The Jets gave us our answer to that months ago, but 10 weeks into the regular season, we're still wondering.
Head coach Rex Ryan went to bat at a press conference on Wednesday to answer that question and answer the unnamed sources that came out in criticism of the backup quarterback to the New York Daily News.
We've seen Tebow line up in the read option, as the personal punt protector, in the red zone and even at running back. With all that, though, his impact on the team remains minimal.
The overarching theme of the Tebow trade is that while the Jets didn't give up much to get him, the return they've gotten in production on the football field has not warranted the trouble it has caused.
Here's some ready-made footage, courtesy NFL.com:
Here is a link to the full video, but here are the quotes that jumped out at me on the first watch, along with my rapid reaction:
I think this might be the best net punting we've ever had here. And a lot of that can be attributed to having Tebow as your personal protector, and the reason I say that is we're getting single fliers outside, so you're getting a lot of one-on-one opportunities on the outside.
Net punting average is the best it's ever been with Tebow as the personal protector. No wonder this trade has been such a success.
He's right; the Jets have had more success punting than they have in recent years. On that level, Tebow has been a success.
What gets missed here, though, is that the offense is struggling among the worst in the league, and Tebow was the biggest offseason acquisition on that side of the ball. He has done nothing to help the offense, save for a few swing passes to Jeremy Kerley.
In fact, how little Tebow has been used has begged the question of whether Rex even wants Tebow there in the first place.
I absolutely wanted Tim here, and the reason I say that are for the things we've talked about since we [brought him in]. ...I think he gives you an opportunity, that if a team maybe isn't ready to handle it, you can do some things with him.
...The personal protector thing is, I knew that would give us an edge. And that's what we're looking to do. Not just having a back-up quarterback, but being able to do other things and contribute in other ways, and I think he's contributed more than probably any other backup quarterback in this league because of his unique skill sets.
He's right. The Jets have used Tebow exactly how they said they would since the beginning:
- Wildcat: check
- personal punt protector: check
- backup quarterback: check
- red zone: check
The problem isn't that, it's how much they use him. The Jets must feel like teams are very, very ready to handle it because they've only used him on 65 out of 607 offensive snaps this year (10.7 percent, per ProFootballFocus.com).
Again, we get back to the overarching theme: What the Jets have gotten out of him doesn't justify introducing so much chaos to the team by bringing in Tebow.
Besides, even if Rex didn't want Tebow, would he come out against his owner to say that? Surely, if it wasn't Rex, it was Woody Johnson who wanted him. I remember one time, a head coach came out against his owner and said he wasn't involved enough in the personnel decisions.
That ended pretty well, right?
This past week in particular, we showed we can throw the football out of different formations, and that's what it does. It's going to hurt your preparation time, and I think it can be effective for us.
Tebow threw three screen passes, all to Jeremy Kerley, gaining a total of eight yards. How exactly is that showing anything?
All the Jets showed they can do is something they could do just as easily with Mark Sanchez at quarterback.
Putting three screen passes on tape does no more to hurt an opponent's preparation time than it probably does to hurt the Jets' preparation time; they surely practice it, right?
The report, intentionally or not, also reveals a disturbing trend in the Jets locker room in that players have become so willing to come out in criticism of their teammates without putting their name behind it.
Could such a report create a divide in the locker room?
I feel extremely confident that this football team is coming closer together than what maybe is being thought of as pulling apart. I definitely don't see that.
If you’re going to make a negative comment, that’s fine. We never say that it always has to be a bed of roses. But again, put your name to it. I think people will respect you a lot more.
I don't think we have the same problem [with team chemistry that we had last year], and first off, I'll say this: even back then, I think that was a little more over-exaggerated than actually was the rift in the entire locker room. I don't think it existed the way it was portrayed to, but I do recognize that there was something wrong there, and I've made it my personal agenda to go out and fix it. You can say what you want and I'll be judged one way or another, and that's fine. If I'm going to be judged on this team, will it come together or not, that's fine with me and I'll be here a long time.
This looks about as different as a pig looks from a hog. They are different for sure, but both are ugly and dirty.
How is this not exactly the same problem as last year anyway? You know, when anonymous sources came out and shredded Mark Sanchez to the very same newspaper and the very same writer?
If Rex is going to be judged on whether the team comes together or not, his own words don't bode well for his future.
Rex Ryan may very well be with the Jets for a very long time, but while his coaching acumen is a good reason to make that happen, his inability to keep the locker room together could be his ultimate demise.
More so, at least, than the trade for Tebow.
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 via team press releases.