Jets vs. Steelers: Tale of Two Offenses (and Why It's Crazy Not to Use Both)
I'm on the record stating that I think Tim Tebow, the polarizing backup quarterback for the New York Jets, is a below-average quarterback. This is the second article I've written about Tebow, and some may wonder why I'm devoting any more time to this than has already been devoted. The answer is simple: The situations that surround Tebow are fascinating.
On Sunday, the Jets took on the Steelers in the Steel City. In spite of last week's successes, the starting quarterback for the Jets (and deservedly so), Mark Sanchez, looked embarrassing. Now I'm not going to knock his performance because the numbers do that for me. The reality is that everyone has a bad day, and maybe this was just Sanchez's bad day. It's not that big a deal with the perspective of a 16-game season hanging overhead.
The interesting thing was that in the second half, Tebow was called upon to spark the offense with the unconventional wildcat offense. Tebow took the first snap for a 22-yard run up the middle and handed the second one off out of the option for a nine-yard gain. The third play went for negative six yards. Then, Tebow's day was over (minus some special teams action).
At that point, the Jets offense had proven to be woefully ineffective, and it seemed that Tebow at least could bring the Jets back from the dead for a bit. But then the Jets pulled Tebow and put him back into his game-long hibernation (you know, since he's as big as a bear).
I'm not saying that Tebow should be the starter. In fact, I think he should be the backup. But he does provide an interesting situation as a backup. If Sanchez and the offense aren't clicking, whether it be Sanchez's fault or just the offense as a whole, Tebow can come in and literally change the entire mindset of the opposing defensive coordinator. That's why he's an interesting backup. This isn't going from Drew Brees to Chase Daniels, where the offense is going to be the same from one to the other. It's an entirely different offense with Tebow under center.
Should the Jets use the Tebow-led Wildcat if the Sanchez-led pro style is continually ineffective in a game?
There have been many reports that the Jets have been coddling Sanchez since he arrived in the NFL. Although I have no idea whether that is true or not, putting Sanchez back into the game after Tebow provided a spark, sure looked like the Jets are coddling Sanchez.
So this is where I see the problem: Tebow is the backup as he should be, and Sanchez is the starter as he should be, but if the prototypical offense isn't working, and the Tebow offense is working, the Jets can't dismiss it just because they don't want the media or Mark Sanchez to think that a good game by Tebow is going to mean a depth chart change.
In the end it's a simple discussion and it's not about the depth chart, it's about winning games. There are always going to be bad days by pro players, and the Jets have a unique situation because they have two offensive sets that they can utilize so that if one isn't working, they have a practiced secondary solution that a defense may not be ready for. There isn't another NFL team that has that option.
Tebow may be gimmicky and not ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL at this point in his young career, but that doesn't mean he can't be effective—just ask the Mike Tomlin.
In conclusion, I'll leave you with this thought: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different conclusion. Some NFL teams may look a little insane at times because they have only one offense to run, and they're going to run it come hell or high water.
The Jets are in a different situation, and on Sunday they chose to do the same thing over and over again in spite of having a different option that worked when it was utilized. In my opinion, that's a little worse than insanity.
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