But ultimately, the difference comes down to physical talent, and to an extent, the ego of those making decisions for teams.
Peter Schrager of FOXSports.com found an unnamed league source to take a shot at Tebow, which frankly isn’t all that hard.
But a quote with a name on it from a former scout may hold the real reason Russell’s getting another opportunity.
“There is some belief around scouting circles that you can maximize a person’s character — his attitude and work ethic, all that — with the right situation around him,” said Dan Hatman, a former NFL scout. “And when you look at Russell from a physical talent perspective, there was never a question about JaMarcus Russell. He can throw the football. With Tim, unfortunately, you’re talking about a different kind of arm.”
Tebow’s arm isn’t strong. But the backlash created by the surrounding circus might be the thing that’s keeping him out of the league at the moment. Fixing his mechanics would take time and energy. Apparently, some think fixing Russell’s attitude can be done by force of will.
To break out the broad brush, coaches don’t like being told what to do (such as playing a popular-but-flawed backup), but love few things better than out-smarting the other guys in the room.
And nothing would prove a coach’s acumen more than fixing the unfixable, which many assumed Russell was, and what he might still be.
We’ll find out later if the Bears think Russell can still be a viable NFL player, or whether they’ve just convinced themselves they’re the ones who can make it work.