Tim Tebow’s Presence Gives Jets’ Offense Options

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Each time Tim Tebow steps on the field for the New York Jets, defenses will know what to expect.

Well, the unexpected, of course.

The versatile and elusive quarterback with the flair for dramatic victories was acquired Wednesday from the Denver Broncos and will give the Jets’ offense a boost — for at least a few snaps a game.

“Instead of a team just preparing for our base offense, they will have to prepare for what we do and what we may do,” coach Rex Ryan said at LSU’s pro day Thursday in Baton Rouge, La.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum speaks out on the trade

Tebow, who arrived at the Jets’ facility in Florham Park, N.J., for the first time Thursday afternoon, won’t start as he did in Denver, not with New York committed to Mark Sanchez. But Tebow gives the Jets the option to run offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s wildcat offense — the one that confused teams while in Miami with the Dolphins — and provides an intriguing presence when games are on the line.

“Tim is an outstanding football player, and we can use him,” Ryan said. “He’ll fit our wildcat package. As a defensive coach, I know how hard it is to defend the wildcat. We can take it to another level with Tim. We will have things for Tebow each week.”

Consider that fair warning.

“What we’ve seen from him, you’ve got to watch every time he’s in there,” Jets defensive end Mike DeVito said. “He has the ability to throw the ball and a great ability to run the ball, so any role we put him in, it’ll keep defenses on their toes.”

DeVito and the rest of the Jets know that from experience. Tebow led a 95-yard winning touchdown drive against New York last November, scoring on a 20-yard scramble with less than a minute remaining. That set off a string of stirring comebacks as the Broncos rode Tebow’s incredible late-game play — despite his ugly mechanics and passing stats — all the way to the playoffs, including an overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening round.

Long before all that, Tebow already had developed a faithful following that overlooked his flaws and focused on his leadership and ability to come through in the clutch. He’s bringing those same qualities to New York, but he’ll be in a different role.

“They want me to come in and compete and get better, and get better as a quarterback and to help the team any way possible,” Tebow said Wednesday night. “Whatever that role is, I will do my best every time I step on that field and give my heart and soul.”

Sanchez will get the snaps as the starting quarterback, and Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum have told anyone who’ll listen that he is their unquestioned No. 1 guy under center.

“Mark is a great competitor,” Ryan said. “He’s our starting quarterback. We’re incredibly fortunate to have two young quarterbacks with playoff experience and playoff wins. Mark has taken us to two AFC championship games in three years. That speaks volumes about him. He is just hitting his stride.”

But Sanchez also is coming off a shaky season in which he had as many touchdown passes as turnovers: 26. His decision-making and leadership came under fire by fans, media and even some anonymous players in the offseason. After a quick flirtation with the idea of chasing Peyton Manning, the Jets issued a huge vote of confidence to Sanchez by giving him a three-year contract extension.

But less than two weeks later, New York traded for Tebow — a player with a rock-star persona and an impressive resume smattered with comeback wins. Just how secure Sanchez’s job is remains to be seen once he throws his first interception or has a bad drive. But what the Jets envision is Sanchez leading the offense and Tebow running the wildcat formation when they need a spark.

“If our offense is sputtering, and we have, say, three three-and-outs, and we roll this out there and it’s successful, who knows?” Tannenbaum said on Thursday. “I think it will just depend on the game and the situation.”

Third-and-long? Put Tebow in to make defenses dare him to throw.

Fourth-and-goal? Try to tackle the guy, who’s built more like a fullback at 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds.

Oh, he’s in the wildcat, which Sparano so adores? Well, defenses need to decide if he’s going to take off running, hand it off or catch defensive backs napping with a toss over their heads.

“We think we can have explosive plays out of that package as well,” Tannenbaum said.

So, it could be five snaps a game. Or, seven. Maybe even nine or 10. One thing’s for sure: Tebow gives the Jets their first true multipurpose threat since Brad Smith, who left as a free agent last offseason.

“Excited about the tebow trade,” wide receiver Jeremy Kerley wrote on Twitter. “It’s obvious tht he’s a winner and thts Wht we need!”

For a team that was done in last season by distractions and disharmony, Tebow’s addition would appear to do little more than add to an already volatile situation. There are times Sanchez will have to come off the field when Tebow jogs onto it, something that won’t please the ultra-competitive quarterback heading into his fourth season. Ryan, though, insists Tebow and Sanchez can co-exist — and win together.

“Tim gives us another competitor,” Ryan said. “I love Tim’s competitiveness. He’ll fit in with our team. There will be no problem at all. We care about our team first and foremost. Those two guys are just like that.”

The Jets currently have four quarterbacks on their roster — Sanchez, Tebow, recently signed Drew Stanton and Greg McElroy. Stanton signed with New York to be the No. 2 but wants out now that Tebow is here. Tannenbaum made it clear that Tebow will be Sanchez’s backup, serving in the role veteran Mark Brunell held the last two seasons.

