(Photo: Reuters/Adam Fenster)
Tim Tebow's throwing motion and low completion rate last season have caused many to question his skills on the field and now the New York Jets backup quarterback is speaking up for himself against one of his toughest critics.
Stephen A. Smith, ESPN journalist and co-host of the network's "First Take" debate show, has made it no secret that he believes Tebow is a sub-par quarterback. Despite all of the media coverage that the 24-year-old evangelical Christian quarterback receives, Smith has not been afraid to bring people's attention to Tebow's issues on the football field.
"In the end, Tebow's throwing motion, the absence of timing, his slow release, the wobbly throws, the lack of precision, the questionable football IQ, and the residue of a 46 percent completion rate that was the worst of any starting quarterback in the NFL last season, is what resonates," Smith wrote about Tebow on ESPN.com. "Profoundly. And there's nothing even the wide-eyed Jets can do to change that right now."
While Smith has never questioned Tebow's character, he spoke to the backup QB after the Jets practice on Monday about some of the issues with his game. However, Tebow was not interested in debating the sports commentator the way his notorious ESPN co-star Skip Bayless would.
"I think, first of all, it's not my place to try and debate or make myself look good," Tebow told Smith after his practice Monday. "Just as far as trying to get better and throwing the football, I've been working really hard with that. You can see that in certain situations that I've done that."
Smith may have questioned Tebow's throwing abilities, but he did not deny that the QB contained an "it" factor and knew how to win games. While Tebow said he appreciated the compliments, he was not afraid to hear the criticism.
"I really appreciate you complimenting me by saying I have the 'it' factor and I can win football games...I've tried to work on being very careful with the football," Tebow told Smith. ".. I appreciate the compliments. As to everything else, I just use it all for motivation."
However, Tebow disagreed with the seasoned sports journalist about being contradictory in his well wishes for Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez while trying to advance in the same position on the team.
"I disagree that it's contradictory," Tebow told the analyst. "There are things that are more important than football games. Relationships, in general, and how you treat people are more important than football games."
Still, the popular football player made no apologies for supporting Sanchez who many feel he should be competing with.
"As far as rooting somebody on and supporting them, you can do that while still trying to do your best," Tebow said. "If your best is better, so be it. If not, then you have to do other roles that you're asked to do."