It’s far from guaranteed, but Tim Tebow could have a beautiful debut season in 2013 with the Jacksonville Jaguars for several reasons. It’s his hometown NFL team, he would bring excitement to Jacksonville games and the Jaguars have a strong running back to share carries with him in Maurice Jones-Drew.
Tebow has again drawn attention for his lack of fundamental passing skills. Quarterback guru George Whitfield sees potential with Tebow’s ability provided that he changes his throwing motion, according to Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com. That work hasn’t taken place yet, but rumors have already surfaced that Jacksonville wants to add Tebow to a 2013 quarterback competition, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
And @mortreport reports it's "a virtual certainty" that Tim Tebow will play in 2013 for the Jacksonville Jaguars.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 23, 2012
Tebow could change his throwing motion, win a preseason QB showdown, be entrenched as the Jaguars’ starter and recreate the winning ways he had with the Denver Broncos.—but what if he doesn’t? We’ve seen that story before.
Tebow’s potential Jaguars tenure could be disastrous for a few reasons.
The Jaguars Already Have a Young QB
Blaine Gabbert will be in his third season next year after being drafted 10th overall in 2011. The 23-year-old is even younger than 26-year-old Mark Sanchez, a fifth-year pro in 2013 who had enough troubles as a supporting cast member of The Tim Tebow Show as the New York Jets starter.
Gabbert has been very underwhelming for the Jaguars; he still has not thrown for 4,000 career passing yards despite playing 25 games. Chad Henne has been more statistically prolific than Gabbert in 2012, and both guys have largely been without the services of Jones-Drew to help keep defenses honest.
Adding Tebow to compete with Gabbert in Florida could produce a very similar situation for Gabbert that Sanchez experienced in New York in terms of where media attention was directed—which was negative for all parties involved.
Jacksonville’s WR Corps Adds Pressure to Produce
If Tebow wins the starting job, it’ll be hard to say that he doesn’t have weapons. Laurent Robinson, though on IR, was a double-digit touchdown-maker in 2011. Cecil Shorts is a big-play guy on his way to a 1,000-yard campaign in just his sophomore season out of Mount Union. Justin Blackmon was a top-five NFL draft selection.
Whoever is under center will have to make things work with those guys—especially when Jones-Drew returns to form—or face a degree of scrutiny for his shortcomings as a passer. The grace period will be accelerated given the attention afforded to Tebow.
A successful Jaguars team would appreciate extra attention like the inevitable Tebow jersey sales, but a struggling one shouldn’t be interested in such things. Its focus should be on getting better.
Jacksonville Could Be Tebow’s Last NFL Stop
If Tebow can’t reinvent himself as a feared NFL passer or continue to win games with the read-option offense, which other NFL team will be interested in his services as a starter? Jacksonville is the best fit for him. The Jaguars’ uncertain QB situation, geographical location and running back give Tebow the tools to succeed as—at worst—a box office draw in 2013.
But people will only flock to see a losing team for so long.
An unsuccessful, Tebow-led (as we now know his game) Jaguars squad could result in the former Heisman trophy winner’s exodus from the NFL. If Tebowmania can’t work out in his hometown, one would be hard-pressed to find a better NFL location for it to be successful.
Conversely, if Tebow is a transformed passer and Jacksonville plays poorly despite his improved skills, it’d be a different story.
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