Tim Tebow is quite good at running with a football, but has the throwing mechanics of a man who just watched Michelle Jenneke do her warm-up routine, and has therefore lost his core motor skills. This is common knowledge, and although his throwing is surely improving as skills should with coaching, that won’t be his primary function with the Jets when he’s deployed as the captain of their offensive wildcat trickery.
He’ll throw the ball on occasion, but the Jets and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano will surely cater to Tebow’s skillset when he enters a game, just as Denver did. He’ll be running the option, and often just running.
But although we’ve heard that Tebow could make up to 20 appearances in a game, until yesterday we didn’t have a concrete hint as to when exactly #tebowtime would be for the Jets, and what kind of game situations would call for a Jesus sighting. It seems Tebow time will also be scoring time.
That’s what ESPN’s Rich Cimini wrote after speaking to his sources:
Team insiders say the plan is to use Tebow in the red zone, where they can replace Sanchez with another player/blocker to bolster the running game.
Makes sense, right? Tebow is already a running back in a linebacker’s body, and he still brings the threat of a throw, albeit a small one. And if you throw an extra blocker in front of him, pounding through a hole becomes a pretty simple and appealing strategy.
Until it isn’t.
There’s some angst towards Mark Sanchez in New York, which is understandable. He’s been inconsistent, and although there’s been moments of brilliance, through three seasons he has yet to fulfill his upside. Fair enough, but when he’s on the bench in the red zone and replaced by Tebow, the numbers heavily favor a winning situation for the defense, not the Jets.
With Tebow under center, the amount of telegraphing being done by the offense is massive. The communication through Tebow’s presence alone is huge, and the extra blocker yells the message even louder. They’re going to run, and everyone knows it.
At it’s core, the battle between the offense and defense is often one of deception. If Tebow is in the game near the opposing end zone with very little field to work with, the element of surprise is almost completely absent. As Pat Kirwin from CBS Sports notes, Tebow’s running ability in the red zone doesn’t come close to offsetting Sanchez’s superior arm as he sits on the sideline.
The strategy is puzzling when you consider that more teams score in the red zone throwing than running. Last year there were 342 rushing touchdowns and 492 passing touchdowns in the red zone.
Mark Sanchez threw 21 of his 26 touchdown passes in the red zone and only threw three interceptions. Is Tim Tebow going to run for 21 touchdowns in the red zone?
The counter argument is that the red zone in its entirety is casting a wide net for Tebow’s usage, and he should likely instead be brought in when the Jets are closer, and inside the 10-yard line. That’s when using his bulk to push through the line and run for a touchdown is far more realistic.
Sure it is. But Sanchez can run for a TD just as easily, and as Kirwan also observed, he’s done that often.
During his career inside the 10, Sanchez has rushed 15 times for 11 touchdowns. Tim Tebow has rushed 11 times for 9 touchdowns.
So is there really enough difference to take the starting quarterback out of the game every time it’s a red zone situation?
The Tebow gadgetry will work, and there are situations in which he’ll excel and keep defenses off balance. But if he’s deployed with any kind of consistency in the red zone, the odds don’t favor the Jets.
And now the links part of the links post…
- If Matt Kalil wants to start a good ol’ donnybrook with Jared Allen in training camp, he should hold him, or grab his facemask. [PFT]
- The next time you need equal doses of arrogance and ignorance at your dinner party, grab a bottle of Keyshawn Johnson’s wine. [Wine Spectator]
- There’s nothing like another mini scandal to throw onto the heaping, steaming cesspool that is college football. Good job, Hakeem Nicks. [Charlotte Observer]
- The Michael Vick narrative creation machine has been churning at warp speed. [Bleeding Green Nation]
- Serious contract talks between the Jaguars and Justin Blackmon have been slow, but that should hopefully, maybe, probably change very soon. [Big Cat Country]
- If Dez Bryant is punished heavily as a result of his alleged domestic violence earlier this week, everyone involved will pay a price. [Blogging the Boys]
- Rex Ryan hasn’t been eating nearly as many god damn snacks. He’s lost over 100 pounds. [USA Today]
- It probably isn’t a good idea for prominent politicians to be making comparisons between NFL players and war veterans. [The Associated Press]
- It’s quite refreshing to hear an athlete say that they played for the money, instead of god, especially when it’s Brett Favre. While he’s high, mighty, and righteous, god doesn’t pay well. [Larry Brown Sports]