FOXBORO, Mass. — Tim Tebow took the field for his first training camp with the Patriots on Friday, and things didn’t go so well.
Tebow played with the third-string offense during the two-plus hour practice, spelling Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett for a series every so often, but he still didn’t seem comfortable in the Patriots’ system.
After looking confident during individual drills alongside Brady and Mallett, Tebow couldn’t find any rhythm against defenders during team drills. He finished the day 4-for-5 in 7-on-7 drills, including an atrocious interception, and went just 6-for-11 in 11-on-11 drills, throwing another unnecessary interception to make matters even worse.
Even amid all the ugliness, Tebow was also involved in maybe the prettiest play of the day. Near the end of practice, Tebow dropped back in the pocket, looking down the sideline where Kamar Aiken was blanketed by cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. Tebow threw a jump ball to the 6-foot-2 receiver, who came back over the top of Dennard to make a spectacular catch for a big gain. That would be Tebow’s only highlight on the day, though.
The two interceptions still overshadowed any good Tebow might have done on the day, if only because they were maybe the two worst passes of the day. The first came toward the end of 7-on-7s, as Tebow dropped back looking for rookie tight end Brandon Ford over the middle. Instead, Tebow threw the ball way out in front of the tight end almost directly into the chest of safety Nate Ebner – an inexcusable mistake.
The second interception was a little more understandable as Tebow tried to dump the ball off to rookie running back George Winn. Instead he found the outstretched hands of Chandler Jones, who made a terrific diving grab to maintain control of the turnover.
If the struggles affected Tebow at all, he didn’t let it show during his post-practice interview, maintaining his calm, collected nature and keeping positive even when asked about the interceptions.
“[I] felt good out there, felt I made good decisions,” Tebow said. “I’ve got to keep improving every single day, watch the film [and] get better from it.”
The silver lining here is that this was just the first of many practices to come and Tebow will have plenty more chances to get better.