Home / General / Tebow, In Fact, Makes No Sense For The Jets. If They Care About Winning.

Tebow, In Fact, Makes No Sense For The Jets. If They Care About Winning.


I would have, as an NFL GM, been a little leery of Peyton Manning; as Bill James once said about signing Barry Bonds after the Giants let him go, “I don’t believe in his future, I’m not convinced of his value in the present, and I’m not interested in the past.”   Of course, the parallel is far from exact because the upside on Peyton is much higher; a QB of Manning’s caliber can have the same kind of impact in 16 games than a great baseball player can have in 162 (let alone 120 games of an old Bonds with no defensive value.)   But still — with his serious neck injuries it’s unclear if he’s still Peyton Manning even if he’s healthy, and there seems a pretty good chance that he won’t stay healthy.   For a good team with a remotely acceptable QB, signing Manning wouldn’t really make sense.   But for the Broncos, the beauty of it is that there’s a positive opportunity cost; getting rid of Tebow (for draft picks and cash!) is a major positive in itself, and if Manning happens to have a couple more big years left it’s a major bonus.

For the same reason, despite the inevitable revisionism the Jets trading for Tebow — unless they don’t care about anything but maximizing short-term revenues — doesn’t make a shred of sense:

  • This idea of bringing him in as a Wildcat QB…if the Jets thought this had more than trivial benefits even if it works, they would have just kept Brad Smith, who unlike Tebow has proven that he’s good at it.
  • And whatever gains you get will be mitigated by the fact that this turns the QB situation into a circus in an intense media market.   Giving Brad Smith a few snaps didn’t make people clamor to put him in the starting lineup.
  • And if Tebow is going to get more like 10-20 snaps a game even while he’s a backup…so you’re saying that Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano can create and implement two different offenses that will work simultaneously.  Sure.  And Erick Erickson is going to write the new Federalist Papers.
  • This isn’t to say that Mark Sanchez is particularly good.  He’s not, and the Jets should have been looking around for alternatives.    Sanchez for the last two years has been 28th in DVOA, 1% above average in 2010, about 5% below this year.   Mediocre, but not awful.  In Tebow, the Jets have managed to acquire a QB who’s substantially worse than that while only being a year younger — nearly 20% below average DVOA.    Sanchez regressed dangerously close to replacement level; Tebow needs a telescope to even see replacement level.
  • And don’t tell me that this is because Sanchez had good weapons to work with.    The Jets had one quality receiver —  one a perennial contender couldn’t wait to get rid of — backed up by a bunch of guys who were done or had no ability in the first place.   The tight end and running game are mediocre at best.   The left side of the offensive line is overrated and the right side a sieve (something they better have ideas about improving if they’re going to play Tebow.)
  • And if the argument is that Tebow Just Wins Football Games, well, in that respect Sanchez is what Tebow is supposed to be.   He guided a team to an 11-5 season.  He’s won four playoff games on the road — two as a rookie! — and was pretty decent in the two postseason games he lost.   Tebow did play well in one playoff game, but deprived of the Broncos’ MVP in that game (Dick LeBeau) the next week he made one of the worst past defenses in the league look like the ’85 Bears.    Despite this a lot of Jets fans want Sanchez’s head on a pointed stick — and not without reason!  But saying that Tebow is better because of his clutchitude is self-refuting.
  • And nor would it make any sense for the Jets to acquire Tebow to play some other position (although, to their credit, they don’t seem to be doing this.)  He doesn’t have anywhere near the speed to be an NFL running back.  I forget who brought up Aaron Hernandez in comments, but…let’s wait until he establishes any ability to catch passes at all before we start comparing him to one of the best TEs in the game, shall we?   It’s like speculating that Ichiro Suzuki could be converted to a pitcher — great athlete!  great arm!  — and then saying he could be the next Roy Halladay.

The Jets have created a huge distraction for a team that needs a lot fewer distractions, in order to bring in a guy who hasn’t shown that he even deserves an NFL job.   Great work!

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  • superking

    Is it possible they’re bringing Tebow over to be a running back or a tight end? You know, positions he might actually be good at.

    • Furious Jorge

      Is there any real evidence that he’d be NFL-caliber at those positions?

      I mean, he might be, I guess. But is there anything to convince people of this?

      • Jay B.

        No. Moreover, while great TE’s are difficult to find, there seems to be a bit of a glut of truly good ones these days (and Dallas Clark had just been released by the Colts). And RBs are only as good as their lines — they are a very overvalued commodity.

        The reason Tebow stands out athletically is because he’s a big athletic hoss playing QB. As a TE he’d be small for the position and as a RB he’d be slow.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Seriously, if you want a TE just draft a fucking TE, you don’t pay someone a QB’s salary in the hopes you can convert him a position he has no interest in playing and no experience playing.

  • Rob

    Pretty sure this was all done because the Jets wanted to see Jimmy Fallon sign SufferJet City as Tebowie. You have to admit that makes the most sense.

  • Perhaps the organization can transform itself from a football club to a ministry: Jets for Jesus.

    • Spud

      Perhaps the organization can transform itself from a football club to a ministry: Jets for Jesus.

      THAT makes the most sense. They can avoid paying taxes and get Republican politicians lobbying to divert government funds their way as a form of “faith based initiative”.

      • Ken

        I doubt it; the Giants are the NY area Republican team. Jets just effed up.

  • Sherm

    Excellent post. The Tebow as back up/wildcat QB could work in the right place, but not for the Jets. Just an idiotic move by an idiotic GM who refuses to acknowledge the need to rebuild (which can be done quickly these days) because he knows that he’ll get fired by Johnson if they don’t make the playoffs this year. The failure to cut Santonio Holmes (and to take the cap hit now) is an even better example of the GM putting his own job status ahead of the franchise’s long term interests.

    However, I have to disagree with your assessment of the Jets’ offensive line. The right side is not a sieve, only Wayne Hunter. Brandon Moore is one of the best right guards in the game. If they replace Wayne Hunter with a competent veteran, their line would be top notch again.

    And Dustin Keller is a pretty damn good receiving tight end.

