Grading Tim Tebow Through Six Games With the Jets
Tim Tebow’s role with the New York Jets has been perhaps the only issue discussed more than the presidential election this year. But after 6 weeks, NFL Soup thinks it’s time for a progress report. Are the Jets utilizing him correctly? Is there more to come? Is Mark Sanchez safe?
A few things are clear: Mark Sanchez is the Jets starting quarterback. And teams are preparing for Tebow before they play the Jets. And Tony Sparano is not afraid to put Tebow almost anywhere on the field.
Thus far, Tebow’s greatest value has been on special teams. On two occasions, he has converted a fake punt into a first down, giving the Jets a new element and sparking its offense. This role seems natural for the gifted athlete Tebow is. He is not getting pushed around on legit special teams plays, and he provides at least a decoy, if not a tool to complete a trick or two. Grade: A
We’ve seen Tebow block on a few occasions and rather effectively. They’re not sending tape of his blocking to Canton, but fundamentally he’s been sound and has yet to get beat. Grade: B
We’ve seen Tebow run the ball some, though not much. Jets fans envisioned Tebow scrambling inside the 10, the way he did against Gang Green last year for a winning score, but we haven’t seen many scoring attempts from the backup QB. He’s broken a couple of decent runs and when he does, he provides energy to a struggling offense. Grade: C+
We’ve seen Tebow line up at WR. He was targeted once, but because his timing was off, he got plunked on the coconut. Grade: Incomplete (but not promising)
We’ve seen Tebow under center only a few times, throwing only one pass (besides the fake punt against the Colts) which was caught and immediately fumbled. It’s clear the Jets don’t want him throwing the ball often, and we don’t blame them. Grade: Incomplete
So how do you classify Tim Tebow? Instead of the phrase “backup quarterback” think of the baseball term “utility man.” Tebow seems happy to contribute, even if he hasn’t yet been a main player on the Jets’ stage.
But we envision a change for Tebow, perhaps as early as this week. Shonn Greene, despite his career-high 161 yards versus the Colts, stands to be without his backups Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight this week. We predict 15-20 snaps for Tebow against the Patriots.
It would make sense if Rex Ryan saved his best wrinkles for their fiercest rival and unquestioned barrier to a division title. So we might see the flash and glitter we’ve anticipated all season anyway. But we think Tebow will run the ball a lot this week – either in the option or as a third-down back. Assume he’ll be a decoy pretty often too, particularly with Sanchez’s favorite target Dustin Keller healthy again.
The Jets, beat up on both sides of the ball are entering territory where Tebow can become savior/legend again. Not as their quarterback, but as their utility man and spark off the bench. Based on talent, experience, and injury, the Jets are going to have to be creative and flexible in all aspects of the game to make any kind of run this season.
What better guy to captain your all-creative team than Tim Tebow?