The New England Patriots arrive on the schedule for a Sunday afternoon divisional matchup.
For those incredulous at the strength of this year’s Patriots, please throw their 3-3 record out the door; they’re fully legitimate through and through. If not for an unbelievable missed field goal by the near-perfect Stephen Gostkowski and blown call on a Ravens FG the next week, New England would sport a 5-1 record.
Also remember that losing in the toughest road environment—a la Seattle’s CenturyLink Field—is a phenomenon that many teams will experience this year.
We take the time giving the Patriots their due merits because the Jets, quite frankly, are without many to speak of.
Unlike the Pats, their .500 mark is entirely misleading in the other direction. Beating the supremely unimpressive Bills and rushing their way to victory against the Colts’ 29th-ranked run defense aren’t accolades worth mentioning.
Neither is Mark Sanchez’s No. 31 passer rating or league-worst completion percentage of 49.7.
(Worry not—this is not a Jets’ bashing article by any means; it merely introduces a potential game plan.)
Thus, enter Tim Tebow.
Without getting too much into the winning attributes of the most famous backup in NFL history, Tebow can run a particular offensive system quite well. And that would be the shotgun-spread, up-tempo offense that suits his style to a T.
This is not the read-option or pistol formations that you see Cam Newton or RGIII execute from time to time. Those are superior athletes that have the speed to outrun entire defenses.
Tebow, rather, runs an up-tempo system that spreads the defense out wide and gives him the option to power-run underneath or launch it downfield to a streaking receiver.
Unbeknownst to many—or to those who refuse to accept it—Tebow actually possesses a big arm that throws an accurate deep ball. He compiled an 85.3 rating when throwing 20-plus yards down the field in 2011.
And for those who don’t recall, he hit Jason Hill square in the hands deep down the left side of the field against the Texans for his one and only pass. Hill subsequently had one of the more embarrassing drops the NFL has seen in some time.
Bringing this back full circle, Tebow is indeed the perfect weapon against Bill Belichick’s Patriots.
The Pats rank No.6 against the run this year and No. 28 in passing defense. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of his team, Belichick—presumably so—will prepare for Rex Ryan to implement a pass-first attack.
That would entail Sanchez starting at QB—because we all know Tebow can’t throw and that Sanchez is unsurpassed in his accuracy.
Ryan should start Sanchez for the first couple of series, spot New England a touchdown—as Sanchez will undoubtedly fail to accomplish this for his own team—and then allow Tebow to work his magic in comeback fashion.
Sarcasm aside, I introduce this seemingly asinine strategy, because knowing Ryan, he’ll give Tebow a mere two or three plays on offense—not allowing him to establish any rhythm—and relegate him to punt protector for the majority. He’ll just watch as Sanchez pulls one of his sub-100-yard or sub-50 QBR performances.
If basic logic was employed, the head coach would use Tebow to attack the defensive backs over top. The Patriots have a glaring weakness in the secondary; the Jets need to exploit it.
Plus, if they establish a downfield aerial attack, it’ll open up things for Tebow and—heaven forbid—Shonn Greene to knife their way through the defense underneath. It will force the Pats to keep extra defenders out of the box.
The Jets’ depleted and unfortunate receiving corps may not be up to the task, but they must try in order to take down such a superior team on the road.
Will all of this happen?
Most likely not, but the potentially effective strategy remains nonetheless.
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