The most fateful day of practice in Tim Tebow's first training camp as a Jacksonville Jaguar will come on Tuesday when pads finally come on.
But even in shorts and helmets, Tebow has still been able to make an impression as a pass-catcher -- albeit one that shows work is still needed to be done.
“He has good hands," Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said Saturday when asked about Tebow's progression in his transition to tight end.
And Tebow has shown that throughout the offseason and in training camp. At a position where this is not always the case, Tebow has been mostly able to keep targets thrown his way from hitting the ground and turning incomplete.
The former quarterback and minor league baseball player hasn't played tight end in any sense since high school, so consider it a fairly significant win for him to at least be competent in terms of catching the ball.
But with that said, there is still a good bit of development that needs to take place for Tebow to have a true shot to make the Jaguars' 53-man roster later this fall. While the Jaguars' tight end room is far from acclaimed, Tebow himself still has to prove himself as a pass-catcher, especially in Meyer's eyes. And that goes far beyond simply turning a target into a reception with the pads off.
"In his drill work, he’s great, but when you get in a competitive moment, just [because of his] lack of experience he wants to body the ball," Neyer said.
"When you get to a point where two people are going after it, you have to go get the ball. He is fighting through that a little bit, but he has the skill set to catch the ball."
Meyer's comments are accurate. Tebow has caught several impressive passes downfield in camp, mostly up the seams, but few catches have been true hands catches. All have been him cradling the ball into his body and looking fairly awkward while doing so. Considering the Jaguars' defenders can't yet fight for the ball, this makes his ability to catch in traffic a mystery until later this week.
But it is a mystery Meyer and the Jaguars are eager to find the answer to. They have reason to, after all, considering the tight end room has been fairly limited in camp due to an ankle injury to James O'Shaughnessy early in camp that sidelined him for most of last week.
Meyer said O'Shaughnessy is expected to return Monday, but any injury to the veteran tight end shows just how thin the Jaguars' are at the 'F' tight end position. And in any event he goes down, the Jaguars will have to rely on Tebow and Ben Ellefson to make plays at the role -- along with Chris Manhertz and Luke Farrell.
Tebow has shown Meyer the potential to do it thus far. The next few weeks will determine if that potential can help him become the type of player he needs to be to make Meyer's first Jaguars' team.