Jets Originally Wanted to Use Tim Tebow at Running Back?
While the New York Jets misuse of quarterback Tim Tebow is well documented, there is more interesting news involving the two sides. According to USA Today, head coach Rex Ryan and former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano originally planned to use Tebow “at running back in traditional sets” when they first acquired him in a trade with the Denver Broncos last off-season.
Obviously that never came to fruition, although few can forget that the team was admittedly open to the idea near the middle of the season, when the Jets were dangerously thin at tailback due to injuries. The Jets never made the move to switch Tebow from quarterback to running back, however, and instead ended up phasing him out of the offense, altogether.
The main question, as USA Today pointed out, is why did it never happen?
Perhaps Sparano didn’t believe in Tebow the running back. Or maybe the Jets saw enough in practice to suggest Tebow couldn’t hack it as a true running back. Or perhaps initially, they wanted to keep him at quarterback to put some much-needed pressure on Mark Sanchez.
But as we all know, if any of those angles were the reason, they all back-fired. Sanchez imploded in what is now a lost season, and Sparano’s vanilla offense was predictable and ineffective for the majority of 2012, leading to his eventual firing.
There is also the notion that Tebow simply wouldn’t convert to running back. Perhaps New York asked him if he’d do it, and he stuck to his “I want to be a quarterback” guns and wouldn’t do it.
You can’t really fault him for that, as he did just end the previous season with a wild card playoff upset over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and had shown some potential in a wild run with the Broncos.
On the flip-side, it’d be interesting to find out the real reason Tebow was so misused, and on top of his misuse, why he wasn’t tested as a true running back. After all, his best skill in the game of football is his running ability, and combined with his size, strength, power and toughness, a move to a hybrid running back position would, in all respects, make a ton of sense.
Maybe Tebow’s hands weren’t good enough to be counted on in the flat. Maybe his pass protection wasn’t good enough. Perhaps when he lined up as a true running back, his lack of elite speed was magnified.
No one knows, and considering that the Jets are mum on Tebow’s future with the team and have been secretive all along about his exact role, it’s fair to say we’ll never know.