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A Blueprint for the New York Jets to Get Bang for the Buck with Tim Tebow

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jest prepares to play the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images
Erik FrenzSenior Writer ISeptember 25, 2012

Why did the New York Jets trade for Tim Tebow?

This is the question we have asked repeatedly since March 20, 2012. Yet here we stand, three weeks into the season, and while we have begun to see examples of how he will be used in the offense, we still don't really know why the Jets pulled off the trade.

They hardly use him, and the fact of the matter is, people will continue to question this trade until that changes. There are effective ways to use him, and we've seen them on the field.

But what are they?

According to Pro Football Focus, Tebow has played 25 offensive snaps through the first three weeks of the season (12 percent of the team's total snaps).

Just like when Tebow is the starting quarterback, his success in the backup role has come one play at a time, with long strings of ineffective play preceding and following any success he experiences. Of his 33 rushing yards, 22 came on one play against the Steelers. I'm not great at math, but the other seven rushes have gained 11 total yards.

That's mighty ineffective, and far too ineffective to warrant consistent consideration in the offense.

We talk a lot about how much taking Mark Sanchez out and putting Tebow in at quarterback messes with Sanchez's rhythm, but the unspoken element is that Tebow is expected to produce positive plays without any rhythm, without having seen the defense from the quarterback's perspective, coming in colder than the Arctic and then going right back to the bench.

No wonder he's been ineffective in the offense.

Coming in off the bench hasn't helped his cause, but a lot of the plays just haven't been blocked very well by the Jets' offensive line. It's no surprise that the one big play he's had was a well-blocked play.

The option offense is all about winning the numbers game. In the box, it was six-on-six. Tebow's read on the play was linebacker Lawrence Timmons (circled in orange), who read the play as a handoff to running back Shonn Greene at the mesh point (circled in yellow).

Once Timmons was out of the play, Tebow takes off with the ball and is able to get through the second level of the defense because the Jets are winning the numbers game—and also because Tebow read the hole very well.

So, that's an example of Tebow being effective in the offense, but again, there are too many examples of him being ineffective to recap them all here. The Jets need to win the battle up front, make good reads on the option plays and win the numbers game up front if they want him to be more effective.

The 22-yard scramble was the longest play, but the fake punt on 4th-and-3 in the second quarter was arguably the most important play he has contributed to since joining the team. It was unarguably the spark New York needed to finally get on the board with some points against the Dolphins, as the drive ultimately ended in a field goal.

Heck, it wasn't even a very well-blocked play, but the Dolphins were caught at least a little off guard and because Tebow is a hard-nosed runner, he was able to weed his way through the garbage and pick up the first down.

Rich Gannon echoed the sentiment that the element of surprise is what is most beneficial about having Tebow on your side.

This is the benefit of having Tim Tebow in there as a personal protector. He can throw it from this formation [and] he can run it. Really gutsy call there, backed up [against] their own end zone.

There are four words in there that ring hollow to Jets followers three games into the season: "He can throw it."

Those words ring hollow because we have not yet seen this "throw" of which Gannon speaks—at least not in a Jets uniform.

Tebow is a quarterback, so why not let him throw the ball? The end result couldn't be much worse than asking him to catch one

At this point, it's been so long since he's thrown a real live NFL pass, it wouldn't shock me if he was losing his touch—what little touch he had—but it's a yet-untapped element of Tebow's game for Gang Green.

The Jets have successfully lulled their opponents to sleep with the proverbial "jab" of Tebow running the ball. Now, it's time to swing for the fences with an "uppercut" in the form of a pass that could be a fight-changing blow at any given point.

 

Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.

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