If you’re a member of the somehow still thriving and breathing Tim Tebow lunatic fringe, I’d like you to please fasten your sanity cap while reading this post. OK, go.
It’s been known — or at least widely reported — for quite some time that the Jets will seek to trade Tebow this week as anyone who’s remotely important in the NFL gathers in Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine (no, I won’t be there). But if you needed some finality regarding those reports as executives begin to descend on Indy today, ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini passed this nugget along while running down the list of the Jets’ remaining offseason needs following yesterday’s purge:
The Jets will try to shop him at this week’s scouting combine. The first day they can trade him is March 12, so they might keep him until then with the hope that they can swing a deal. Chances are, no one will bite, so they’ll end up releasing him.
We agree, Richard. So, where will he play next then? Ummm, does your local rec league at the Y that’s run by Chain Smoker Lenny have an opening?
New Jets general manager John Idzik is merely doing his job by at least exploring a trade, and trying to get absolutely anything for his best punt protector. And hey, who knows, right (we do…we all know)? In a league where spread option offenses are quickly growing thanks to Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, and Russell Wilson, maybe there’s some faint hope that a GM who wants to be fired soon sees Tebow as a fit for such a role. But the difference between Tebow and those three is that while Kaepernick et al may arguably be more comfortable when they’re on the run, they can throw. And they can throw well, and they can throw deep.
Tebow can’t. Those who adore him so passionately can’t possibly look past his basic numbers. That’s a lie; I know they can, because we’re talking about the same people who actually cite the most useless and meaningless stat in all of sports, and remind us that Tebow has won more playoff games in Denver than Peyton Manning (PUNCHES SELF REPEATEDLY). But again, work with me here.
Tebow was deemed worse than Greg McElroy in New York, and passed over for a start once Mark Sanchez was mercifully pulled. Tebow’s career completion percentage over 14 starts is 47.9. If we take that percentage and put it among the lowliest of the lowly 2012 totals, it’s worse than the completion percentages of Ryan Lindley (52.0), Brady Quinn (56.9), and yes, Mark Sanchez (54.3). An essential element of being a quarterback still escapes Tebow: throwing.
The Jaguars were thought of as his last remaining refuge, a thought that was swiftly crushed by new general manager David Caldwell last month when he said “I can’t imagine a scenario where Tim Tebow would be a Jacksonville Jaguar.” That most likely leaves his NFL options at a nice round number: 0 (but, but…the Packers?)
Peter King agreed while using a fun cliché tied to Tebow’s rah rah-ness:
“I don’t hear anybody talking about Tebow. In order for Teobw to go to a team, someone will have to take a leap of faith that Tebow can be a fireman type of player, the type of player the Jets were supposed to have made out of him in 2012.”
Nobody pays anything of significance (and by that I mean any draft pick) for a faith-infused cheerleader whose face goes really, really red when he yells. That’s why Tebow has a better shot at gaining employment as an actual firefighter than a “fireman type of player,” whatever the hell that is.
What King adds quickly at the end of his Tebow assessment is blatantly wrong. He says that Tebow’s future and therefore his best chance to play quarterback for a living lies here in the home of mukluks. It’s a common, almost instinctive assumption that Tebow would head north, but if the same people making that assumption pause for a second and approach this with more basic instinct, they’ll realize that Tebow may be an even greater disaster in the CFL.
How, exactly, would a quarterback who can’t throw with any degree of strength or accuracy thrive in a pass-oriented league with a wider (65 yards) and longer (150 yards) field, three downs, and a larger ball? The excellent Andrew Bucholtz, editor of the 55 Yard-Line, wrote a thorough Tebow to the CFL takedown when the chatter percolated again in January. Even if we disregard his lack of accuracy, schematically it just doesn’t work:
It has to do with adjusting to the game. The CFL and NFL games are dramatically different, and that’s particularly true at quarterback; 12-a-side football with bigger fields, expanded motion, three downs and more receiver-heavy packages means that everything from route trees to blocking schemes to reads of defensive coverages changes substantially in the CFL. It takes time for players at any position to adjust to the Canadian game, but quarterbacks face the most difficult adjustment; for Americans, much of the coverage looks and route trees they’ve spent their entire careers learning don’t apply any more. This isn’t entirely new, either; even Doug Flutie, widely regarded as perhaps the greatest CFL player ever, had a dismal first season where he threw more interceptions (19) than touchdowns (16) and only completed 52.8 per cent of his passes. More recently, first-year quarterbacks have only received occasional starts, and that often hasn’t worked out. Look, the CFL is not just some NFL farm league; it’s a completely different game that requires different skillsets, and NFL success doesn’t always translate to CFL success (or vice versa). Even if Tebow does come north, we’re highly unlikely to see him as a day-one starter (or a year-one starter, for that matter) anywhere.
There’s still a very reasonable possibility that someone, somewhere, in some NFL outpost will take a no risk and highly affordable chance on Tebow once he’s released, hoping that they have a better plan in place to maximize what he does well (run, and only run) after the Jets’ attempt failed. But if that doesn’t happen, we may finally see #Tebowtime die forever.