Green Lantern: Memo To Jets: Tebow Is Many Things, But Loser Ain’t One Of Them

Forget His Stats, Much Beloved And Maligned QB Can Pose Big Problems

By Jeff Capellini,

NEW YORK (WFAN) — Say what you want about the phenomenon that is Tim Tebow, but he’s the best offensive player the Broncos currently have.

Is that an indictment against Denver, its personnel and its front office? That’s not for me to say, really. But what I will say is if the kid keeps this up, someone is going to owe someone else an apology.

I’m actually one of those people who could care less if Tebow worships a head of lettuce or if countless thousands go out and buy “Jesus” Broncos jerseys. The bottom line with him, at least from where I’m standing, is this is a kid with terrific upside and a guy who has found a way to do positive things on the field, in the face of an often unruly mob that despises him for reasons that I have a hard time getting my head around.

Now, his success hasn’t come in the form of gaudy statistics, but as a starter he’s 3-1, which is a hell of a lot better than 1-4, the record the Broncos had while he was just a theory.

When Tebow led the Broncos over the Dolphins in his first NFL start back in Week 7 people conveniently called it a fluke. Then when he was on the losing end of a 45-10 pasting by the Lions the following week those same people, plus many, many others, wanted Pat Bowlen to just admit he was making a mockery of the quarterback position, starting a guy that simply had no business wearing an NFL uniform other than as perhaps a “wildcat” option.

Ah, but fast forward two more weeks. Back-to-back wins over the Raiders and Chiefs have the Broncos now, unbelievably, right in the thick of the AFC West race. And though Tebow won’t be voted into a Pro Bowl any time soon, he appears to already have that great intangible so many NFL quarterbacks strive for but few truly attain.

He’s got guts.

So now it’s the Jets’ turn to face Tebow, a player equally loved and hated league-wide for reasons that depend on whether you actually care about everything that doesn’t have to do with how the game is played on the field. On Thursday night they will go into Denver off a brutal loss and likely with a rather large chip on their shoulders. Conventional wisdom would suggest suddenly beleaguered head coach Rex Ryan will be able to develop some kind of plan to keep Tebow the scrambling quarterback under wraps and force Tebow the largely inaccurate and inexperienced passer to actually try to beat the Jets’ ball-hawking secondary.

That would be my blueprint as well because though the Jets have well-documented problems actually sacking quarterbacks, most notably the good ones and especially when the team really needs it, they seem to do a very good job at containment. When the Jets have played the spy game, as in a linebacker shadowing a running back or would-be running quarterback, they have been highly effective.

And Tebow will run without a second’s hesitation.

Since being named the Broncos’ starter, Tebow has rushed 39 times for 289 yards, averaging 7.4 per carry. He prolongs drives and creates further opportunities to do his thing while keeping opposing offenses off the field. The Jets’ run defense, be it against actual backs or running quarterbacks, has improved following a very shaky first five games, allowing just 3.7 yards per carry over their last four, including just 2.1 against the Patriots on Sunday night.

If the Jets clog the middle of the field, which worked very successfully against the Bills and Fred Jackson a few weeks ago, Tebow should not have many places to run. They have to dare him to stretch the field with his arm. Tebow’s inaccuracy is well documented, as he’s completed just 45 percent of his throws. But please keep in mind that he has this tendency to lull  defenses to sleep with his legs before uncorking the deep ball. Tebow has thrown just one interception in 95 attempts, registering six touchdowns along the way. Using fictitious boxing acumen, he may see three of ’em out there most of the time, but he’ll occasionally hit the one in the middle.

Why am I giving this kid so much respect and analyzing him like he’s an elite quarterback? Because, like I said earlier, he has the will to be very good, and when players have that will, they usually find a way.

Tebow really is on an island by himself. Because he’s proud of his religion he’s taken a massive hit from all those who think there should be a separation between certain churches and the NFL’s intolerant state. But yet every time he’s been made fun of for his off-the-field missions or has been assumed to be done before he’s really started as a player or ill-equipped physically or chastised for not being the prototypical quarterback, he’s found a way to, again, will himself to positive performances.

I don’t care who your God is, but a guy like this should be admired on some level, even if from afar.

On the other side of the coin, the Jets really need to find their own inner will to win, because the disaster against the Patriots likely all but assured that if they do make the playoffs they’ll once again have to switch into road warrior mode. New England could very well run the table the rest of the way because its schedule is very forgiving. Only an act of perhaps Tebow’s God will put the Jets in a position to win the AFC East.

But like the Patriots, the Jets’ schedule is getting softer, at least on paper and especially over the next four weeks. After the Broncos they host the Bills, who appear to be one more good shellacking from finishing below .500 after a 5-2 start. The Jets then go to Washington, a team that has currently lost five straight and has managed to score just 20 points over its last three games. Then in Week 13 the Jets get the Chiefs, who likely are done now that quarterback Matt Cassel may be out for the rest of the season with a serious hand injury.

