Wednesday, March 21, 2012

T-T-T-Tebow and the Jets

So if you haven't already heard, Tim Tebow is going to be a New York Jet this season. In a deal that has drawn a myriad of reactions from around the football community the Broncos have unloaded their former starting quarterback for a pair of mid- to late-round draft picks. It's a lot to process, so let's break down the pros and cons of the move:
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PRO - For all of his shortcomings as a quarterback, Tim Tebow won a lot of games last year including one against the Jets. He led his team to numerous fourth quarter comebacks and overtime wins and rallied a 1-4 Broncos team to a division title and a first round playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in which he threw for 316 yards.

CON - The Jets just extended their current starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez, for 3 years in a deal worth $40.5M. Sanchez threw for a career high 3474 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2011 and has led the Jets to two AFC Championships in three years.

PRO - Tim Tebow is a really, really good football player. He's a team player. He's a leader. He works hard. He's the kind of player you want on your football team.

CON - Antonio Cromartie, one of the Jets current cornerbacks, tweeted upon hearing news of the trade "Y bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more Weapons for @Mark_Sanchez let's build the team around him. We already signed to 3 year ext."

PRO - Nobody cares what Antonio Cromartie thinks. This is a guy who had trouble remembering the names of his own children. And I'm pretty sure Cromartie was on the field when Tebow drove the Broncos 95 yards for a game winning touchdown AGAINST the Jets this past season. Maybe he doesn't remember that. It's also possible that Cromartie is just not letting go of old college grudges. Tebow went to Florida when Cromartie went to Florida State.

CON - The Jets already have two backup quarterbacks: Drew Stanton, whom they just signed this offseason and Greg McElroy who they drafted in 2011.

PRO - Stanton and McElroy combined to throw ZERO passes in 2011. Stanton has thrown almost twice as many interceptions as touchdowns in his 5 year career and McElroy was drafted behind Tyrod Taylor, Ricky Stanzi and Nathan Enderle.

CON - In two years Tebow has completed just 47.3% of his passes.
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PRO - The Jets have historically run a version of the Wildcat offense featuring (until last year) former college quarterback Brad Smith. One would have to think that Tebow could run that offense at least as well as Smith could. Pretty sure Smith didn't win any Heisman's playing quarterback for Missouri. Also Tony Sparano, the man who brought the Wildcat to Miami, is the Jets new offensive coordinator. Tebow could be a perfect fit for Wildcat/short yardage/goal line packages.

CON - The Wildat offense won Miami exactly 0 playoff games.

PRO - A natural leader, and straight-edged guy like Tebow could be a positive influence and help turn the culture of the club around.

CON - The Jets locker room was completely dysfunctional last year. Why expose Tebow to that?
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PRO - Tebow proved his Freshman year at Florida that he could be successful without being the number one guy. Playing behind Senior Chris Leak, Tebow was still able to shine in a reduced role throwing 5 touchdown passes and running for 8 touchdowns on over 5 yards a carry. That setup only won Florida a National Championship.

CON - Mark Sanchez hasn't demonstrated the mental toughness that would suggest he'll be able to handle Tebowmania. Don't underestimate how uncomfortable things could get if the Jets struggle out of the gates under Sanchez. We saw what happened in Denver with Kyle Orton. Tebowmaniacs have a mind of their own.

All told, I think this can work, but only with Tebow as a situational guy. I'm a big Tebow fan, but he's still got a ways to go before he's ready to be a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL. I know he was successful in Denver last year, but it was by the skin of his teeth. And while he's certainly not a guy you ever want to bet against just because he has an unbelievable will to win, he's also not somebody you'd pick over a Peyton Manning. Let's see what Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano can come up with for their new offensive weapon. If nothing else, I'll certainly be a lot more willing to watch the Jets play next year just to see how it works out. Good or bad, I'm sure it will at least make for entertaining television.

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