Tony Sparano doesn’t get it.
Tim Tebow is a winner, but if he isn’t properly utilized, he’ll stop the New York Jets from winning. Right now, Sparano’s use of Tebow has been anything but precise. If the signal-caller fails to orchestrate the offensive weapon into his game plan correctly, New York won’t reach its potential.
And Sparano’s use of Tebow played its part in holding the offense back—surprise, surprise.
In the third quarter of a tied ballgame, New York held the football, 2nd-and-goal, on the Dolphins’ two-yard line. Tebow entered the contest to bulldoze his way into the end zone, only to get tackled five yards behind the line of scrimmage. So instead of a 3rd-and-goal from the two, Sanchez was forced to dig the Jets out of the seven-yard hole that Tebow dug.
And then this happened.
Now, should Tebow be blamed for a poor pass by Sanchez? No, but his pitiful rushing attempt the previously play without a doubt made Sanchez’s job that much harder. And that wasn’t Tebow’s only gaffe of the game.
The next drive, Sparano sent Tebow onto the field as a receiver. On 3rd-and-3, Tebow ran a speed out, Sanchez threw it to him and No. 15 showed why he isn’t No. 85.
I dare someone to tell me Tebow is a better pass-catching option than Plaxico Burress and Terrell Owens. Please—Tebow at receiver is a joke. If Sanchez’s arsenal is thin, sign an actual wideout. (I know, it’s a mind-blowing phenomenon.)
But this, ladies and gentlemen, is how you use Tebow.
By inserting Tebow into the game as a wildcat back, he hurts the offense.
Using him as a pure runner is moronic—Tebow isn’t an elite running back. That’s not why he’s an asset. He’s an asset because he’s a better passer than everyone who’s as talented a rusher as him (minus Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton).
For him to actually be effective, Sparano must mix it up—run half the time and pass half, which isn’t what he’s doing right now. New York must throw Tebow on the field only when he adds something to their attack.
Mike Westoff got it right.
By inserting Tebow into the game as a personal protector, New York’s punt team features a threat that no other unit in the NFL boasts. On top of the fact that he's a capable protector, return teams must always be aware of him not only running for a first down, but passing for one. And those are two things he does better than every other personal protector in the league.
Sparano, like Westoff, must use Tebow’s unique skill set to add a new element to the Jets offense. Taking Sanchez out from under center for a Tebow run that everyone knows is coming isn’t a new element—it’s relief to the defense.
How does Sparano utilize Tebow without ruining Sanchez’s rhythm? I honestly couldn’t tell you, but I’m not getting paid six digits to devise an NFL game plan. Sparano is, and if he fails to fix the Jets offense, he should be the scapegoat in New York—not Ryan.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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