The Jets simply have no excuses. They must be 9-4 heading into their Dec. 18 game at Philadelphia, which in the preseason looked like one of the NFL regular season’s marquee matchups. However, if things continue to go in the direction they have been going for both, that game could be more like the “Bust Bowl.”

The Broncos will unleash Willis McGahee and others out of their largely unspectacular backfield. They will look to get impressive wide receiver Eric Decker involved early and often. They will turn to a defense that has only occasionally had its moments, but will be especially pumped up in front of what is always a raucous Invesco Field crowd.

But at the end of the day, whether half of the NFL universe likes it or not, the Broncos’ chances hinge on Tebow.

And if the Jets don’t show some semblance of what was expected rather than what is, they could be in for quite the battle.

One that could bring their season to its knees.

Read more columns by Jeff Capellini

Do you think Tebow is the real deal? Would you be surprised if he has success against the Jets? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Master Shake

    I’m not a religious guy, and I hope the Jets destroy the Broncos, but I have to say that Tim Tebow has more guts than anyone in the league, and I wish people would just leave the poor guy alone. In league comprised of murderers, sex offenders, spouse abusers, drug dealers, and psychopathic dog killers, it seems funny that a religious guy is the one who gets ridiculed and mocked.

  • Kristine Reese

    Im terrified of this game and I am usually obnoxiously positive and hopeful. I am such a believer in Tebow for all the reasons you have isn’t stated. You cannot underestimate what the mind can do.

    • Kristine


  • Steeve Cantave

    I don’t like the phrase “will to win” since for the most part, it tends to mislead the audience. When someone mentions Jordan’s will to win, I think about the fact that he can bring his already grand talent to another level. When people mention Tebow’s will to win, it has more to do with the fact that you really can’t point to something that he does well that enables his team to win games. Yes, he’s a good runner, but it’s only because his a qb. Even though I’m not a fan of Trent Dilfer, but I thoroughly agree with him when he says that “will to win, video junkie, etc.” are meant to compliment the position of quarterback. When you are evaluating a quarterback, you mention things such as: makes all throws, good mechanics, accurate, etc. Dilfer is totally write in that sense, because who cares if you watch videos all day but yet you can’t be accurate outside of 10 yards. Peyton Manning is great, because he is almost everything you need in a qb: can make all throws, accurate, loves studying, pays attention to details, etc.

  • Mike M

    Tebow is the anti-Sanchez. He moves the chains and finds the end zone, mostly by himself.

    • Lantern

      Mike M, thanks for the comment, but talk to me when Tebow first gets to 50 percent completion rate and then leads his team to a playoff win, let alone four. Sanchez moves the sticks just fine. This mindless inciting of the Jets fan thing is old and busted, bro.

      • Mike M

        Tebow’s completion is 45%, he’ll be at 50 before the season ends. Not trying to incite Jets fans, I just don’t think Sanchez is any good. The whole point of your article is Tebow is a winner, I agree. The guy knows how to win football games, a playoff win is coming, guaranteed.

  • steve

    and when the Jets win, this writer will be saying the wins wasn’t much to write home about, it was only Teboiw.

    • Lantern

      Steve, thanks for the comment, but you really are misinformed. I wouldn’t take 1,300 or whatever words to warn Jets Nation about a certain player only to downplay his possibly good performance next week if he actually did many of the things I advised people of. I’ll grant you that many beat writers are jaded, but this guy is not one of them.

  • BleacherCreature26

    trap game for the jets.. TEBOW IS FOR REAL

    • Lantern

      Thanks for the comment BleacherCreature. I would agree this is a trap game, but really only if the Jets had won last week. To say so now would be to assume that the Jets are better than they really are. Do they think so? I’m not sure. But I do think there’s many a Jets fan out there who at this point doesn’t take any opponent for granted.

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  • mike dayem

    good morning listen what i got say tim tebow think he play miami dolphins .ny jets is not miami dolphins .i hate a quarterback go church and pray to god and he think he going win game .only tim tebow beat ny jets mark sanchez mess up in game .

    • Trix

      Mr. Dayem,what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • Lantern

        Trix, good comment. Mike Dayem is entitled to his opinion and I think he deserves credit for sticking to his own belief that many sports fans despise the whole notion of athletes touting their religion on the field of battle. That was partially what I was getting at in the column. He may not have expressed it as clearly as you would have liked, but I think he does speak for a LOT of people. I say, judge the player, not the man. Until he does something truly against the public’s collective morality, like being arrested, for example, you just have to deal with what you don’t like personally. Ultimately, a player’s performance is what he’s truly measured by, and right now Tebow is impressing a lot of people, even if he’s doing it in a very unorthodox manner.

  • Time to come out, Bill Muray!​hronicler/bill-murray-is

    Until Bill Murray comes out of the shadows to speak, I will be spreading the word. I believe Bill Murray is dying….even after the Clemson game. This website explains everything.

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