    • c u n d gulag

      I agree about Moore. And Keller’s a pretty damn good TE when Sanchez can stay up long enough to throw him the ball.

      The Jets GM was brought in as a cap numbers cruncher. And he may be great at that – but I don’t think he knows the other parts of the job that well at all.
      Talent evaluation? Don’t make me laugh!

      The Holmes situation was a fiasco.
      But bringing Tebow in may help him bond with Sanchez, who, unlike Tebow, has at least a reasonable chance at getting him the ball.

    • Keller was about the only bright spot in the receiver corps last season

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yes, you’re right; the right side is bad only in the “you’re only as strong as the weakest link” sense. If they could find an NFL-calibre RT they’d be fine.

    • R Johnston

      When your right tackle is Wayne Hunter, “a pretty damn good receiving tight end” is kind of a waste.

      Signing Wayne Hunter to a significant deal before last season was at least as bad a mistake as trading for Tebow, with just as much downside and no entertainment or publicity value.

  • Anderson

    I don’t recall anyone’s anticipating this Jets move, because it made no sense whatsoever.

    The pressure on Sanchez, a guy who doesn’t seem to handle pressure real well, is going to be mindblowing.

    • scythia


  • i continue to believe that there’s no reason in the right coaching hands, a vince young or a tim tebow couldn’t be a part-time option halfback (i.e., with an actual authentic dropback accurate passer at qb).

    i don’t happen to think that ryan and sparano are those hands, so just to be clear, the idea of tebow as a backup qb is ridiculous, and as a front-line qb nonsensical.

    as for peyton, even the teams he worked out for didn’t say anything stronger than he looked “comfortable” throwing the ball, which is about as meaningless as you can imagine (hell, i look “comfortable” throwing a football): to me, it’s way too big a gamble, and there are no circumstances under which i would have taken the salary cap chance of signing him.

    • patrick II

      Signing Peyton in Denver also gave them the opportunity to get rid of Tebow. Denver was in a bind with a extremely popular quarterback who can’t throw a football. Even if Peyton is just average for next two years Denver is ahead.

      • Furious Jorge

        And even if he’s not, I think the Denver brain trust can still argue that it was a reasonable gamble to take to potentially improve so dramatically at a key position.

        • howard

          i appreciate the “opportunity cost positive” aspect of the move for denver, and for the record i hate the salary cap and pay very little attention to it, but for the little attention to the cap i do pay, there’s a big salary cap gamble going on that i, were i an nfl gm, wouldn’t take given the uncertainties of peyton’s arm strength and the pretty mediocre track reocrds of aging quarterbacks changing systems.

          • patrick II

            I am not sure how much the general track record of ageing quarterbacks applies to the particular instance of Peyton Manning. Peyton is one of the great quarterbacks of all time. Peyton is a particularly smart quarterback who won’t have a lot of trouble learning a new system. If Denver adjusted their system enough to meet Tebow’s strengths then they are creative enough to adjust to Manning’s. Much of Manning’s exceptional skills are related to reading defenses, a skill that will not diminish in the next few years.

            I could go on. There is only one thing that will stop Manning from being successful in Denver, and that is how much the neck injury affects his play. And you nor I have seen him throw or have studied doctor’s reports. The Broncos have.

  • c u n d gulag

    Woody Johnson, the Jets owner, must have learned his sports management skills from P. T. Barnum.

    And not so sexy, Rexy Ryan, is now the ringmaster.

    And how’s Sparano going to run TWO offenses, when he couldn’t even run ONE the last few years?
    Also too – he’s not exactly a passing guru…

    And the last time having two QB’s on the same team worked, was when Jeff Hostetler came in for an injured Phil Simms in 1990 and won the SB, and before that, when Don Strock, who could actually throw, came in into games to replace David Woodley, who couldn’t.
    And its not like “WoodStrock” is in the HOF.

    The rest of the time, this doesn’t work.
    Just ask Tom Landry, who kept Roger Staubach on the bench.
    And neither “Broadway” Tim Tebow, nor “Across the River From Manhattan” Mark Sanchez, will ever be confused with Roger Staubach.

    The Jets worst nightmare, after all of the chest-thumping they’ve been doing, was the Giants not only beating them last year, but also going on to win the SB this year.

    And now, they’ve invited an even worse nightmare.

    Once Sanchez has, not just a bad game, or a bad quarter, or even a bad series, but a bad throw, and Jets fans, not the most patient bunch on the planet, will be calling for his head.

    Now, throw in Tebow’s Jesus-freak fans, and you will have open mayhem.

    And why is neither the Owner or the Head Coach at this press conference?

    To Jets fans, whose usual complaint is, “Same old Jets…”
    I say, “You wish…”

    • Sherm

      You gotta feel bad for the Jets fans though. The ones I know are all pretty hardcore, and truly long suffering. They deserve better than this nonsense.

      • Anderson

        As a Dolphins fan, I have no clue what the Jets fans are whining about. Except for maybe that last regular-season game in 2011. Heh.

      • c u n d gulag

        While I hate the Jets and Mets, I do feel sorry for their fans. They are truly ‘fanatics’ – but they do deserve better than what they’ve gotten recently. People who stick with teams like this for so long, are truly fans.

        The Mets ownership and management don’t have the money right now to fix their problems.
        And the Jets ownership and management don’t have the competence.

        I think the Jets are following that old adage – “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance – baffle them with bullshit!”

        • Sherm

          Giants/Mets fanatic here. About half of my friends who are Mets fans are also Jets fans. I feel bad for those poor bastards.

          • mark f

            Interesting. I thought it was almost always Mets/Jets and Yankees/Giants.

            • Sherm

              Complete myth. Most Jets fans are Mets fans, but not all Mets fans are Jets fans.

              The old baseball Giants and Dodgers fans were football Giants fans, and they and their children are largely Mets/Giants fans.

              • Thlayli

                *raises hand*

                Mine was a Brooklyn Dodgers/Football Giants family, so rooting for the Yankees was not an option.

