How the New York Jets Can Best Help Tim Tebow Play to His Strengths
If the New York Jets continue having major issues with pass-protection, Mark Sanchez is going to have a tough time winning games. It's a shame, too, because the team is strong defensively and is capable of becoming a dominant unit in 2012.
If the passing game can't convert third downs and is rendered incompetent—as has been the case thus far in the preseason—the defense will spend too much time on the field. If the defense gets tired, teams will wear it down late in games.
Even the best brick walls can't stand up to repeated blows from a sledgehammer.
If this nightmare of a scenario becomes reality for the Jets early on in 2012, the team's best option at quarterback will be Tebow, and here is what Tony Sparano needs to do should the need arise.
Tebow should never, ever be allowed to operate from directly behind center...unless, of course, he's handing the ball off to a running back. He doesn't see the field well as it is, and making him concentrate on his footwork while he's trying to go through his progressions sets him up to fail.
Getting him in the shotgun allows Tebow to see more of the field initially, and if Sparano keeps things simple for him he can actually make some nice plays in the passing game.
KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) and Take Shots Downfield
Tebow needs a simplified playbook in the passing game.
If he's forced to go through more than two or three reads, he loses consciousness and forgets what he was doing. Sometimes this triggers surprising successes, but more often than not these are the plays that end up looking like a bad accident.
Tebow just isn't a pocket passer, and the less you treat him like one the better it's going to be for the entire offense.
That said, Tebow has an uncanny ability to hit the deep pass on occasion, and the speed of rookie Stephen Hill shouldn't be wasted. Sparano needs to take at least five-to-ten shots downfield when Tebow's in the game.
Establish the Run, and Don't Let Tebow Throw More Than 20 Times
Establishing a running game is all about attitude. That should be no problem for a Rex Ryan-led team, but the running game was notably absent in 2011. The team finished the season ranked 22nd in the NFL in yards and 30th in yards per attempt.
In fact, while I'm on the subject, this team needs to start running the ball more often and more effectively no matter who's behind center...but, I digress.
Tebow needs defenses to be geared up for the run in order to be effective as a passer. Once defenses start dedicating eight and nine defenders to stop the run, receivers inevitably find themselves wide open at some point—so wide open, in fact, that even Tebow can't miss (most of the time).
A good ratio when Tebow is in the game is 35-to-65, with the running game getting the 65 percent.
Will the Jets Call on Tebow at any point in place of Mark Sanchez?
A Tebow-led offense is only as effective as the team's rushing attack. If he's forced to sit back and throw the ball, nine times out of 10 he's going to fail miserably.
Last season with the Denver Broncos when Tebow was asked to throw the ball more than 20 times per game, he completed 82-of-200 passes (41 percent) for 1,132 yards (5.66 yards per attempt) with seven touchdowns and six interceptions.
Tebow didn't throw a single interception in any games that he attempted 20 passes or less.
If I were Sparano, though, I'd make it really simple and just use the same playbook Urban Meyer did at Florida...
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