Tim Tebow: Time Is Now for Jets to Make Controversial QB the Starter

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 14:  Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets runs from the field against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium on October 14, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Ever since the New York Jets made the controversial trade to bring in Tim Tebow, speculation has run rampant on when, if ever, he would become the team's starter.

If the Jets are smart, the time should be now.

Yes, Mark Sanchez just inked a rather lucrative contract extension. Yes, Sanchez may be a better passer than Tebow. But Sanchez has also led the team to a 1-4 record in the last five games and has rarely looked mediocre as a quarterback this season.

Coming off of the bye week with a tough matchup on the road against Seattle, the Jets are in a position where they desperately need to shake things up.

A switch at the quarterback position would do just that. 

Here's why now is the time for the Jets to turn the reigns over to Tebow for the season.

Nothing to Lose

Looking at things realistically, the Jets are in a hole that will be extremely difficult to pull themselves out of. At 3-5, they are tied for last in the AFC East and have the least momentum of any team that is still considered to be in the hunt for a wild-card berth.

After giving the Patriots all they could handle in a 29-26 overtime loss, a 30-9 loss to the Dolphins was demoralizing heading into the bye week.

As if the Jets haven't had a difficult enough schedule to manage, five of the final eight games will be played on the road this season. Simply put, the Jets chances of making the playoffs look pretty slim right now. 

So why not roll the dice on a new quarterback?

Last season, the Broncos found themselves in the same situation. A 1-4 start to the season caused fans and analysts alike to write off Denver as one of the worst teams in the league. The Broncos made a dedicated switch to Tebow as the starter over the bye week and proceeded to win seven of their next eight on the way to the playoffs.

To say that Tebow can have a similar effect on the Jets this year may be a stretch.

The Broncos defense was a huge reason they won a lot of those games, and the Jets have a much more difficult road ahead than Denver did. 

However, at this point the Jets have nothing to lose.

Sanchez has shown what he can do with the offense, now is the time to see what Tebow can do.

Better Offensive Fit

Part of what made the Broncos offense effective last season was the fact that they were different. 

In the NFL, there are subtle differences in each offense, but a majority of NFL offenses are the same essential build. The formations and plays are essentially the same, with personnel being the primary difference.

The Broncos, however, were running what basically amounted to a college offense. Granted, it was basically a gimmick, but a gimmick that worked.

This doesn't mean that the Jets need to go full-on option like the Broncos did for much of the season last year, but it does mean that a bit of an offensive overhaul would give the Jets a schematic advantage that they don't currently hold. 

Rex Ryan talks all the time about being a smashmouth, ground and pound football team. He'd have the perfect opportunity to live up to those words by installing a more run heavy offense with Tebow at quarterback.

Tebow is definitely a superior athlete to Sanchez. The only advantage that Sanchez has on Tebow is a much better throwing motion and arm.

An advantage that he really hasn't showcased. 

Tebow isn't the most accurate passer but Sanchez isn't exactly Joe Montana either—he has four games this season where he failed to complete even half of his passes.

By replacing Sanchez with Tebow, the Jets would be gaining the added dimension of a runner at quarterback without sacrificing too much in the passing game.

To Evaluate

Regardless of what happens this season, the Jets have a decision to make at the quarterback position in the offseason.

They just re-signed Sanchez to a somewhat lucrative extension, but he has looked like anything but the franchise quarterback he was expected to become when they drafted him. 

If the Jets are smart, they'll want to evaluate all of their options when it comes to the position for the 2013 season. That should include a good look at whether or not they believe that Tebow can become a quality starter in the NFL.

Obviously if they didn't at least have some belief in him they wouldn't have traded for him in the first place. Because he's such a polarizing athlete, the front office knew that they would be taking a big risk by trading for him.

And they did it anyway.

With several highly touted quarterbacks coming out of college and the potential for some big names to hit free agency, the Jets should look within before evaluating outside options. That means that Tebow should get a look as the in-game quarterback with the whole playbook at his disposal.

To this point, Tebow has been used as a player in the wildcat package but never as the actual quarterback. The Jets owe it to themselves to allow him the opportunity to show he can lead the team.

If he fails, the Jets know that they can move on.

If he succeeds, they've either found their answer or created a very nice trade chip for the offseason.

Starting Tebow now is a win-win situation for the Jets.


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