New York Jets: The Offensive Issues Of Tim Tebow As A Backup QB

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The New York Jets have committed to Tim Tebow being their backup quarterback, ending the 4 days of the Drew Stanton era, who is already requesting a trade or release. Let’s examine the football aspects of Tebow being the backup. We know the media/locker room issues which are apparent to anybody with eyes or ears but how does having Tebow as your backup quarterback affect the development of your offense?

Tebow isn’t a traditional NFL quarterback. We saw what happened last year when he attempted to run a standard, pro-style offense and it wasn’t pretty. He is most effective running an offense tailored to his skill set. Call it the speed option. Call it the Wildcat. Call it whatever the hell you want, it is a completely different offense than the one Mark Sanchez and the first unit will be running.

Tony Sparano now has the challenge of installing, not one new offense, but two new offenses which the entire starting and backup group will learn. You remember complaints about things being too complicated under Brian Schottenheimer? You now have every lineman, tight end, running back, and wide receiver needing to learn the standard pro-offense Sparano will install for Sanchez and the quarterback as running back offense he will install for Tebow. It will involve completely different blocking schemes, route running, and steps for the running backs to learn.

What this means, is that instead of dedicating all of the practice and meeting room time to teaching Sanchez a new offensive system, large chunks of time will be spent fleshing out an offense the Jets could run if Sanchez is hurt, pulled or taken out for a few series for Tebow to jump start the offense (a scenario that Mike Tannenbaum said could happen on the radio today).

Keep in mind the Jets aren’t stocked with quarterbacking gurus to handle the process of teaching two new quarterbacks, two completely different offensive systems. They have Matt Cavanaugh, a holdover from the Schottenheimer regime who the coaches didn’t want back in the first place. He doesn’t know a thing about Sparano’s normal offense or Sparano’s Wildcat/Option offense, so he will be starting from scratch too.

I am not attempting to rain on the parade of fans who think Tebow can provide positive elements to this team because I believe that he can. However, it would be foolish to ignore the downside to having to dedicate practice/installment time to two offenses. Every advantage you get by making defenses prepare for two schemes, you are losing in preparation time to perfect one offense.

People talk about the jump Eli Manning and Drew Brees made after their third year with hopes that Sanchez could do a similar thing. Whether he was ever going to reach that level or not, the odds just became that much longer. If you played a sport, you know every second of practice time counts and the Jets will losing time to prepare a normal NFL offense. Will it be worth it for what the Wildcat brings? That is the question that will likely determine how long Mike Tanennbaum, Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano have jobs.