Westhoff: Jets’ Handling Of Tebow Was ‘An Absolute Mess’
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Tell us how you really feel, Mike.
Recently retired Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff sounded off Friday on New York’s handling of backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
“It was a mess,” Westhoff told WQAM radio in Miami. “It was an absolute mess. You can say (it) however else you want, it was really a mess. I was very, very disappointed.”
Westhoff said he expected to see Tebow lined up as an all-threat running back, fullback, tight end and quarterback.
He further elaborated on his point when speaking with WFAN host Mike Francesa on Friday afternoon.
Listen to the full interview:
“You can say it however you want,” Westhoff told Francesa. “It was a disappointment. And the whole thing — whatever phrase you want to use, the mess or whatever — it’s a shame. Nobody expected it to go that way. For him, or for us, or any of us. And so knowing him as I got to know him, it was very disappointing. Very disappointing.”
He ended up serving as a part-time — if you could call it that — quarterback and punt protector on special teams. Westhoff said Tebow’s role on his unit was “really only going to be like 1 percent.”
“Most of the stuff he did for me, he did outstanding. But it was supposed to only be a fraction — and it ended up being his only role,” Westhoff said. “That was very disappointing.”
Westhoff did reveal that Tebow was an exceptionally hard worker, and that he thoroughly enjoyed having him on the team.
“I absolutely loved him,” Westhoff said. “I have tremendous respect for him. … He’d come into my office at night and he’d be drawing plays on the board of things he liked to do. I enjoyed listening to him talk about his college career and things that happened wherever. And I never once … you know, he’d be the first one on the field, the last one off. So for it to go awry, that was obviously very disappointing.”
Tebow completed six of eight passes for 39 yards and had 32 carries for 102 yards in 2012. He never found the end zone, and was passed over for third-stringer Greg McElroy when the Jets decided to pull the plug on starter Mark Sanchez.
Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was fired this week for a punchless offense that never fully incorporated Tebow. His scheme certainly never came close to what was described by Westhoff.
“I don’t think anybody’s ever answered that question. Why didn’t we do it?” said Westhoff. “I honestly don’t know. I know we didn’t practice it, we didn’t practice it in training camp. We were going to unveil it. Well, I’m still waiting for the unveiling.”
Westhoff, who wouldn’t rule out a return to coaching, insisted that while Tebow isn’t a typical quarterback, he could be “outstanding” when used in “a lot of different facets.”
“It was a distraction and really a shame,” he said. “Because that’s a hard-working young man if you ever saw one. Believe me.”
Westhoff later clarified to Francesa that he wasn’t labeling Tebow himself as a distraction.
“I have to say this, with the distraction,” Westhoff said. “I think, maybe, being outside of it maybe was a distraction. Being there every day, I never saw it as a distraction … Maybe guys said certain things, I couldn’t answer that. But I think everybody respected that young man and how he worked … I never saw a distraction. I absolutely did not.”
The Jets will reportedly trade or release the 25-year-old during the offseason, though the team has insisted no personnel decisions will be made without a new general manager in place. New York acquired Tebow from Denver last March.
Many expected the Jaguars to make a run at Tebow, who’s still ultra-popular in Jacksonville. But new general manager Dave Caldwell slammed that door shut on Thursday: “I can’t imagine a scenario in which he’ll be a Jacksonville Jaguar — even if he’s released.”
Surprised by the comments from Westhoff? Do you agree with him? Be heard in the comments!