              • elm

                Yeah, not all Mets fans are Jets fans. The converse, though, I think approaches being true. Personally, at least, I know of only one Jets fan that is a Yankee fan. And he became Jets when the Colts left Baltimore. (What he was doing as a Colts/Yankees fan, I can’t tell you.)

                • My in-laws are all huge Mets and Giants fans.

      • Speaking as a former Jets fan I’d have to say they deserve what they get.

    • And why is neither the Owner or the Head Coach at this press conference?

      They’re in Florida for the GM meetings. Reasonable excuse.

      • c u n d gulag

        Then why didn’t they hold the presser last Friday?
        Or, this Friday?

        The Giants resigned their back-up QB last week.
        He didn’t fly in on a private jet. And they didn’t need to move his press conference to a larger venue. They didn’t even have a press conference – they just let the press know he had resigned.

        They’re leaving a 24 year-old kid up there, alone, with the toughest press corp in the country.

        To me, this just underscores how incompetent the Jets ownership and management really is.

        • Dirk Gently

          They scheduled it for today because a technical glitch in the contract meant that Tebow was still technically a Bronco over the weekend.

    • Bill Murray

      everybody knows Tebow is the new Billy Kilmer http://www.profootballresearchers.org/Coffin_Corner/23-04-902.pdf

      and Billy and Sonny Jurgensen made a nice QB team, so there ya go

      • Goddamn, BILL FUCKIN’ MURRAY! Sorry, seen Zombieland a few too many times.

  • dave

    I hate the Jets, I am no fan of Tebow and as a Pats fan, I desperately want this to be a terrible move for the Jets. However, I actually think Tebow is (slightly) better than Sanchez. He makes fewer mistakes and is slightly more accurate while being slightly more limited on the types of throws he can make. Obviously he runs much better than Sanchez.

    Amazingly, Sanchez is one of only a handful of QBs who is arguably worse than Tebow. The sooner the Jets make Tebow the starter, the better for them.

    The worst thing the Jets can do is keep Sanchez as the starter and have Tebow come in periodically and continue to do this for the next three years and thus spending as much on the QB position as the Pats int hat time frame.

    In short – this move might slightly improve the Jets or it might completely blow up in their faces and destroy them for 3 years. Here’s hoping for the latter.

    • Anderson

      However, I actually think Tebow is (slightly) better than Sanchez.

      Okay, but signing Tebow after having just given Sanchez an extension? That’s nuts.

    • Sherm

      No way. While Sanchez is not a very good NFL passer, Tebow is not by any stretch of the imagination an NFL caliber passer. His mechanics are a mess, and he can’t make any of the throws that NFL quarterbacks need to make. He’s just a great athlete who happens to have a good arm. He’s not an NFL quarterback.

      • dave

        I think Sanchez can’t make any of the throws you need to make either. That’s my point.

        I would never want Tebow as a starting QB. He just happens to be slightly better than Sanchez – who sucks.

        • Paulk

          That’s not technically true, though. If you put the two of them through the paces, Sanchez can hit his marks with consistency. That’s Tebow’s problem.

          Whether a QB can do that in a game is another story, but it has nothing to do with skill. And it’s not, BTW, that Tebow “can’t ever hit his marks,” which is silly. He can’t hit his marks with consistency, which would tell scouts that he probably can’t hit a decent percentage of passes during games. Which is exactly the problem with Tebow, who is the only NFL QB with a completion percentage below 50%.

          The more I watched Denver last year, the most plain it became how incredible Fox was doing utilizing Tebow. I kept pointing out to people that most of Tebow’s completions were to wide open and often still receivers. That’s very hard to accomplish in the NFL.

          Sanchez may not be a very good QB, but it’s clear he has the skills. Tebow simply doesn’t.

      • witless chum

        Tebow can’t make SOME of the throws an NFL QB needs to make. He throws deep balls well, but I’m not sure why the Jets were so eager to take of the project of getting him to learn how to throw short and medium passes precisely enough.

        • joe from Lowell

          Because if he can elevate that aspect of his game even just to mediocre, he becomes a very dangerous quarterback in total.

          • Furious Jorge

            That’s a big “if.” Any reason to think it’s actually feasible?

            • joe from Lowell

              1) He’s already improved in that area.

              2) He is clearly very raw, very undercoached, compared to other quarterbacks in his position. He coaches just did not concentrate on pocket-passer fundamentals as much with him, deciding to let him do his thing, and it shows. For instance, his footwork.

              • joe from Lowell

                His college coaches, I mean.

              • Bill Murray

                WRT #2, just because he is not good at something does not mean his college coaches didn’t try to teach him. and even if they didn’t, the criticism of his mechanics goes back to at least his freshman year of college, so it seems Tebow hasn’t been particularly concerned about improving that area of his game for the last 5 years. I’m not sure starting to care now is going to overcome the bad habits he allowed to persist

                • joe from Lowell

                  But we know, for a fact, that his college coaches did not try very hard to coach him up into a classic pocket passer. We know that they dedicated more time to other aspects of his game than a normal quarterback.

                  And it shows. It’s easy, seeing him play, to see that he has, as you say, “bad habits,” as opposed to someone who has the technique but lacks the ability to make it work.

                  Bad habits might or might not be able to be overcome. You can coach habits (not that it always works, but it sometimes does). You can’t coach talent.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Yeah, and if Josh Booty could have learned how to hit he would have been a hell of a 3B.

            • joe from Lowell

              And if Michael Vick could have…uh…well, anyway.

              • witless chum

                Well, so if we can get Tebow a year in the penn, he’ll turn into a good QB.

                Maybe they figure two years with Rex Ryan is like a year in the federal prison.

                • joe from Lowell

                  a year in the penn

                  Penn, indeed. He would have made a lot more sense as a backup to either Vick or Roethlisberger than Sanzhez.


      • patrick II

        They have been trying to teach Tebow “mechanics” for years now. It isn’t mechanics — in the learnable sense at least. Tebow lacks flexility in his shoulder. If you have ever seen the Koufax award picture, Sandy’s arm is torqued behind him so far that his forearm is parallel to the ground. That’s what a guy with a hundred mile an hour fastball looks like. Most of us cannot twist our arms back anywhere near that far, which is why we — and Tebow — cannot throw with real velocity.
        That’s why he takes those big windups — he can’t just flip the ball thirty yards with his arm like Jay Cutler can. He has to throw with his whole body. I don’t think that can be changed.
        Other than that though, he is a pretty good football player.

