New Grantland: Tim Tebow and the Jets

You can find it over at Grantland:

This is exactly the role Tebow should have had in the NFL from day one. Former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels famously traded up to draft Tebow in the first round, an exceedingly high spot for a player that is, and remains, a work in progress. Although it was preposterous when so-called scouts and experts claimed that Tebow should have been converted into a tight end or halfback (he will succeed or fail as a quarterback, the position he has played his entire life), it also was apparent that he needed to make significant progress in a variety of areas to be an effective NFL quarterback. Despite the tenor of the debates, in the NFL player evaluation is less about black-and-whites than it is about shades of grey and the interplay of two factors: roles and value.

Read the whole thing. This was originally intended to be a quick piece but it kind of ballooned out (the subject will do it to you). I do think it’s important to this story that Rex Ryan has been around football for a long time — and his Dad obviously even longer — so the calculus of the quarterback-as-run-threat is not lost on him. But of course Tebow’s long term success will be driven by his ability to read defenses and locate receivers more quickly than he has been able to so far.

  • RonFCCC

    I read your article “Why Tebow Should Work with the New York Jets” on, but was unable to post a comment there due to their requirement of doing so by Facebook. Here is my comment:

    Thanks for a thoughtful, rational analysis. With all the overhyped superficiality that most Tebow articles display, your article is a breath of fresh air. Thanks!

  •  a big +1 to that

  • Jeremy Arnold

    This is a solid article.  However, I disagree with the idea that Tebow doesn’t read defenses well.  When watching him last year, it seemed to me that he was fine at making the correct reads, but he was tentative about actually delivering the ball.

    When he did throw, perhaps fearing the lightening quick ability of NFL defensive backs to break on the ball, he tried to play things overly safe.  If the receiver didn’t catch the ball, he wanted to make sure no one else could, either.  That was the cause of his low completion percentage, but also his fairly low INT numbers.  So Tebow’s struggles as a passer may be more about mechanics and confidence in his throws more than Tebow not being “smart enough” to read defenses (not your words, but so many commentators try to make this claim).

    Tebow as a “Wildcat” QB and situational player who can take the field alongside Sanchez and then line up in multiple positions seems like a smart move to me.  The Zone Read is a natural fit for the NFL offenses, IMO, because everyone in the league bases off of zone plays from multiple receiver formations anyway, and it’s not surprising that the Broncos seemed to have more success last year when running zone reads than the straight handoffs they still preferred to base their running game out of.  The zone reads were also more effective than their laughable, sparse attempts at “option football” (occasional veers and speed option).

    However, the prospect of Tebow paired up with some legit Jet Sweep threats and an OC who understands the compliments that the Jet action can open up, could be very interesting to watch.  I am looking forward to seeing what Sparano does with him.

  • Last season was an anomaly due to the lockout. Ryan still noticed the effect Broncos gameplanning had on teams. Now he can have two game plans in action every week, and one of them installs quickly and is a different look, one that a lot of college players now have experience with, so if you bring in new players you can work them in quickly with those aims.

    That means they have less time to study up the Sanchez plan as well, and he has boot offense ability that can be an element of a tebow game plan as well. Some of things they could do could transfer, and still have unique items in their sets.

    Now when Denver had to expand and they flirted with the option, fumbles could result. You had better commit to it, the Jets have had slash-type players of recent and TonyS. can coach those kind plans up with the addition of an unbalanced line.

    IMO the main thing setting New York back at the time has been lackluster output at the tight end spot for a player they drafted highly. He has downfield ability but is a bit too finesse. They need the in line Y to set the edge and establish the play passing and boot game from. Maybe they get the same now off motion and zone reads, but the team should really think of adding a Gronk type at the position like the Stanford or Miami draft prospects. Big guys who can also move around some, so they can set the edge with the young presence and move around before the snap with their veteran.