By Matt Fitzgerald
The New York Jets have had a rough past couple of seasons, and the buzz that QB Tim Tebow created with his minimal role in the team’s offense certainly didn’t help the cause.
Although it once seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Tebow would be traded or released, new general manager John Idzik has stated publicly that Tebow will remain with the team through the summer. That puts the maligned backup quarterback in a whole different kind of limbo.
The comments Idzik made during a conference call with Jets season-ticket holders were documented by the USA TODAY’s Mike Garafolo:
Tim, as you know, (is) currently on our roster and what we’re doing is we’re trying to increase competition at that position and positions across the board. We’re going to let the competition play out. We’re going to see who we’re able to bring on board and let it play out this offseason and into training camp.
That will be healthy for all concerned, including Tim.
Not only is there still a strong possibility that he will eventually be released or traded, but it is also another tease that Tebow may have a prominent role to play with the Jets. Idzik even seems to suggest that Tebow will be part of the quarterback competition.
What should the Jets do with Tim Tebow?
Let him legitimately compete for the starting job 52.3%
Keep him as a backup/Wildcat option 1.7%
Trade him 19.7%
Release him 25.0%
Other—comment below 1.3%
Total votes: 640
That was somewhat of the perception last year, and Tebow’s lack of usage has been well documented.
But it could be even worse of a situation this time around, especially given the type of horrific campaign incumbent starter Mark Sanchez just had. The rug could be pulled out from Tebow even more harshly.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport doesn’t believe that the Jets should cut Tebow, simply because they gave up a fourth- and sixth-round pick to get him, and might as well see what they have in their investment.
But New York Daily News reporter Manish Mehta disagrees.
While it is good for the Jets to have as much competition at the game’s most important position as possible—particularly with respect to their likely No. 1 option in Sanchez—it is once again unfair to Tebow.
The former first-round pick of the Denver Broncos seems to fit exactly the type of mold that head coach Rex Ryan prefers out of a ground-and-pound offense. Tebow keyed the Broncos to the league-leading rushing attack in 2011.
Given the success that many young, dual-threat quarterbacks are having in the read-option style, it is surprising that the Jets didn’t give Tebow more opportunities. Although Tebow can’t throw as well as say, Russel Wilson, Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaepernick, his ability to run has obviously thrown NFL defenses off before.
Marty Mornhinweg may be able to help Tim Tebow in an unprecedented way. But what good is it if Tebow leaves in the summer?
With an offensive coordinator like Marty Mornhinweg now in the fold, it will create an interesting situation for Tebow. With the Philadelphia Eagles, Mornhinweg helped the wildly inaccurate Michael Vick transition into a far better pocket passer.
If Tebow could make half the progress that Vick did under Mornhinweg’s tutelage, it’s at least somewhat feasible that he could be successful. Again, though, it is far from guaranteed that Tebow will even be in the Big Apple to see that through—even if he gets off to a promising start in training camp.
Other likely candidates in the latest Jets QB derby include Matt Simms, Greg McElroy—who started over Tebow near the end of last year—and possibly David Garrard, who recently worked out with the team.
Should he not be able to land the starting job against that type of competition—if he’s given all of camp to do so—Tebow is unlikely to lead an NFL team as a QB at any point in the future.
Given the Jets’ efforts to acquire him and the promised prominent role, he at least deserves a fair chance.