        • Bill Murray

          He also doesn’t read coverages well, which magnifies his medium length pass (where you have to read essentially the entire defense) mechanics problems

          • joe from Lowell

            His demonstrated ability to read run defenses during option plays suggests to me that the problem is not necessarily one of innate ability, but of not mastering the specific skill of reading pass coverages.

            • Bill Murray

              except that option plays usually only require reading one player, or more properly one player at a time, so it is more like the deep posts and fly patterns that he does read and throw well than the medium passes and check downs that he hasn’t been good at.

              • joe from Lowell

                On the other hand, they require reading that one player, or one player at a time, on the run.

                It’s definitely not the same skill, but it’s a related skill, and not necessarily easier.

    • Scott Lemieux

      AS I say in the post, Sanchez is clearly better than Tebow. He’s not good, but he’s clearly better. It’s not even close.

  • And don’t tell me that this is because Sanchez had good weapons to work with.

    I’d argue precisely the opposite: Sanchez’s numbers have been badly affected by the fact he’s had crap in front of him and crap (with the exception of Shone Greene) behind him. Even LT added marginally, and he’s, what, five years past his prime?

    Tebow is a terrible trade, apart from the obvious merchandising boost, but Tebow will benefit more from this than the Jets will. It’s true in NYC you have to win the backpage war as well as the football war, but with Coach Ryan, the Jets have that well in hand already.

    I’m with you, tho. If you’re going to threaten Sanchez in order to get him to up his game– altho I’d argue the last thing this guy needs is MORE pressure than he puts on himself– then a credible threat to his job is what you need to bring in.

    Jets fans aren’t idiots. We’re not going to be screaming for Tebow to start if Sanchez goes three-and-out in the first five games of the season

    • Sherm

      The correct way to challenge Sanchez is with a professional veteran who, while threatening Sanchez’s job security, could simultaneously be teaching Sanchez by example what it takes to be a successful NFL quarterback, i.e., how to study films, read defenses, lead by example in the locker room and weight room, etc..

      The only thing Tebow knows about studying film and reading defenses is that he’d rather be reading the bible.

      • Jim

        Maybe …. Mark Brunell?

      • scythia

        Okay, really? Here’s the deal: Sanchez has been playing for three years with absolute job security and the results have been terrible. If he does in fact put too much pressure on himself, then maybe he needs a legitimate competitor to push him outside of his own head. If he is such a delicate flower that he can’t complete a pass unless his critics are singing his praises and he’s got seven seconds in the pocket to find a receiver, then maybe he shouldn’t be starting in the NFL.

        Look, I’m a Ravens fan, so I know all about rationalizing the deficiencies of your QB….but at some point, don’t you want him to get the gut check? To face the sink-or-swim situation and find out what he’s made of? Or do you just want to coddle him w/ moderate challenges and hope he can squeak through?

        • scythia

          Sorry, actor…..poor reading comp skills today. We’re in agreement.

  • joe from Lowell

    Oh, yeah, that Dick Lebow sucks. That guy totally can’t run a defense in the NFL, amirite? That must be it. I mean, we all remember the posts about what a terrible idea it would be to bring the safeties up and leave Tebow’s receivers in man coverage before the Pittsburgh game, right? How could LeBeau not see that coming?

    I brought up Aaron Hernandez. Pray tell, when exactly did he “establish any ability to” run the ball “at all” before he…you know…actually did it in the NFL? It wasn’t in college, when he never took a snap at running back. It wasn’t in high school, when he never took a snap at running back. It was after he’d been in the NFL for a couple of years.

    Anyway, any analysis of the Tebow deal that relies on such a static view of him as a passer misses the point by a mile. Anyone signing Tebow, like anyone signing 90% of very young NFL quarterbacks to back up their starter, is betting on his development as a passer over the next year or two.

    I remember when it was the Tebow fans who drove me crazy by letting their opinion of his politics and religion bias their impression of his football skills. I never thought I’d see his detractors surpass them.

    • Joshua

      The only problem is that Tebow can’t throw. His mechanics are all screwed up. There are QBs out there, all over the college game, who can throw better than him. And you know what? Most of those QBs don’t make it in the NFL either.

      I admire a lot about Tebow – he is obviously passionate about the game, he works hard, he helped deliver two championships to Florida, he won a Heisman and arguably deserved a second. But he’s not a NFL QB – he’s just not. And there’s no shame in saying that. Most aren’t.

      • joe from Lowell

        The only problem is that Tebow can’t throw. His mechanics are all screwed up.

        I don’t care what a guy’s delivery looks like. This is too much like the old scouts in Moneyball, talking about how pretty a guy’s swing or delivery is.

        Tim Tebow hold the SEC records for passing efficiency and attempt/interception ratio. They guy can clearly throw.

        • Sherm

          Delivery matters a great deal due to the speed and complexity of the NFL game. The slower and more cumbersome the QB’s delivery, the harder it is for him to throw with the precision needed to find an open receiver in the very tight coverages in the NFL.

          While you throw the ball to open receivers in college, you throw the ball to tight spots where you anticipate the receiver will become open in the NFL. A lot of timing and precision involved. This is a very difficult task for a QB with a slow and unorthodox delivery.

        • Joshua

          The Gators also ran an offense completely unlike any offense in the NFL. The Broncos had a variant of it last year and Tebow still looked terrible.

          The college game has important differences from the pro game. In the college game a superior athlete (of which Tebow is one, that is without controversy) can just bowl over the vast majority of players he faces. But then they get to the pro level and everyone is a superior athlete. So fundamentals become that much more important. Tebow’s fundamentals are lacking and always have. I see no evidence that he will be able to “fix” that as he gets older.

          • Sherm


            And if NFL coaches had defended him like any other running quarterback (like Vick, for example) with zone coverages and by having the pass rushers keep containment, there would never have been any Tebowmania this year.

