By Jeff Capellini, CBSNewYork/WFAN.com
NEW YORK (WFAN) — You’ve seen the headline and you’ve giggled. Now give me a chance to explain.
On Monday night, after taking part in a few good-natured discussions about the circus that Tim Tebow’s presence would create in New York should the Broncos get the green light to trade him this way, I really started to think about if this could be a truly viable notion. And as I went over it in my mind a few times it became pretty clear: from a strictly football sense, a lot of what this kid does, and does well, is exactly what the Jets need.
I know. I can already hear it and read it.
The kid can’t throw, like, at all.
Well, imagine a scenario where he never throws a single pass for the Jets, but is still a big part of their offense. Would you be interested then? I ask because if things go like many figure, Tebow will not get a starting quarterback job in the NFL this season. Now that the Broncos have all but locked up Peyton Manning, they will try to trade the 24-year-old unorthodox signal-caller to, well, anyone with an adventurous spirit.
Why not the Jets?
I know. It’s a ridiculous notion. We’re all way too cool here to even consider a player who has an extremely limited skill set and is either loved or hated depending on the municipality you just happen to be in on any given day.
But I’ll get into why so many people dislike this guy later. For now, I want to state my case why, from purely an Xs and Os standpoint, the idea of Tebow in green and white is not this incredibly bad idea.
First off, it’s important to put out sort of a disclaimer. As a fan, I absolutely do not want Tebow here. Don’t be confused. There’s a huge difference between being an irrational loyalist and someone actually paid to try to make sense of the game in print.
As I’ve learned over my many years of rooting for this enigmatic franchise, what I’ve wanted from a philosophy standpoint is never going to materialize on the field. If I had the means I would have long ago figured out a way to clone Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, Wes Chandler and Kellen Winslow. Then I would have sat back and not had to worry about guys like Richard Todd, Johnny “Lam” Jones, Ryan Yarbrough and Kyle Brady, just to name a few of many.
Make no mistake, Tebow on the Jets would be like Barack Obama switching political parties. The utter madness it would cause in the media would be epic and the fans, a very large percentage of them anyway, would mount movements to burn No. 15 jerseys in effigy, likely right in front of Woody Johnson’s compound. The Jets, a team sorely in need of a public relations makeover, would suddenly be right back where they started under Rex Ryan — all about everything but football, except for those 60 minutes on any given Sunday.
I get all that. It’s why I realize the likelihood of something like this happening is between slim and none and you know where slim just went.
But imagine for a second a scenario where the Jets somehow get past all that, the fans calm down and the media gets its attention diverted. Maybe LeBron James makes another announcement or something, or Tiger Woods gets back together with Elin and goes on to win 16 straight tournaments.
While all that is happening, Tebow would make the Jets better for a few simple reasons.
Tebow would never be brought here to be a quarterback. The Jets currently have three of them. Granted, each one has his fair share of growing up to do, but any one of them on his worst day would still be a better passer than Tebow. That’s not really open to debate.
What is is the idea of transforming Tebow into what he really is — a running back or H-back — full-time.
If you look back at what the Jets did really well in 2009 and 2010 you’ll find a run-heavy offense that featured several different looks. And you can make the case that the reason for the team’s undoing in 2011 came about because Ryan and the front office chose to go away from it, instead attempting to turn a clearly not ready Mark Sanchez into this in-the-pocket, more-often-than-not passer. And as we saw, it was an unmitigated disaster.
During the first two years of Ryan’s reign, the Jets rode on the backs of running backs Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene behind what was arguably the best offensive line in the game. Currently, many of those same names and faces are still on the Jets and appear eager to show that the offensive disaster from last season was, indeed, very much about the philosophy switch and the former offensive coordinator as opposed to their having lost it either as individuals or part of a unit.
I need to go back to being a fan for a second. I hate the wildcat. I despise it like terrorism. The whole notion of this archaic approach to moving the football in a day and age where passing has taken over the NFL bugs me to no end. However, as someone who understands the realities of what the Jets are and built to excel at, it’s clear to me they’ve never really recovered from letting Brad Smith walk off to Buffalo following the 2010 season. Smith ran that particular arm of the offense superbly, and though it was at times awful football to watch it did what the Jets were — and still are — designed to do — move the chains and dare opposing defenses to stop them, while all the while setting Sanchez up to succeed.
Can you not see Tebow the running back from under center doing the same thing? Maybe even better than Smith did? The kid only rushed for 660 yards last season at roughly 5.4 yards per clip behind an offensive line that was a carbon copy of what the Jets’ line had been the previous two seasons. And if you believe the Jets’ line will again be that unit, what with the philosophy switch back to “ground and pound,” do you honestly think Tebow, the physical specimen that he is, will be a detriment to what the Jets would be trying to accomplish?
I keep reading so many Jets fans clamor for another big back to compliment Greene. Names like Peyton Hillis (before he signed with the Chiefs), Michael Bush, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and even, dare I say it, Brandon Jacobs have been bandied about, but can any of them run the option or get around the end at seemingly a moment’s notice? Tebow may honestly be better at Hillis’ job than Hillis is and he’s clearly more durable.
People forget the godfather of the wildcat is currently the Jets’ offensive coordinator. Do you not think Tony Sparano can easily transition Tebow from a deer-in-headlights, no-accuracy quarterback back into what he was born and bred to do? And better yet, without the pressure of having to do it on every down?
Think about it because it makes a lot of sense.
The problem, though, with my asking people to seriously consider expanding their minds for a moment is too many of you won’t because you’ve already made up your minds.
I’m not here to make politically correct statements so please forgive me if this comes off a bit harsh, but the truth as I see it is a lot of people despise Tebow for reasons that really have nothing to do with what he can or cannot accomplish on a football field. Oh many of them may say “he can’t throw” and honestly try to sell it as the real reason why they don’t want any part of him, but for the most part I don’t buy that. I think, in many cases, his criticisms as a quarterback are just covering fire for a much more sinister purpose.
This is America, a place where if you get too much attention for doing just about anything, regardless if you do it well and keep your nose clean, people will still try to cut you down. And I’m hardly referring to the media here, because, in reality, reporters and television cameras love the guy. He’s good for business. Maybe the overkill of Tebow this and Tebow that is a bit much from time to time, but you didn’t hear anyone in Denver complaining last season when the kid was pulling out miraculous win after miraculous win.
But be it because of his religion, his looks, his celibacy or just the fact that he’s excelled when most everyone has expected him to fail, Tebow walks around most everywhere else with a huge bull’s-eye on his back and stigma influencing his stride.
And that flat sucks. It may be reality, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to just shut up and take it.
So if you want to tell me Tebow can’t help a team win, you better do better than “he can’t throw.” It’s clear to me he can do just about everything else, which is more than enough to continue to be a highly productive player in the NFL.
The Patriots, Dolphins, Jaguars, Packers and 49ers are reportedly interested in him. If he’s good enough for them to consider, why not the Jets as well? This team could certainly use his abilities, not to mention his attitude. How did that thug mentality work out? I’m just sayin’.
Plus, the idea of LaRon Landry’s white-faced monkey breaking up Tebow’s prayer group in the locker room is a priceless visual one would remember for a lifetime.
Seriously though, give it some thought. Far worse decisions have been made.
Forget what you’ve been brainwashed to believe. The only thing truly wrong with Tebow has been his penchant for running away from your defense.
Read more columns by Jeff Capellini and follow him on Twitter at @GreenLanternJet
Would you be open to the idea of Tim Tebow on the Jets? Or is it just too much to digest at this point? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below. …