Late last week the New York Jets acquired Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos via a trade. The former starter for the Broncos became available after the Broncos signed the best free agent on the market in Peyton Manning. The Jets made this move without really thinking it through and I feel it will destroy their season and cost several people their jobs.
Tim Tebow was acquired to be an active part of the Jets offensive attack for next season. Rex Ryan and Tony Sparrano want him to run their wildcat package. The Jets have had a lot of success with the wildcat in the past, but since they lost Brad Smith it hasn’t been the same. They believe that Tebow, who ran a simular style offense in college and in Denver, will be able to breath new life into their wildcat and even allow for it grow as a well.
Tebow is also expected to fill the role of backup QB for the Jets. It is in this role where I really begin to take issue with this trade. Tim Tebow will be running his own package plus expected to learn the regular playbook as well. First off, Tebow has never been able to grasp a full NFL offense. He doesn’t have the ability to recognize defenses so it makes it difficult to control a passing attack. Second, if he is taking all the wildcat snaps and snaps as the second string QB, how many snaps is Mark Sanchez losing?
By my calculations Sanchez’s snaps will be dropped by almost half. The wildcat will be featured to the tune of around 20 plays per game and that means it will need significant practice time. So, with the wildcat alone Tebow will need around a third of the practice reps. If he is expected to be the back up then he will need to run at least some of the basic plays during practice each week. Because of the season that Sanchez had last year, it would be foolish not to give Tebow time in practice with the standard offense since it is a good possibility that he will be needed at some point during the season if he doesn’t improve.
The biggest thing that the Jets haven’t really taken into consideration is how the phenomenon that surrounds Tim Tebow is wildly overbearing. Kyle Orton was clearly the best QB in Denver last season with Brady Quinn being the clear second. Tebow was kept on the roster after training camp because of the following that he has. He was said to be less NFL ready than the Broncos rookie QB during training camp last season. Orton played everyday to chants of Tebow and it eventually took its’ toll on him and the entire organization.
Tebow can’t be a team’s backup QB without it causing more trouble than it is worth. His fans aren’t team fans. They are a destructive force that will only calm down when they are appeased and they won’t be until Tebow is starting again. So, like the Broncos of last year, the Jets have a QB that is substandard but has a legendary following that will divide the fan base and possibly stunt the growth of a promising young in Mark Sanchez. This trade will backfire on the Jets and the backlash will probably see Ryan and Tannenbaum looking for new places of employment.