            • Furious Jorge

              I still don’t know why they didn’t.

              • Sherm

                Hubris. When you don’t respect your adversary, you are asking for trouble. They didn’t respect him enough to defend him correctly.

          • joe from Lowell

            Every single player chosen out of college has to make the transition to the pro game, and it often takes time – especially at the quarterback position. There are very few Matt Ryans.

            I see no evidence that he will be able to “fix” that as he gets older.

            Because of how Tebow was used in college, he is quite a bit behind even his peers in his development as a passer. I don’t think anyone knows how much he can be coached up, but he’s very clearly raw. There are things, like his footwork, that are clearly just bad practices, that can be coached. He’s already come quite a way from where he was when he was first drafter. The question is, how much more can he improve with a serious effort to make him a real passer?

            • Joshua

              My first question is, why bother? There are plenty of players who come out of college knowing how to throw and move their feet. They’re not all big timers either – Roethlisberger was out of Miami of Ohio, Flacco out of Delaware, Romo out of Eastern Illinois. I just don’t see why the Jets or any other team should be spending years teaching this guy (with a fundie army clamoring for him to start) when they could be preparing different guys.

              My second question is, can these bad practics be coached away? He’s been doing things this way for a long time. I feel that the power of coaches to mold these guys in their own image is highly overstated. Even up to a year or two ago I would often read how Romo just needed to be taught a few things and he would be amazing. The dude was 29 years old! He is what he is.

              I don’t know. I just don’t see why we need to have Tebow be a star in the NFL. Lots of great college players don’t end up being stars in the NFL. I’m not talking about Leaf-type busts either. What has Jason White done in the NFL? Or Ken Dorsey? Not much. And that’s just how it goes. Nobody was out there saying that White needed to start on team X. Tebow got more opportunities than he normally would have, because the Broncos coach was an egomaniac and because he’s a fundamentalist. Neither of those things has anything to do with his ability to be a successful NFL QB.

              • joe from Lowell

                My first question is, why bother?

                Because he has obvious, impressive strengths that they would love to be able to utilize.

                can these bad practics be coached away?

                Maybe. They are the type of problems that coaching can help. Whether he, individually, can improve with that coaching is a crap shoot. I don’t think the Romo comparison is apt. Romo was heavily coached to be a classic pocket passer all through college and his years in the NFL. Tebow has clearly not been. This leaves open the possibility that additional coaching could take with him.

                • Anderson

                  Given that Joe is a Pats fan, I mistrust his evident enthusiasm for Tebow as Jets QB!

                • joe from Lowell


                  I’m a Pats fan, but I’m also a football fan.

                  If I have a bias here, it’s that I really, really would like to see a different type of offense work in the NFL than what every single team is doing these days.

                  Hell, at this point, it would be an interesting change of pace to see a team run as much as it throws.

              • Eric

                In Jason White’s defense, he doesn’t have any knees.

                • Joshua

                  I ain’t even mad at White – it is what it is. Not every star college QB is going to be a pro star.

                  I hate to sound even a little bit like Limbaugh here, but obviously a lot of people want to see Tebow become a pro QB, for reasons totally unrelated to football. So they are pressing on despite all evidence to the contrary.

                  Like joe, I’d love to see teams mix it up with different offenses. But like I said, the Broncos were running an offense different from the norm and Tebow still looked bad in it. At what point do we say, this is not the guy?

                  I wonder how, say, Falcons-era Vick would’ve performed on the 2011 Broncos team. It might’ve been neat!

                • joe from Lowell

                  At what point do we say, this is not the guy?

                  At what point do we usually give up on a young quarterback with a lot of talent and a history of success in college, who needs to develop in order to perform at an NFL level?

                  He’s had 14 starts.

                  The Jets aren’t starting him. They’re clearing saying “This is not the guy right now.”

        • Furious Jorge

          Tim Tebow hold the SEC records for passing efficiency and attempt/interception ratio. They guy can clearly throw.

          Exactly. I mean, just look at all those Super Bowls Steve Spurrier won with the Redskins. Not that we should have been surprised, what with a national championship and six SEC championships. The guy can clearly coach.

          • joe from Lowell

            Oh, is it nonsequitor day? How come nobody told me?

            You make an excellent point, Jorge, but what about my petunias?

            • Furious Jorge

              I think you know perfectly well what I’m saying. But in case I’ve overestimated you, let me clarify:

              You seem to be implying that *of course* Tebow is worth the effort, because his success in the SEC is somehow indicative of something – perhaps in your mind it points to some sort of guarantee that he will eventually be NFL quality.

              I was simply pointing out that success at one level may not mean nothing about success in the next level up, but it sure doesn’t mean everything.

              Which, as I said, I am sure you knew.

              • joe from Lowell

                I do know exactly what you’re saying, and I answered it. Apparently, I overestimated you.

                So, I’ll make it more obvious: coaching is the entirety of what a coach does. Throwing is not the entirety of what a quarterback does. Heck, it isn’t even the entirety of passing.

                You seem to be implying that *of course* Tebow is worth the effort, because his success in the SEC

                I can’t help what my comment about Tebow’s ability to throw “seems” to be to you. I can’t help it if you bootstrapped the word “throw” all the way to “have success in the NFL.” I made a comment about his ability to throw.

                • jfl=douche


        • Furious Jorge

          But in a more serious vein, it looks to me like those stats have the potential to inflate the apparent skill of a quarterback who doesn’t throw a lot. If you don’t throw a whole lot but when you do it’s deep, that absolutely can skew the NCAA passing efficiency score, both directly and indirectly (a completed deep pass would be more likely to be caught for a touchdown than passes thrown for short yards).

          How did Tebow stack up against other SEC quarterbacks in terms of passing attempts?

          • joe from Lowell

            If you don’t throw a whole lot but when you do it’s deep, that absolutely can skew the NCAA passing efficiency score

            You don’t “skew” it all the way to the SEC record unless you’re throwing those balls pretty well.

            And while we’re talking about “skewing,” wouldn’t few-but-deep passes tend to skew your interception percentage upwards?

