With all the ups and downs of the New York Jets' 2012 season, the number one topic I find in my email inbox continues to be backup quarterback Tim Tebow. Whether people love him or hate him, everyone wants to know more about him.
The Jets put up a poor performance on Thanksgiving Day against the New England Patriots, losing 49-19. Sanchez had a decent individual performance, throwing for 301 yards on 72 percent completions, including one touchdown and one interception.
Games like these allow both extremes to come out of their corners. The loss motivates upset fans to call for change of any sort. At the same time, the quality individual performance reminds fans that with Tebow at the wheel, the team would be even worse.
Keeping all that in mind, here are some of the questions I received recently related to Tebow and the Jets.
Adam, is there any way that Tebow could be traded before end of year? Or will he sit for the rest of the season and then go into trade? Is he allowed to ask to be traded?
The trade deadline for 2012 is passed, so Tebow cannot be traded this season. He will sit the rest of this year, and then options are available for 2013.
In 2013, the Jets can cut or trade Tebow, like they could any other player. He could ask to be traded, like any player could, but asking is just that...asking.
The real question is whether or not any team would take him or make an offer for him. There were expectations this season that the Jacksonville Jaguars would make an offer for Tebow before the trade deadline. However, the Jaguars made no such offer in the end, not even a seventh-round pick.
General managers can change their minds and can do anything in the future. However, the way things look currently, none of the general managers for the 31 other teams in the NFL want Tebow. He has seen significant playing time for three seasons now, and he is no longer such a mystery to front offices. The general consensus within the NFL appears to be that he does not have the potential to be a quarterback and is not worth the noise.
If I had to guess, I would say that Tebow's role in 2013 will be the same as it is now in 2012.
Adam, everyone makes such a commotion about how the Broncos' coaches had to do a mad shuffle with their plans in order to put Tebow into their offense. It was done on the fly, out of necessity once they gave up on Orton, and it wasn't a full year nor did any of them seem to think Tebow would be the QB. I've read where he was slotted around QB four in their estimation.
Obviously this was not the kind of structure any of these coaches would want to repeat, and the success they are having with Peyton shows how much more comfortable they are with him in their system, but I really think Tebow, for all the excitement he provides someone like me far from the internal dynamics, had to be a nightmare. Why?
Tebow's like a one-man team, and yet receivers rightly want that glory, they want those TD dances and notoriety, a QB that runs everything, even the TDs, is a career disaster for them. That is understandable, and I'm sure there was a lot of relief when he was traded, for all the wild acclaim DThomas got for the 80-yard TD against the Steelers, make no mistake, he was as big a story as the QB who threw that pass. Add in some receivers who are shall we say prima donnas and even more selfish than they appear and Tebow will wear thin very quickly. When he was pulling it out of nothing more than sheer determination hey we're happy, once they also believed the way he did I think it would have been a good idea for him to have shared the wealth, spread it around, be a team. Oddly, this is something he could learn from Sanchez, it is one of his assets in my opinion.
I don't think Tebow is intentionally selfish, I don't think he trusts his short passes either and he is instinctual, he gambles, he takes risks, and that means he will take it on himself. I can just imagine the indigestion that kind of spontaneity caused his coaches!
You bring up a few fair points. The Denver Broncos' receivers have expressed how happy they were to be rid of Tebow and get the legendary Peyton Manning in his stead. Obviously, Tebow is a train wreck for a wide receiver's career since he hardly throws the ball. There was more fracturing and frustration in that locker room than many people realized, though most of it came out after the season was over.
As for the system Tebow was placed into in Denver, I think it was well crafted for him. The spread option—though not widely used in the NFL—is something that all NFL coaches understand. It is an easy offense to implement.
Were the Broncos right to switch from Tebow to Manning?
What the coaches in Denver did so well was to hide some of Tebow's weaknesses. By leaning on their ground game and offensive line so heavily, they made it so every Tebow throw was almost a surprise. Defenses stacked the box on every play, and Tebow usually only had to throw into very sparse defensive backfields. Keeping an eye out for roaming safeties and double-coverage—something he has not learned how to do yet—became non-issues.
One area the quality of the game plan really sticks out is in turnovers. Tebow has trouble hanging onto the ball and avoiding interceptions, but the conservative Denver game plan kept that to a minimum. Tebow only turned the ball over 12 times in his 11 starts in 2011. That kept the Broncos in games and allowed some of those overtime finishes to occur.
We've seen the evidence of just how bad Sanchez can be. Isn't it time to just put in Tebow and find out how terrible he really is?
I personally do not agree with that type of logic. In the NFL, you play every game to win and put in the best that you have. Even if the difference between Tebow and Sanchez is the difference between 2-14 and 6-10, you do it. Sure, you likely still miss the playoffs, but the NFL is not about tanking.
Outside of Tebowmania, this type of logic is not accepted within the NFL. Coaches do not put in low-quality backups just to test the waters or tank for draft picks. Sure, fans and some in the media can call for tanking or drastic benching. But as an NFL head coach, you have to go out and actually try to win however many games you can. A 6-10 record might mean a job, while a 2-14 record might mean a pink slip.
If Tebow wants to be given another chance to play in the NFL, he needs to demonstrate something in practice, like every other player in the history of the league. It is possible that Tebow has bought into the hype a little bit too much and has forgotten that you have to succeed in practice before you can succeed in games. His lack of effort and lack of progress in practice are the main issues keeping him from being considered for a starting job.
The support for Mark Sanchez in New York is fairly weak right now. The Jets would be open to other options at quarterback. The problem is that Tebow has not made himself appear to be an option. It is not enough for Sanchez to be bad. Tebow has to be better.