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Lonestar
05-01-2010, 01:20 PM
Tebow passes first test with Broncos in minicamp
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
POSTED: 05/01/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT


Coach Josh McDaniels' eyes are hardly the only ones watching rookie quarterback Tim Tebow on Friday at the Broncos' minicamp. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post )
For the first day of their offseason minicamp, the Broncos attracted 32 rookie players and 47 members of the media.

Check that. There was really only one rookie who drew 47 camera toters, notebook scribblers and microphone holders.

Cue the open-top circus music. Here comes Ringmaster Fred. The Tim Tebow Watch has officially begun.

"Honestly, it's just my first day, and I'm a rookie just like everybody else," Tebow said.

Sure he is. And Pikes Peak is just another hill.

At the risk of getting carried away, the media easily could have walked away from their 15-minute viewing period with the impression that Tebow, the former Florida superstar, should have gone 24 spots higher in last week's NFL draft.

Tebow the only rookie wearing an orange jersey, as all Broncos quarterbacks must during practice displayed coordination while marching to strength coordinator Rich Tuten's warm-up exercises, agility during a ball-carrying drill over and around blocking dummies, and accuracy during a pitch-and-catch session with equipment manager Mike "Hands" Harrington.

Until Tebow throws his first interception in a preseason game, it may be difficult not to get carried away.

"I think he's done a good job with it," said offensive lineman Zane Beadles, the Broncos' second-round draft pick, who practiced at left and right tackle Friday. "He's come in here, and you can definitely tell he's a winner and loves football. He's talking to guys and already getting the team to pull together."

When it was time to throw, Tebow feigned taking the snap under center, took three- to five-step drops and zipped passes from 5 to 15 yards to Harrington. There was no rolling out, no throwing on the run, no scrambling. That was Tebow the college legend. What he did Friday was just normal, pocket-passing stuff of NFL quarterbacks.

"The footwork, the drops, the cadences, identifying the right 'Mikes' (linebacker), going through all the protections, everything like that is what I've been working on," Tebow said. "I can't narrow it down. I've got too many things to work on right now."

The media were not permitted to watch Tebow throw to any rookie receivers, the most notable of whom first-round draft pick Demaryius Thomas and third-rounder Eric Decker weren't around to catch anyway because they are sidelined with foot fractures.

The full squad will have its first formal organized team activity (OTA) on May 17-19.

As Tebow and the other rookies practiced, Fred Fleming, the Broncos' director of special services who is called upon whenever something out of the ordinary stirs at team headquarters, patrolled the inqui-sitive audience. As Tebow threw, quarterbacks coach Ben McDaniels and an on-field cameraman stood near the highly touted project. Head coach Josh McDaniels also dropped by for some personal instruction.

For the most part, Tebow released the ball from near his ear hole and did not use the long, right fielder-like delivery that had generated so much criticism leading up to the draft.

Tebow completed 21-of-21 passes to Harrington during the viewing period. Just as the media were herded off the field, Tebow zipped a 15-yard pass to Harrington, who made his first and only drop. Thus, Tebow was officially 21-of-22.

Afterward, Harrington declined comment. True story.

It can be safely assumed Dove Valley has never dealt with anything quite like the Tebow Watch.

"I'm just excited. It's not really pressure," Tebow said. "I just go out here and play football and I'm loving doing it. I'm learning a great offense from great coaches and just trying to soak it all in every chance I get, and I'm having a great time with it."

Mike Klis: 303-954-1055 or mklis@denverpost.com