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Former Jaguars TE Brady: Learning position quickly will be ‘tall task’ for Tebow

Tight end Kyle Brady of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs with the football during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium on November 19, 2000 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Jaguars defeated the Steelers 34-24. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) (George Gojkovich, 2000 George Gojkovich)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Kyle Brady spent his entire football career playing the tight end position.

Tim Tebow is trying to pick it up in roughly three months.

Can such a challenging move be done? What will be the easiest and most challenging things for Tebow to learn as he tries to make the Jaguars roster after last playing in an NFL regular-season game in 2012?

We asked Brady.

Brady was the ninth overall pick by the Jets in 1995 and spent four seasons there before signing with the Jaguars in 1999. He played tight end growing up and was Pennsylvania’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 1989 at Cedar Cliff High School.

Brady’s vantage point on Tebow’s return to the NFL at a new position more than eight years after he last played a regular-season game — it’s going to be a challenge.

Tebow has several things working for him, Brady said. He’ll be a great locker room presence. He’s a competitor. And Tebow played quarterback, arguably the most challenging position in sports, so his mental aspect of the game is going to help.

The greatest challenge in moving to the tight end position for Tebow — picking up the nuances of the position roughly two months before training camp starts. Even though the other five tight ends on Jacksonville’s roster aren’t exceptional pass catchers, Brady said the head start that NFL tight ends have over a newcomer is substantial.

Most players have been playing tight end or positions where they line up in the box, like on the offensive or defensive line, since Pop Warner.

“By far the physical [demands],” Brady said of the most challenging aspect of switching positions. “I mean, and it’s by no means a discredit to the kind of shape I’m sure he’s going to be in, and the preparation he’s going to be into being physically prepared to meet the demands of the position.”

Brady said Tebow’s experience as a quarterback will be beneficial in several aspects of his move to tight end.

A quarterback has to read a defense before the snap and then make multiple reads once the ball is snapped. Those decisions are intricate and complex. Multiple scenarios need to be analyzed and deciphered in real-time.

“As a quarterback, he’s trained and understanding everything possible about defenses, looks, box looks and defensive backfield looks and understanding what the defense is trying to do to you. Blitzes, things like that, and where blitzes are coming from, pressure and what that means,” Brady said. “So, that’ll be the easiest portion of transition for Tim. The kind of the mental or intellectual aspect of the game should really actually slow down.”

As a tight end, those reads are naturally far less complicated, Brady said. With so many blocking tight ends on the roster — free-agent signee Chris Manhertz and draft pick Luke Farrell — Tebow is likely viewed as a more impactful player as a pass-catcher. But he’ll still need to learn how to run routes and block.

“There’s so many movements that take years and years to perfect. They become muscle memory. They need to be muscle memory by the time you get to the professional ranks. And if they’re not, it’s a pretty tough spot,” Brady said. “… And he’s got the athleticism for it. It’s just a matter of whether he can master those skills in such a short period of time, in such a condensed space of time, that it’s quite a tall task.”


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.