Tim Tebow More Helpful Than Hurtful to New York Jets' Offense?

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IAugust 15, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 10: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets looks to pass the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during a preseason NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 10, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Much has been made this offseason about the role of Tim Tebow in the New York Jets' offense. Too much, in fact. 

If you stay away from ESPN, a good portion of that discussion has been negative. While there are legitimate concerns about Tebow's presence on this football team, not everything he brings is going to be hurtful to the Jets in 2012. 

Below, we breakdown a couple of helpful assets Tebow can bring to the table this season.


The Wildcat

Most will say the Wildcat look has been figured out, that it's nothing more than a gimmick offense that had its day in the spotlight. Maybe that's true, maybe it isn't. 

But if there's one guy who can run it at this level, it's probably Tebow. Few players have as much experience, both at the collegiate and NFL levels, running a zone-read offense. 

Despite being rarely used league-wide since first appearing on the NFL scene, the Jets certainly don't feel like the offense is out of style, either. 

Head coach Rex Ryan defended the offense this week, via Rich Cimini of ESPN New York:

Guys, the Wildcat is tough to defend. . .Are we going to do it? Of course, at some point, we're going to do it. Some people think the Wildcat has come and gone. No, it hasn't. If anything, it's just the opposite.

Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington is also all for Tebow running the Wildcat at times with the Jets. Pennington witnessed firsthand while a member of the Miami Dolphins in 2008 that the offense can have a positive effect. 

Pennington, from the Associated Press via FOX Sports:

If the wildcat allows you to win and be more successful. . .you should be all for it as a player. . .obviously Tim adds another threat with the ability to do zone-read concepts as well as being able to throw the football, and that changes the defense's perspective. . .


The Rhythm Myth

One of the bigger arguments you'll hear against Tebow playing snaps in New York is the fact the starting quarterback Mark Sanchez will struggle to find a "rhythm." 

While offenses do want their quarterbacks to have that opportunity, Pennington doesn't believe it is as big a factor as many are cracking it up to be. 

Pennington's money quote from FOX Sports: 

I think that's selfish. . .If you think as a quarterback this game is solely about you, I think you're sadly mistaken. This is the greatest team game ever invented. For a quarterback to gripe about whether he's getting in rhythm or not . . . grab the football and make a play. That's what it's about.

In fact, Pennington had one of his best career passing seasons in 2008, when the Dolphins were occasionally sending him out wide in the Wildcat package. 

That season, Pennington threw 3,653 yards, 19 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He completed over 67 percent of his passes and had a passer rating of 97.1. 

Whether or not Sanchez progresses as an NFL quarterback will fall much more on his shoulders individually than it will whether or not the Jets pull him on certain plays to make way for the Wildcat. 


Boost to the Running Game

It will be interesting to see how many snaps Tebow receives in a typical game. But for the Jets, who have committed to going back more towards the ground-and-pound offense, Tebow should be beneficial to the run game. 

The Broncos led the NFL in rushing yards last season, in part because Tebow's limited passing skill forced Denver to focus on the run. But it was also because Tebow's unique abilities as a quarterback put a lot of pressure on defenses stopping the run. Denver rushed for 2,632 yards—almost 200 more than the next best team (Houston). 

Tebow should also be a big boost for the Jets in short-yardage situations, and especially inside the 20-yard line, where New York already plans on using the 6'3", 240-pound Tebow.

It's not a perfect system to remove your starting quarterback inside the red zone, but if Tebow can deliver more touchdowns in that area than what you've previously received, it's a positive. 


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