But that's not a good enough reason to move a starting-caliber quarterback to running back. And if the Jets do—and then Sanchez gets hurt—they're going to have some serious problems.
According to Newsday's Kimberley A. Martin, there has been chatter about whether it makes sense for Tebow to move to running back, most notably coming from Merril Hoge. The question makes some sense: Tebow is, after all, at his best on the run.
Hoge aired his opinions on ESPN, transcribed by Martin:
With Tim Tebow, I know they are going to pull out the Wildcat, but right now they need power football. Move him to running back, establish that. … He is big and strong and powerful. His heart is a 10. I think he is a guy who is going to get some carries.
It's clear that the Jets have had offensive woes this preseason. That's an understatement. Sanchez and Tebow haven't been particularly effective at quarterback in any of the Jets' three losses in which they've managed to put up just 21 total points.
But moving Tebow to the backfield isn't going to change that. It might be a short-term boost to the run game, but in the long run, it has the potential to do far more harm than good.
Moving Tebow is not the answer for this Jets offense for two reasons: Sanchez could either get hurt or play terribly.
There's a lot of pressure on Sanchez to be excellent with Tebow breathing down his neck, but even so, Jets head coach Rex Ryan hasn't indicated that his starting QB will be replaced, even if he's awful out of the gate.
It's hard to believe that if Sanchez is terrible in the early going and the Jets start off the season 0-4 or 0-5, Ryan will just stick with a quarterback who's clearly ineffective. It would be difficult to justify that decision, but for now, we'll take Ryan at his word.
What Ryan did admit is this: If Sanchez happened to suffer a season-ending injury, Tebow would "expand his role," according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
There's Greg McElroy and there's Matt Simms, but Ryan seemed to indicate that in the event of injury, Tebow would be the guy, according to Mehta. And switching a player from quarterback to running back and back to quarterback—all in such a short period of time—isn't going to do any player any favors. Especially if that player is in the midst of his first season with the team and only his third professional season.
Moving Tebow to running back is going to mess with his development; the Jets know that. And judging by this preseason, Tebow is still quite obviously developing as a quarterback.
He still has a lot of work to do before he's ready to take over with success, and you have to believe that someday, at some juncture, he will take over—for some team. A player of Tebow's caliber isn't going to spend his career as a Wildcat specialist and as Mark Sanchez's backup.
All the more reason why it doesn't make sense to switch his position.
And let's say Tebow doesn't work out with the Jets; let's say the Jets have to trade him, either midway through this year, or at some later date. There are going to be teams that need quarterbacks later in the season, and Tebow could step in for many teams, just like he stepped in for the Broncos last year.
But if the Jets make him a running back and then turn around and try to trade him in the near future, he immediately becomes a much riskier acquisition than he would be if he just stuck with his natural position.
Any way you look at it, turning Tebow into a running back is far riskier than it is rewarding. He could get hurt. Sanchez could get hurt, and then there would be no Tebow to replace him. It would be harder to move him, should the Jets have to do so.
For now—regardless of how much we'd like to see what Tebow can do at running back—it just doesn't make sense.
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