            • Furious Jorge

              As literally *everyone* here is willing to concede, Tebow can. Hit. An. Open. Receiver. Downfield.

              Combine that with the historic quality of Florida’s receiving corps, and I’d definitely take my chances on throwing long against Vandy and Kentucky. All day long.

              So to answer your question, no, not necessarily.

              • joe from Lowell

                Well, then, your answer is wrong.

                The correct answer is, yes, throwing a higher-than-average percentage of deep balls should tend to skew a quarterback’s interception percentage upwards.

              • joe from Lowell

                As literally *everyone* here is willing to concede, Tebow can. Hit. An. Open. Receiver. Downfield.

                OK. Just make sure you don’t say he can throw.

    • dave

      I would agree with this except that Tebow will cost the Jets over $6 million against the cap in 2013 and over $7 million in 2014.

      He needs to be the starter by the end of 2012 or he will have to be cut.

      • joe from Lowell

        Very true. Betting on any player’s development is a crap shoot, and this is an expensive one.

    • Sherm

      Dick Lebow is an excellent defensive coach, of course. But that playoff loss was the result of his hubris. He so desperately wanted to exploit and embarrass Tebow by stacking the line with 10 guys in the box, that he forgot that there was a playoff game at stake. Belicheck knew better.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Oh, yeah, that Dick Lebow sucks. That guy totally can’t run a defense in the NFL, amirite?

      He’s an excellent defensive coordinator who happened to put together a terrible game plan for that particular game. Coaches can have off days like anyone else. When Belichick more rationally took away the one kind of pass he can throw rather than giving it to him, Tebow was utterly helpless against a defense with fourth-rate personnel.

      • joe from Lowell

        If we were to take everything you had written about Tebow before that game and based a defense on it, it would have consisted of precisely what Dick Lebow did. Bringing up both safeties and putting man coverage on Tebow’s wideouts is the perfect defense, if you assume that Tim Tebow is who you were saying he is.

        Dick Lebow “put together a terrible game plan” based on misunderstanding Tebow in exactly the way you did.

        • R Johnston

          If we were to take everything you had written about Tebow before that game and based a defense on it, it would have consisted of precisely what Dick Lebow did.

          Uh, no. Not even close. You’re high.

          There are exactly two things you have to do against Tebow, and everyone paying attention, including Scott, clearly knew them:

          1) edge containment and

          2) don’t make it easy for him to throw the ball deep.

          Nine in the box unless you have Darelle Revis and his clone just ain’t gonna cut it.

          • joe from Lowell

            Note how much your level of specificity drops off from point 1 to point 2. One of those is a description of how to play defense; the other is an aspiration.

            There is nothing Scott wrote prior to the Pittsburgh that would lead anyone to believe that man coverage would “make it easy for him to throw the ball deep,” while every single post he wrote could quite easily be read to suggest that bringing up your safeties to help with Point 1 was a good idea.

            • Sherm

              You don’t play man against an inaccurate, running quarterback who cant read coverages. You keep edge containment and confuse him with zone coverages.

              • joe from Lowell

                ….you say three months after the fact.

                Any indication of you, Scott, or anyone else trashing Dick Lebeau making this point before the game?

                “Confuse him with zone coverages” is another of saying “leave your safeties in deep coverage” – in other words, dedicate three or four players to defend against the pass. I’d be interested to see a quote making the point that teams playing Tebow have to make sure to leave their safeties in pass coverage instead of bringing them up.

        • Scott Lemieux

          You’re dead wrong, and indeed seem to be making the same mistake LeBeau did. Saying Tebow is not yet an NFL caliber QB is not to see that he can’t hit a wide-open receiver well downfield. It’s the one thing he can do.

          • joe from Lowell

            seem to be making the same mistake LeBeau did.

            I’m underestimating Tim Tebow’s ability as a passer, and putting too little emphasis on pass coverage? Really? You sure about that?

            Notice how, like R. Johnson, but unlike me, you aren’t talking about LeBeau’s defensive scheme when discussing LeBeau’s defensive scheme.

            If you want to look back and find something you wrote before the Steelers’ game that suggests that defenses need to make sure to leave enough guys in coverage instead of stacking the line and emphasizing containment, that would be great. Something along the lines of “leave a safety deep” or “don’t give Tebow man-to-man coverage,” then you can say I’m “dead wrong.”

            • Sherm

              And if a team ran the same defense against Vick, would that not be “dead wrong” simply because no one had previously warned against the obvious risk of running such a defense against a quarterback like Vick?

              Tebow is the same kind of quarterback, just not as fast and an inferior passer. Have you ever seen a team play such a defense against Vick? Of course not.

              • joe from Lowell

                Kindly go back and reread Scott’s post, because you seem a little confused about who, and what, he was saying is “dead wrong.”

                It is, of course, wrong to put too much emphasis on containing Tebow, to the detriment of having enough guys in coverage, but that’s the kind of thing that happens when you underestimate him as a passer.

                Have you ever seen a team play such a defense against Vick? Of course not.

                Of course not: Vick’s ability as a passer isn’t nearly as grossly underestimated as is Tebow’s. Oh, and you’re still doing it.

                • Sherm

                  Maybe I’m confused, but it seemed that you were defending the Steelers’ defensive strategy, and that’s what I was responding to.

                • joe from Lowell

                  I guess I was being unclear. I think the Steelers’ defensive strategy was terrible.

                  My point is that this terrible strategy – pull guys out of pass coverage and devote them to containing Tebow and stopping the run – is exactly what a term would want to do if the Broncos’ offense under Tim Tebow was what the local CW said it was.

              • joe from Lowell

                the obvious risk of running such a defense against a quarterback like Vick?

                Any indication that dedicating too few men to pass coverage, and too many to containment, was an obvious risk to you before the Steelers’ game would be most welcome.

                Because constantly harping on what a shitty quarterback he is, and how option offenses can’t work in the NFL, do not make it obvious that it’s important to keep enough guys in pass coverage. Quite the opposite.

