ll have left in the tank physically, but it’ll be a fun storyline to monitor this summer no matter what

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Tebow, Dolphins, Broncos, Jets

A Tim Tebow to the Jaguars deal is starting to look more and more likely. The news of Tebow trying to come out of retirement as a tight end came completely out of left field, but Jacksonville is seemingly taking it quite seriously. Head coach Urban Meyer acknowledged at the time that the team would explore signing Tebow in the near future, and now ownership is endorsing the prospect. “Tim has definitely come in and worked out,Tony Khan, son of Jags owner Shad Khan, told BleacherReport.com, via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com. “So beyond that, I can’t say too much, but Tim has come in and worked out as a tight end. That’s not a position that we’ve seen him play, but it’s a position that he’s been practicing at with us.”

“Urban really believes he can help us, and I think it makes a lot of sense. And it’s a position where we need to get better.” That last sentence is the money quote that makes it sound like the Jaguars signing Tebow is a matter of when, not if. Obviously Tebow played for Meyer at Florida, and if the new head coach and shot caller wants him back as a reserve tight end, the front office isn’t going to stand in the way. Jacksonville is thin at the position right now, and crazier things have happened. Assuming he gets signed, it’ll be entertaining if nothing else.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Some teams, like the Packers, have announced their initial phase of offseason workouts would remain virtual and that players with workout bonuses could receive them by logging their attendance at the virtual sessions. The Dolphins won’t be one of those teams. Miami will only be giving players with workout bonuses their money if they are in the building later this month, a source told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. That doesn’t mean it’s a coaching decision, as Jackson writes that one agent told him Dolphins head coach Brian Flores “has been respectful of the players’ position on the NFLPA issue and hasn’t tried to pressure them.” The NFLPA, of course, is pushing teams to proceed with entirely virtual offseason voluntary workouts. Jackson notes that there are “nearly a dozen” Dolphins players with workout bonuses who will now face a dilemma. The Dolphins were one of the many teams whose players issued a statement through the NFLPA to “stand in solidarity” with players skipping the workouts. Receivers DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, and Jakeem Grant have workout bonuses of $100K, $75K, and $50K respectively on the line.
  • The Broncos recently drafted Ohio State linebacker Jonathon Cooper in the seventh-round, who played in college with a heart condition. Now, Cooper is having a procedure to correct the issue, Mike Klis of Denver 9 News writes. While it’s hard to read ‘heart procedure’ and not get a little alarmed, thankfully Klis writes that it’s a “minimally invasive” operation that will only sidelined him for a few weeks. Cooper won’t be able to participate in the team’s rookie minicamp, which is a tough blow for any seventh-rounder, but he is “expected to be ready for the start of training camp, if not sooner.” Here’s to hoping everything goes smoothly with the ablation procedure.
  • Speaking of offseason surgeries, the Jets’ Quinnen Williams just had one too. The third overall pick of the 2019 draft had surgery for a broken bone in his foot on Thursday, according to Joey Chandler of NJ.com. Fortunately, new Jets coach Robert Saleh said he believes Williams will be back for training camp. “It could have been worse, because those types of injuries are injuries that it is just something that eventually was going to happen so for it to happen now so they can get him fixed and be ready for training camp rather than it happening in training camp and now he’s missing half the season,” Saleh said optimistically. Williams made major strides last season, and showed flashes of the dominant player the Jets hoped they were getting in 2019. Hopefully this injury doesn’t stall any of that progress.

Jaguars Work Out Tim Tebow

May 2: The Jaguars’ TE depth chart is very thin. The club just drafted Luke Farrell in the fifth round, but he is viewed as more of a blocking-first type of player. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, Meyer conceded that he is concerned about the state of the position.

“There’s some great quality, quantity wasn’t there in the draft this year, and that’s a concern right now,” he said. “That’s a concern right now. . . . We just didn’t hit that today.”

That might be good news for Tebow. Meyer said he did not stay for the entirety of Tebow’s recent workout, but he did say that the team will explore the possibility of signing Tebow in the near future.

Apr. 29: Off the NFL radar for years, Tim Tebow has resurfaced with his former college coach. The Jaguars worked out the former quarterback recently, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Tebow, however, worked out as a tight end, according to Rapoport. Inaccurate as a passer, Tebow resisted previous overtures to move to another position. Having ended his baseball run earlier this year, the 33-year-old TV analyst appears to have changed his mind on playing tight end. The former Broncos first-round pick requested to work out at the position, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

This does not appear to be a case of Urban Meyer offering a courtesy workout to his former Heisman-winning Florida Gators superstar; the sides have discussed a deal, Rapoport adds. This would certainly be a major development, despite Tebow’s lengthy NFL absence. Tebow worked as a three-year starter for Meyer at Florida and played a key role as a freshman. The pair won two national championships together.

It is worth wondering how viable Tebow’s path back to the league is. He has not played a regular-season game since 2012, when he worked as a Jets backup. The popular southpaw passer caught on with the Patriots and Eagles in subsequent offseasons but could not land game-day gigs with either. Tebow spent the past few years in the New York Mets’ farm system. The quarterback-turned-outfielder showed considerable progress, considering he had not played baseball competitively since high school, and logged nearly 300 Triple-A at-bats in 2019. He fell just short of the majors. For what it’s worth, the Mets listed the 6-foot-3 Tebow at a tight end-capable 245 pounds.

The Jags have needed help at tight end for a while now. While Tebow would be a flier at best, it is not like the team is set at this position. Jacksonville should be expected to add a tight end at least by the middle rounds this week.

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