In what was one of the wackiest trades in the infancy of the 2012 NFL offseason, former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow was traded to the New York Jets and then brought back again before finally being traded to the Jets in exchange for a couple of draft picks.
The trade of Tebow was inevitable once star quarterback Peyton Manning signed to be the signal-caller in Denver next season. There were many teams in the running for Tebow's services, but few expected him to land with the New York Jets.
The Jets gave starting quarterback Mark Sanchez an extension this offseason after flirting with quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Chad Henne.
However, after the Jets dealt two picks for Tebow, it appears that Sanchez will indeed have competition this offseason. Sanchez is expected to win the competition, but Jets coaches will still have to work on Tebow's game.
One of the most talked-about flaws in Tebow's game is his elongated delivery, which starts off like many other quarterbacks in a pre-pass triangle setup. However, once he breaks this triangle to throw the ball, he drops it to his hip and has a long loop before breaking it up and over his shoulder.
This is indeed a flaw in his game, although I don't think it's as big of one as many suggest.
Tebow's biggest issue is developing as a progression passer and improving his footwork. These two aspects of his game are intertwined, as the dropback matches the routes and reads that are being made.
He's improved in both phases of the game, going from a one-read quarterback to manipulating the safety with his eyes. This was noticeable against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs, when he made several big passes to help pull an upset over the favored Black and Yellow.
One play that summed it all up for Tebow was his 40-yard strike down the seam to tight end Daniel Fells. This play showcased Tebow's mobility and arm strength, which are his strengths, and his improved manipulation of the opposition.
With just a little over four minutes left in the second quarter, the Broncos came out with 13 personnel on 2nd-and-7. The offensive package featured a single back in the backfield with three total tight ends lined up on the strong side.
Tebow was under center, identified there was a single high safety deep, which would prove to be a big part of this play, and was ready to execute a boot action to his left.
At the snap of the ball, the Steelers defense went with the flow of the back to the right and saw themselves vulnerable to the play-side, where Tebow was rolling out. To the left, Tebow rolled out and started going through his reads.
The first read was wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who ran a deep comeback to his left. Then Tebow followed Dante Rosario coming underneath before he finally got to his third read, Daniel Fells on the back side of the play.
Fells was running a shallow cross in the middle of the field, and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu appeared to have seen it but was focusing on Tebow, who was still going through his first two reads. Polamalu saw this and attacked downhill, which would leave a gaping hole in the middle of the field.
As soon as Polamalu vacated the middle of the field, Tebow shifted his eyes to his third read, Fells, who converted his shallow cross option route to a seam pattern up through the interior of the secondary, which would ultimately lead to a 40-yard hookup between Fells and Tebow.
This deep shot by Tebow showed off the strengths of his game: his accuracy on the move, mobility, arm strength and improvement as a passer. It is what the Jets coaching staff will have to continue to build on whether he's crowned starter or not.
If he's not, there's a possible chance that we see Tebow involved in option packages, like he was in Denver. One possible package is known as the Wildcat, a power running game that features jet-sweep action from a motioning tailback or receiver and hat-on-hat blocking.
The Jets were known for their Wildcat prowess with former wide receiver Brad Smith, but he left for the Bills and the package didn't have the same success this past season.
With the help of Tebow and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, whose term in Miami was most known for the shocking unveiling of the Wildcat package against the Patriots en route to five total touchdowns from then-Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown.
Sparano implemented the package in Miami under the teachings of David Lee, who was on the staff as a quarterbacks coach. Lee, who came from the University of Arkansas, had great success with the Wildcat when he had running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones carrying the rock.
Both of those running backs were dynamic in the Wildcat and posed many problems, which is what the Jets will hope to do when they introduce Tebow in it to the rest of the league.
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