Breaking Down Tim Tebow's Performance vs. Bengals, and Installation of Option

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IAugust 13, 2012

Aug 10, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) in action against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The stat line shows that quarterback Tim Tebow's New York Jets debut was a microcosm of his career, with the quarterback completing 50 percent of his passes (4-for-8) while throwing an interception, and rushing four times for 34 yards. Everything else besides the stat line was a bit different, from the lack of late-game theatrics to the way in which Tebow was utilized.

The most surprising sight of Friday night's game was Tebow taking a majority of his snaps from under center. According to the Star-Ledger, only two of Tebow's 21 snaps (in the second and third quarters) came in the shotgun.

That looks like it may be about to change going forward, with the Jets beginning their installation of the read-option offense as of Monday. But first, let's step back and take stock of what we saw out of Tebow in his first appearance in a Jets uniform.

The Star-Ledger's Jimmy Kempski brings us a blow-by-blow breakdown of Tebow's plays and drives. Here's a summary:

  • First drive: Tebow completed one easy throw to wide receiver Stephen Hill, scrambled twice for 24 yards, and didn't notice two wide-open receivers on a short-yardage third down.
  • Second drive: Jets go three-and-out with Hill dropping an easy catch on third down.
  • Third drive: The Jets run three straight times. The personal punt protector, not named Tebow, misses his block, resulting in a blocked punt which was recovered for a Bengals touchdown.
  • Fourth drive: Tebow took three knees to run out the clock for halftime.
  • Fifth drive: Tebow converted a 3rd-and-2 with a 10-yard run, but a poorly-thrown slant and a pair of bad reads marred this drive from a passing perspective. One of those bad reads was an interception thrown to Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

Kempski relayed his overarching thoughts on Tebow's performance, saying, "The biggest critique of Tebow in this game, from my perspective, is that he is holding onto the ball far too long. He needs to do a better job making his reads, trusting his reads, and firing."

In short, his performance against the Bengals was almost exactly what we've come to expect from Tebow. You can criticize his hit-or-miss passing, but you can't knock his impact on the running game, both when he has the ball and when he doesn't have it.

Enter the read-option.

"I think it could be a weapon," starting quarterback Mark Sanchez said of the read-option offense, according to the Star-Ledger. "You run it the right way like Coach Sparano will do, we can be explosive with it. We have some great athletes and we want to use all their talents."

The installation of the read-option offense (which comes as no surprise) should maximize Tebow's skill set in regard to his impact on the running game. 

Who knows if that will make the passing better—though it should, with Tebow obviously more comfortable taking shotgun snaps and making his reads from that formation as opposed to a pro-style offense—but it will definitely raise the level of intrigue, and will also increase the number of opportunities Tebow has to get on the field and make an impact.


Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates.