4 Statistics Tim Tebow Will Impact, for Better or Worse, for New York Jets

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IAugust 21, 2012

Aug 18, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow warms up before the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

Ultimately, the most important impact Tim Tebow will have on the New York Jets will come between the sidelines.

And rest assured, he'll have an impact, for better or worse.

Say what you will about whether the Jets were wise or foolish to bring in Tebow. Go on your soliloquy about how it hurts Mark Sanchez's confidence to have a capable backup breathing down his neck, forcing him to perform at a high level week-in and week-out.

But whether he's having an impact in that regard or not, we'll never know. These are the only real things we can point to.


Completion Percentage—Worse

For better or worse, right?

Well, Tebow's 46.5 completion percentage was the worst among starting quarterbacks in 2011. Accuracy is a knock on Mark Sanchez's game, but Tebow completed 10.2-percent less passes than Sanchez.

It also hasn't helped that Tebow's trademark inaccuracy has been on full display in the team's first two preseason games, especially against the Giants on Saturday night. Through two games, he is 9-of-22 passing (40.9 percent). If Tebow plays any sort of role in the passing game, the Jets' completion-percentage figures to suffer for it.

And if passes like this are any indication, things haven't changed at all from last season. Let's just hope he doesn't take out one of the Flight Girls in the process.


Yards Per Carry—Better

Say what you will about Tebow as a passer, but he can run. He's always a threat to take off with the football, whether it's a designed run play, a pass play where protection breaks down or a play where he simply can't find an open man.

The Jets have been a run-heavy team in the past, so what better way to bolster the running game than with one of the best running quarterbacks in the game?

Whether you call it the read-option (right) or the Wildcat (wrong), Tebow adds an explosive element to the offensive formation that took the NFL by storm back in 2008 under then-Dolphins head coach, now-Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. This is the first time Sparano has had a capable passing and running quarterback as an option to take the direct snap.

Thus far in the preseason, Tebow has picked up 39 yards on six carries (6.5 yards-per-carry average), while the Jets as a team have averaged just 3.5 yards per carry. It's still early, but if there's one way Tebow can add to this offense, it's in the running game.


Red-Zone Percentage—Worse

If Tebow is supposed to help the Jets in the red zone, why were the Denver Broncos one of the worst teams in red-zone percentage in 2011 while the Jets were one of the best?

Take your time answering that, I'll wait.

The logic makes sense. He strengthens the running game and has the ability to hit short throws, but those windows are smaller inside the 20. Tebow's completion percentage dips lower than his season average inside the red zone, where he completes just 43.3 percent of his passes. The same holds true for Mark Sanchez, who completed just 50 percent of his red-zone throws, but Sanchez had a red-zone passer rating of 86.1 in 2011 compared to Tebow's 65.4.

Statistically, the Jets were just fine in the red zone last year. Granted, they lost wide receiver Plaxico Burress as a free agent, but they added Chaz Schilens (6'4", 225 pounds) and Stephen Hill (6'4", 215 pounds) to give them a few bigger, more imposing threats to throw the ball up to.

From an overall standpoint, Tebow scored nine touchdowns on 42 plays with the ball in his hands inside the red zone (21.4 percent), while Sanchez scored 27 touchdowns on 94 such plays (28.7 percent). Sanchez was among the best in the league in the red zone in 2011, throwing more touchdowns than Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger.

So remind me why the Jets should pull Sanchez in the red zone. Still waiting.


Rushing Touchdowns—Better

That bit about Tebow not improving the team in the red zone needs an addendum, so here it is.

In the passing game, no shot. In the running game, the Jets' two quarterbacks each had as many touchdowns in 2011 as running back Shonn Greene did. So there's an opening. And we know what Tebow does when there's an opening in the running game. On 16 red-zone rushes, Tebow racked up six touchdowns and six first downs. That's crazy efficiency.

And the Jets have firsthand knowledge of what Tebow can do in the red zone.

Anyone remember...

That being said, to put Tebow in for rushing situations and Sanchez for passing situations would be as much of a "tell" as my uncontrollable smirk when I have a good hand in poker.

The Jets have to be wise with how they use Tebow. Not because of Sanchez's confidence—although that's certainly as good a reason as any—but because of how easy they could make themselves to defend. 


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.


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