What Will Tim Tebow’s Role be in New York?
After a delay of a few days due to language in his contract, Tim Tebow is officially a New York Jet and met the New York media on Monday.
Tebow will now be the #2 quarterback behind Mark Sanchez, but head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum have suggested Tebow will be a significant part of the team’s Wildcat offense under new offensive coordinator (and former Miami Dolphins head coach) Tony Sparano. Ryan suggested recently that Tebow could play up to 20 snaps a game as part of the Wildcat, which would clearly cut into Sanchez’s playing time significantly if it comes to fruition. The Wildcat is largely considered to be a passing (if not already past) fad in NFL circles, but at this point the Jets seem set on trying to make it a part of their offense in 2012.
Leaving any outside pressure to start Tebow ahead of Sanchez aside, and assuming Sanchez is able to play well and hold onto the starting job, there are plenty of possibilities for how Tebow could be used by the Jets. Tannenbaum has even suggested if Sanchez struggles, a sort of “hot hand” situation could evolve where both signal callers see playing time.
Let’s take a look at how Tebow could be used by the Jets in a couple of possible scenarios.
Tebow On Offense
Tebow’s limitations as a passer are well-known, but his running ability would seem to make him a good fit for situations where the Jets want to deploy the Wildcat offense. It is possible Tebow would replace Sanchez and run the Wildcat in short-yardage and goalline situations in particular at first, and depending on the success or failure of it opponents could see more of it as a game goes on. Of course there is always the possibility Sanchez struggles early in the season and ultimately cedes the full-time starting job to Tebow, at which point all bets could be off for how the Jets’ offense would look.
Tebow is ultimately a talented football player despite his lack of traditional quarterback skills, so it is possible he could see time at other positions as the Jets’ coaches look to maximize his impact on their offense. Tebow could be used as a running back in certain situations, or even used in a h-back/tight end type of role if he can become usable as a pass-catching threat. This scenario would mean Sanchez stays on the field, and the threat of Tebow as a passer for better or worse could create some headaches for opposing defenses.
Tebow On Special Teams
Using Tebow on special teams may seem a bit far-fetched, but current ESPN analyst and former Jets head coach Eric Mangini outlined in a recent segment how the Jets used former wide receiver/quarterback/kick returner Brad Smith as an upback on the punt team with some success. Smith provided a threat to run or pass in fake punt situations, and Mangini broke down the tape on a couple plays where a fake was successful.
Jets’ special teams coach Mike Westhoff may see the potential of deploying Tebow similar to how he used Smith, and that would at minimum create another opportunity to get Tebow on the field. It may come down to Tebow’s willingness to play on special teams, but that should not be a major issue if the Jets’ coaches feel like he can help the team.
How Tebow is used, and assuming he does not take over as the Jets starting quarterback at some point, may only be limited by the imagination of the Jets’ coaching staff. His strengths and weaknesses are readily apparent at this point, and it will be the responsibility of everyone involved to find ways to use him in ways that maximize the things he does best. If the Jets win more games in 2012 and Tebow contributes significantly to that success, everything that seems destine to occur outside of the organization in regard to “Tebow Mania” will not matter.