                • Sherm

                  Its pretty elemental that you should play zone rather than man against a running quarterback for numerous reasons, particularly against a young quarterback not known for his ability to read coverages. If a running QB breaks containment against a man defense, he can run all day against because the defensive backs will have their backs to the play. And its much harder for a young, inaccurate passer to throw against a zone than man coverage. Man coverage is what they grew up throwing against in high school and college. Contain him, keep him in the pocket, and make him throw threw a wall of defenders. Pretty standard practice against a running qb.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Again, I’m going to ask you to link to anything remotely resembling this “elemental” concept that you, or Scott, wrote before the Steelers game. Because hindsight is 20/20.

                  You keep saying “zone.” Zone means dedicating more men to pass coverage than there are receivers. So, any indication from before the Steelers game that teams playing against Tim Tebow better make sure to leave enough guys in coverage, instead of bringing them up to contain him and stop the run, would make your professions of obviousness much more credible.

                  Otherwise, I just have a guy three months after the fact saying he totally wasn’t underestimating the quarterback who performed much better than predicted.

                • joe from Lowell

                  If a running QB breaks containment

                  Hence, all the emphasis on containment. Hence, pulling the safeties up (taking them out of coverage) in order to maintain containment.

                  And its much harder for a young, inaccurate passer to throw against a zone than man coverage.

                  This is something you have to keep in mind, unless you’re dealing with such a shitty quarterback – really, someone who is such a terrible passer that he has no business in the league – that you have higher priorities than making it difficult for him to pass.

                • mpowell

                  You have shifted your normal bullshit from the political domain to the NFL. The man coverage/zone discrepancy and the drop in coverage/blitz tradeoffs are basically exactly the opposite that you suggest. Bringing frequent blitzers means putting your coverage guys in man coverage and can break up an opponent’s passing game, but it is not the go to strategy to stop a running team at the NFL level. To stop the run in the NFL you put run stoppers on the DL and in at LB, play straight up in the trenches without any stunts or similar and keep your safeties in the box. The mindset of your LB is also relevant. If you blitz 6 or 7 guys while running a cover 0 or cover 1, you are doing something else. What Sherm identifies as the problems with LBs in man coverage is particularly relevant. What that is, I don’t know. I know criticism of LeBeau is not well received, but he is 75 years old. I’m pretty sure that he lacks the mental agility at this age to really change his defensive approach. But he also had major personnel limitations in that game which further limited his ability to stop the run with just his front 7. I don’t think he made the subsequent correct trade-off, but there you go. And while I didn’t publish anything ahead of time about what a terrible idea running cover 0 against Tebow would be, I was vocally expressing my disagreement with the approach in real time long before OT.

                • shah8

                  Watch Bills and Eagles last year. Vick murdered them on the ground for precisely the reasons Sherm is talking about.

                  You *might* be talking about Gunther Cunningham’s typical strategy–but that only works if Vick has horrible receivers. That strategy works against Vick in Atlanta, but gets crushed in ’10 against Eagles offense, via the Lions.

                  My read is that hubris wasn’t that involved in LeBeau’s strategy, but that he overestimated Tebow’s effectiveness. Wanted to stop the running game a bit too much, instead of letting Tebow loose the game for the Broncos.

                • joe from Lowell

                  mpowell says:
                  March 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm
                  You have shifted your normal bullshit from the political domain to the NFL.

                  You have a weird personal obsession with me, and it leads you to make stupid mistakes. You should learn to keep a cooler head.

                • joe from Lowell

                  For example:

                  and keep your safeties in the box.

                  You just told me that what I wrote – that you pull your safeties up when you want to commit to stopping the run instead of putting them into pass coverage – is “exactly the opposite” of what I wrote.


                  Since you can’t even repeat back to me what I wrote when it’s still on your screen, in a comment that lead you to your spittle-flecked reply that opened with a profane personal insult, you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t read all the way through your analysis.

                • mpowell

                  I don’t know what your evidence that I have a personal obsession with you. You dominate half the threads on this blog and so it’s pretty much impossible to participate in the conversation without frequently responding to you. And my comment was hardly spittle-flecked. But it would be silly to have a conversation with you without pointing out that you frequently repeat the same disingenuous arguments ad nauseum, frequently ignoring important distinctions your interlocutors are making. I do agree with you at times and I wish you would engage with people in a more honest fashion. It would lead to a more productive conversation in general. In this case you are confusing the concepts of blitz pressure and edge containment. Honestly, I can’t even tell if it’s intentional or not. Regarding safety depth, there is a big difference between blitzing a safety and having them start the play at 10 yards deep, looking to stop the run, but still having zone coverage responsibility against the pass. The safeties are there to read run or pass and be in a better position to help against the run. They’re not there for containment so they can drop deep once they read pass. It’s not as effective against your average NFL QB, but that isn’t what the Steelers were dealing with. The LBs are the ones responsible for containment, and they achieve it by playing zone. And actually, you can even blitz while playing zone if you want to.

                • joe from Lowell

                  No one cares about defensive schemes. Now what color is my beard?


      • Socraticsilence

        Honestly it wouldn’t have mattered in Manning was the QB on that day- if Tebow gets too much credit for wins (and he often does) he also gets way too much blame for the losses.

    • Ken

      “Oh, yeah, that Dick Lebow sucks. That guy totally can’t run a defense in the NFL, amirite?”

      Actually, you are wrong.

  • Joshua

    Rex operates on the assumption that raising the stakes even higher – making more guarantees, making more quotable sound bites, putting more pressure on your team, more visible PR (Hard Knocks), etc., is what leads to victory. And the management, clearly a bunch of dweebs awed by Rex’s force of personality, has clearly bought into it.

    I’m one of the few out there who think Sanchez still has potential in this league, but making him play in front of Tebow, with fundies (and Skip Bayless) waiting for Sanchez’s first mistake will not help. This will be a disaster.

  • And I repeat myself, why does Jacksonville hate money?

    • Furious Jorge

      I read that Elway gave Tebow the choice of going to the Jets or Jags. Don’t know how true that is, but maybe the answer is that Timmeh! didn’t want to go home just yet.

