By Lucas McMillan
Many media members and New York Jets fans have speculated on Tim Tebow’s chances of starting for the Jets this season. They look at what he did with the Denver Broncos last season and think (or at least hope) that he could work similar miracles with the Jets.
The seat was getting pretty hot under incumbent start Mark Sanchez, but two solid efforts in a row should keep the angry mob at bay for at least another couple weeks – Sanchez went 11 for 18 for 82 yards and two touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, and against a vastly superior Houston Texans squad last Monday night he had a better-than-expected game. However, these efforts weren’t impressive enough to keep the critics quiet for long. So what are Tim Tebow’s chances of starting this season, and if he does crack the lineup, how much could he help?
Sanchez should hold on to the starting spot for a few weeks longer, though in the Jets’ increasingly desperate offensive situation it’s virtually guaranteed that Tebow will take the reins at some point this season. However, the Jets would have to radically shift their offensive philosophy in order to accommodate and take advantage of Tebow’s unique skills.
The Jets brought in offensive coordinator Tony Sparano (former head coach of the Miami Dolphins) to implement a more creative Wildcat-style offense to utilize Tebow, though there have been scant few signs of it so far this season. However, if Tebow got the starting gig, they would have no choice but to open up the playbook, and that may not be such a bad thing.
In many ways, the Jets’ offensive woes are an ideal fit for Tebow. He showed last year, with a very limited cast of supporting help, that he can at least create offense in situations where there might not have been any before.
Sanchez is more of a traditional drop back quarterback (though he doesn’t exactly excel at it). He has experienced his greatest success when he has dynamic offensive weapons around him that he can use downfield, like Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller.
The Jets are currently decimated with injuries at their offensive skill positions, which have forced them to turn more to the running game. For as much lip service as the Jets have paid to running the ball for the past several seasons, they did not practice what they preached.
Sanchez was frequently dropping back 35-40 times a game. However, when they do decide to run the ball, it can pay off in big ways: on Sunday, running back Shonn Greene rushed for 161 yards and three touchdowns against the Colts. So now, here’s the million dollar question: if the Jets are planning on operating a run-first offense, why not start Tebow? He showed with Denver last season that he can be a very effective quarterback when in charge of an option-style rushing attack.
The Jets pass catchers are truly woeful – their best option may be rookie Stephen Hill. That is not a good sign for their aerial attack. Yet with their solid defense and rushing attack, the Jets could grind out more than their fair share of wins this season. They need to embrace this more conservative offensive philosophy, and a big first step toward that would be starting Tebow.
Sanchez is probably the better pure quarterback, but that’s not the Jets’ offense anymore. They may as well take their ground and pound offensive scheme to its logical end and start Tebow.
Lucas McMillan is a writer for FootballSchedule.me. To checkout the week-by-week NY Jets schedule as well as the latest NFL and college football news, visit Football Schedule. Follow Football Schedule on Facebook and Twitter @FBSchedule.