Tim Tebow: Why the New York Jets' Backup Will Be Non-Factor Against the Patriots

Stephen Sheehan@@StephenPSheehanCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2012

Tim Tebow won't play a major role against the Patriots this Sunday.
Tim Tebow won't play a major role against the Patriots this Sunday.Nick Laham/Getty Images

Anyone hoping for a healthy dose of Tim Tebow this weekend needs a reality check.

Just as he has been through six games, the league's most popular backup will be a non-factor as the New York Jets take on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium this Sunday.

Despite Mark Sanchez's continuing struggles, Tebow has been relegated to punt protector and glorified running back during the Jets' 3-3 start. 

After putting on even more muscle in the offseason, the 6'3", 236-pound media lightning rod has rushed for a mere 64 yards on 18 carries and completed just two passes, while accounting for zero touchdowns.

As the Jets travel to Foxborough to take on the maddeningly inconsistent Patriots, some would expect Rex Ryan to throw everything he has got at Bill Belichick

Unfortunately for Tebow, he won't be a part of the game plan. 

Even after devoting several draft picks and a solid chunk of money in free agency to upgrading their defense, the Patriots still struggle mightily to stop the pass. 

New England's annually disappointing secondary is surrendering 289 passing yards per game, which ranks 28th in the league. 

Fortunately for Belichick, the run defense has been superb.

Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes lead an aggressive front seven that's allowing just 82.7 rushing yards per game. 

With the Jets failing to live up to their ground-and-pound mantra, Tebow simply isn't useful in this matchup. 

While the former first-round pick is certainly a rare person, he's not a rare athlete. 

Sure, it's unusual to see a lefty "quarterback" who checks in at a rock-solid 6'3", 236 pounds and can run a 4.7 40-yard dash, but Tebow simply isn't Michael Vick or Robert Griffin III as a running threat.

The third-year pro has averaged a solid 5.2 yards per carry during his career, but that mark has dropped to just 3.6 in his first year with the Jets. 

During his impressive 2011 run with Denver, the former Gator benefited from playing in an offense tailored to his strengths, and he had the option of handing the ball off to Willis McGahee—a very solid veteran back. 

Coupled with young receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, Tebow had a few explosive options in the passing game to complement the Broncos' excellent rushing attack. 

In New York, he not only doesn't have the starting job, he doesn't have those weapons. 

Shonn Greene, Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell are average NFL talents who have yet to grasp the opportunities afforded to them in New York's run-first offense. 

With Santonio Holmes sidelined, the Jets have one of the league's worst receiving corps, which certainly doesn't help Sanchez's case, either.

If New York has any hope of taking down the perennial AFC East champs, it's still going to have to try to attack New England's biggest weakness—the secondary. 

Sanchez is by no means a Pro Bowl quarterback, but he's still a better thrower than Tebow. 

The No. 5 overall pick in '09 had his best performance of the year against the Indianapolis Colts last week, throwing for two touchdowns and no interceptions. 

Although he has struggled at times against the Patriots, Sanchez has also played very well against Belichick's squad.

In a Week 2 win over the Pats in 2010, Sanchez completed 70 percent of his passes for three touchdowns. He also managed to put up a 105.6 rating against New England in a Week 5 loss last season. 

Tebow's track record against Belichick is far worse.

In two starts against the Patriots last season, including the playoffs, he completed just 20 passes for 330 yards and no passing touchdowns. 

After Sanchez showed some improvement against Indy, there's no way the Jets can take the ball out of his hands Sunday. 

Until Sanchez flops for good (which could still happen this season), Tebow will continue to sit on the sidelines and be a non-factor. 

Enjoy the trip to Gillette, Tim. 


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