The Tim Tebow Wildcat Experiment is about to begin. Don't be surprised if the results barely register as relevant.
For all the talk about this new Wildcat the New York Jets will run, I believe the Jets would prefer to use it only sparingly. Why, you may be asking?
I think the Jets are hoping they can give teams something else to game plan for—and I believe it will be a very effective tool inside the five-yard line—but I think Rex Ryan would be much happier if Mark Sanchez and the offense could generate plenty of points without Tebow.
If the Jets don't have to rely on the Wildcat to generate offense, there will be no clamoring halfway through the season for Tebow to become the quarterback. If Sanchez and the offense can consistently move down the field and the Wildcat is nothing but a change of pace, there will be no unwanted controversies this season.
During ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, Sal Paolantonio noted that people behind the scens with the Jets were hoping Sanchez could lead the team to a score before Tebow even saw the field in the Wildcat. Why get a controversy started before Sanchez even leads the team to a touchdown?
But on Sunday in particular, it's not as though the matchup is all that easy. The Buffalo Bills should have one of the best defensive lines in football this season, and while they weren't very good against the run last season, the additions of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson should make the going tough for the Jets.
And when Tebow is on the field, the Bills aren't going to exactly be shaking in their boots about the threat of the pass. For all of the secrecy surrounding the Jets usage of the formation and "extra game-planning" teams playing them will need to undertake, there is always the possibility that the Jets will simply be predictable when Tebow is in the game.
How often do you think the Jets will play Tebow in the Wildcat and actually pass the ball? Will the Jets let him air it out if defenses stack the box every time he enters the game? And is it really a good idea to let Tebow air it out when the Jets already have a starting quarterback in place?
For all of the hype surrounding Tebow on the Jets, the fact remains that the Wildcat is nothing more than a change of pace teams occasionally incorporate nowadays. It's no longer a novel idea or a wrinkle that gives defensive coordinators a headache. It's a gimmick, pure and simple.
How effective will Tim Tebow on the Wildcat be on Sunday?
So no, I don't think Tebow's debut will be anything special. Yes, I think we'll spend far more time talking about it than it will actually factor into the game. And no, I don't think Sanchez will ever feel safe this season.
Think of the Jets as a soap opera, and Tebow is that occasionally recurring character that isn't really important to the plot but everyone always ends up talking about anyway. Or think of the Jets as a sitcom, and Tebow is Lil' Sebastian.
When it comes to Tebow, I guess I'm Ben Wyatt—I just don't get what all the fuss is about (and if you're not getting these references, you really should be watching Parks and Recreation).
Tebow and the Jets will run the Wildcat on Sunday afternoon. And in the end, it won't really matter at all.
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