“Brunell was more like a coach, and now Mark’s going to have like a brother in there, someone he can lean on and someone he can grow with — and they can grow together at the position,” DeVito said. “So, I think Mark is going to be excited.”

The possibilities certainly make the Jets excited. After all, Ryan is determined to go back to the run-first, “Ground-and-Pound” approach that made them so successful in his first two seasons as coach. With Tebow on board, the Jets just might have gotten the perfect addition for Ryan’s master plan.

“What we’ve become,” Tannenbaum said while announcing the deal Wednesday night, “is a diverse, more dynamic offense that’s going to make it more difficult for opposing teams to defend.”


AP Freelance Writer Bryan Lazare in Baton Rouge, La., contributed to this report.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Alex

    Kiefer? Enough said.

    Doug: In actuality what TT ran ion Denver s not really the Wild Cat. I am not a FB coach but i do know who ussually runs a wild cat offense…usually a super quick return man not a lumbering QB. Tebo has the lowest passing percentage in the universe. No one will convince me that the Jets should have TT under center rather than Mark Sanchez. God forbid Sanchez gets hurt and we end up with TT under center for every game. What a nightmare! Being a jet fanfor a long time i remember when Vinny T tore his achiles tendon in 1999 in the first game of the season and we had to deal with our crap second string QB…it was a horrible season to have to sit through. And believe me our back up QB (Rick Mirer) was a way more competant QB than TT.

  • Jimmy

    WILDCAT is a FUGAZZI offense.!!!>
    imagine Tom Brady , Rogers, or Drew Brees running this???
    give me a break….
    they got TEBOW for one reason…
    SELLING TICKETS, PSL’S AND MERCHANDISE… and to make a huge splash and get headlines because the JETS cant stand that the Giants are a class organization who knows how to run a team and win championships… , they will try any pathetic move to try and upstage them, when the exact opposite always happens…, and this coming from a Jets fan of 30+ years.

  • Elmo33

    This Guy has Heart,He never gives up. Maybe it will rub off on the rest of the team.

  • Alex

    The writer Bryan Lazare must be stoned out of his mind! This is a ridiculous trade that makes no football sense. You have to be kidding me! So let me understand this; Sanchez will drive the length of the field and then give the ball to Tebow to QB sneak or Wildcat hios way into the end zone? What a dopey move…By the way whoever wrote this article needs to learn how to read a stat book. He did not have the same number of turn overs as touch downs…not close. Sorry but you come off as a fool. This is a huge blunder for the jets…one more in a long series of blunders. This could set the Jets back 10 years. This team did not have to make this panick move. They are a good team who had a bad year and have some holes to fill. How about shoring up that Offensive line?! How about a safety who can stay on the field? How about a running back?!!?!

    Wake up WFAN do not take any freelance article you can find. this writewr is clearly lost!

    • Doug

      lets look at what the owners and couches want for there offense,
      both have said that they would like to see a wild cat type playbook ran.
      so if you were looking to fill a QB spot with a player who could run that type of playbook , and there isnt that many who can,
      who would you have picked up?
      i know how about a QB who is a fullback who can run and sometimes pass,
      TT was made for this, he is also one of a couple players who understands this type play, he mastered it in college and it takes away allot of his faults.
      as far as sanchez goes he needs to go to a team that runs a west coast type offense were he would do very well, and is much better suited for his type of play, as long as he is in NY he will face the same type of problems TT has faced, and that’s a system that doesn’t fit them at all.

    • Jimmy

      ALex, coulndt have said it better myself.. everything you said is right on…, and who is REX kidding when he says its so hard to defend the wildcat., is he kidding me!.?
      the wildcat is no longer effective like it was when first came out. and just about every other team has abandoned it because of this reason.. but the JETS are the ones who are going to make this work..????
      this is going to divide this locker room even furhter , if that was even possible!…what a JOKE this head coach and CO. have become..

    • Keifer

      Moron, try understanding how Wildcat offense works, it isn’t designed to come in when Sanchez drives the length of the field….it is to be placed when they are only in tough situations……….if Sanchez drives the length of the field and isn’t having a hard time, like you just stated then you keep Sanchez in and run the plays….but if he can’t get the ball rolling on 1st and 2nd down then you bringing Tebow and the wildcat…….understand now or want me to draw you a picture?

  • Doug

    this is probably the best trade for both TT and the jets.
    just look at what the owners and couching really want to see in a offense,
    and thats the wild cat,
    who better to run that type of play book then TT,? he mastered it in college and will face the same type of defensive sets that he seen in college which will help him tremendously.

    as far as sanchaz goes he would be better off being traded for a team that runs the west cost type of playbook as that suits him a lot better, as the couches and owners have said the future of the team is in a wild cat set .
    TT may never be a great west cost type passer , but in a wild cat he comes into his own,
    there just isnt a QB out there who has or could run it better.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live