      • Eric

        Yeah, I’ve also read that Timmy and his agent had some choice on where Tebow landed in a trade. The Jags were reportedly offering a better deal for the Broncos.

        • Dirk Gently

          Interestingly, many Tebow supporters are beating him up over that: choosing the bright lights and endorsement deals of NY over his “home town.” They see now the Tebow marketing machine instead of touchdown Jesus.

    • clay

      As a native, I can confirm that Jacksonville hates a lot of good things.

      Walkability, a well-run school system, good concerts…

  • Devin McCullen

    At least this version of the positive Tebow column didn’t throw in the “Antonio Cromartie hates it, so it must be a good idea” line that I saw a couple of sportswriters use. Granted, that might be a good laugh line, but it was usually stuck in the middle of the argument like a valid point.

  • Eric

    Chris Brown has a good Xs and Os post on why Tebow could actually help the Jets win next year. He ignores the outside factors too much (locker room, media, coaches), which ultimately tilts the odds against the Jets’ Tebow experiment, but for the reasons Chris outlines, it’s not totally crazy on the Jets’ part.

    • Joshua

      Yea, as a Mets fan, I’ve seen so many quality players come here, stink it up, leave, and do good. I bet Jason Bay would once again turn into a quality player if he got shipped to Arizona or Milwaukee. The media environment is a huge part of playing in this area.

      • R Johnston

        Jason Bay is a true butcher in the field, at best a DH, which is a large part of why it was ridiculous for the Mets to acquire him in the first place. Shipping him anywhere in the NL is not going to help him.

  • sg

    162 games in a baseball season and Ichiro has a terrible arm.

    • Thlayli

      Led AL rightfielders in Baserunner Kills twice, and was in the top 5 in five other years, plus one year in the centerfielders’ top 5.

      “Terrible” is a reach.

    • Jay B.

      Terrible is the exact opposite of what Ichiro’s arm offers. He throws lasers from right.

    • Anonymous

      There may well be aspects of his game that are legitimately overrated. This, however, is demonstrably crazy to anyone who a) has access to any actual statistical record of defensive performance, or b) has watched some quantity of baseball games played by the SEattle mariners in the last decade.

  • Steve S.

    And if the argument is that Tebow Just Wins Football Games, well, in that respect Sanchez is what Tebow is supposed to be.

    Yes, and as I remarked in another thread Tebow is joining a team where this trope is already a well-worn one. NFL’s best defense + good running game with the most gross yards in the league = the quarterback just knows how to win. It’s like they’re trying to corner the market. Funny thing, though, when the running game fell off quite a bit and the Jets fell to 8-8 and missed the playoffs all of a sudden Sanchez became a prima donna who just forgot how to win. These complex formulas for evaluating quarterback performance are quite bewildering to me.

    • Eric

      To be fair, part of the reason the Broncos had a great running game last year was because of Tebow. But it wasn’t just that he’s a good running QB. It’s because they got slaughtered early when they tried to rely on him throwing the ball, so they cobbled together a system that emphasized his strengths. A system that coincidentally helped Broncos’ RBs stats, as well.

      • Steve S.

        To be clear, I was referring more to the ’09 Jets than the ’11 Broncos, though some of the same general points apply to both.

        • Eric

          Oh I understood that. I was just riffing off your point to make a point about Tebow’s Broncos.

  • Dirk Gently

    I can’t figure out why everyone has to be so entrenched: his cheerleaders like zealots, his detractors full of smarm.

    1. I think we can all agree that the Jets brass has no idea what they’re doing. Why sign a QB as shaky as Sanchez to a huge contract BEFORE free agency, when everyone senses that Manning will be cut, and folks like Matt Flynn, Alex Smith and others could potentially be in flux? The Broncos dumping Tebow would have been very hard to foresee, but with those other factors, who knows, right?

    2. Even if Tebow ends up being good or great, it will take some time, and in the meantime they’re wasting a LOT of cash on Sanchez, and they have invited the circus to town.

    3. Tebow has baggage that goes WAY beyond what is reasonable. As a Bronco fan, I can’t tell you how relieved I am that he’s gone, for that reason alone–whatever his upside or how much fun last season was with him at the helm.

    4. Tebow has a weird windup that can’t be corrected, but his ability to read defenses and his footwork can be. He will never have a quick release, but he has decent velocity on the ball. He is horribly inaccurate on mid-range throws, but throws the deep ball not only well, but very well. Sanchez is mediocre everywhere, even while having all the “right” mechanics and defensive reading ability. Tebow may or may not develop into a reliable passer, but my sense is that his upside is greater. But RIGHT NOW he’s a pretty poor QB.

    5. Denver’s in great shape regardless: they are pretty young everywhere except QB and CB. If Manning underperforms or becomes injured, then it will still be worth the gamble, because (1) the guaranteed money is low; (2) a tanked season would put them in the running for Matt Barkley; (3) they might draft Tannehill or Weedon this year regardless, and develop that talent; (4) they got decent value for Tebow, they’ve got the city and team excited, and the circus has left town. If, on the other hand, Manning is as good as he was in 2010, then they will almost certainly win the AFC West.

    • Sherm

      Although I abhor everything the man represents and I firmly believe that he lacks the skills required to be an effective NFL quarterback, I actually found myself rooting for the kid during (and then after) the Jets/Broncos game. He beat a top flight NFL defense with the same offense my flag football team ran in college. It was fascinating to watch.

    • Furious Jorge

      Tebow may or may not develop into a reliable passer, but my sense is that his upside is greater.

      But can he do it quickly enough?

      • Dirk Gently

        Almost certainly not, from the standpoint of the Jets or their fans.

  • Ken

    As a somewhat Bills fan, I’m truly glad to see the Jets sign Tebow. He will prove to be a cancer (not a word I use lightly) in their locker room.

  • Pith Helmet

    I admit to being very late to the thread, and have only read half the comments, but could someone kindly explain what a DVOA is, and why it’s important?

  • Jim Lynch

    This time of year especially, reading a take-down like that about another team makes the ongoing Barry Zito embezzlement from The San Francisco Giants a little easier to take.

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