Well, it has happened. The New York Jets, masters of the media spectacle, have traded for Tim Tebow. They gave up a 4th and 6th round pick and received a 7th rounder back from Denver as part of the deal. I was about as clear as possible that I wasn’t in support of this move prior to it happening but it has happened. I root for the laundry folks, just like you should and would never root against an individual player just to make my thoughts on a trade look right. That being said, let’s review what this move means –
1. Whether you want to admit it or not, a huge reason for this deal was to grab headlines back from the New York Giants, who get their headlines…by you know, winning Super Bowls. It brings attention to the organization and demonstrates them working to improve their character in the locker room. I am all for improving the character of the team but this trade is going to lead to locker room issues. It is also somewhat embarrassing to constantly be making knee jerk reaction trades after every Giants Super Bowl victory. We all remember how Brett Favre worked out in 2008.
2. What locker room issues you ask? The constant quarterback debate hanging over the head of every player and coach in the organization. When you have two quarterbacks, you often have zero. Imagine if this team starts out 0-1 and Sanchez has an average performance? The first question to every coach and player will be, should the team start Tebow and play him full time? Very rarely do you see teams succeed in that type of environment.
3. We don’t know what Tebow’s exact role/spot on the depth chart is going to be. This might sound like a silly statement but think about it. Is the team going to cut Drew Stanton, who they just signed and make Tebow the number two? If you make Tebow the number three quarterback, there are rules about when you could use him in the game. Are they going to list him at a different position and use him specifically just for the Wildcat? Now you have one less running back or receiver active for a player who could play 5-6 snaps and doesn’t play special teams.
You might laugh at the above comment about Stanton but Tebow is going to run a completely different offense than Sanchez. You need a backup who can run the offense as it is normally installed, not the speed option. It is a completely different game when Tebow goes in, different plays, different blocking schemes…different everything. Tebow can’t be a traditional backup and just hop into a normal offense. We saw what happened when he did that against Detroit last season.
You are now splitting up your practice time to learn basically two offenses, which in a way is a nice weapon, but in reality takes away from both because you aren’t giving all your focus to one.
4. I am no way near as concerned about Sanchez’s psyche as many people are. He has been playing quarterback in New York for three years. I think he is mentally tougher than people give him credit for. From a practical on field standpoint, continually pulling him out of the game for the Wildcat is going to interrupt his rhythm but from a mental standpoint, if he can’t handle the Tebow trade he shouldn’t be here anyway. Ideally, this trade will push him to reach his potential but that could be wishful thinking with the type of circus Tebow brings to town.
5. Do you have any doubt about the Jets desire to run the football? Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano clearly have their mindset on being one of the most run heavy teams in the league, if not the most run heavy. I wouldn’t expect to see the Jets sign another receiver in free agency or draft one before the 5th round.
6. By the way, the Jets still need a right tackle…in case you forgot. Buffalo just signed Mark Anderson to pair with Mario Williams, Anderson had 10 sacks last season…4 more than any player on the Jets.
7. Can this work? Sure. I am not going to sit here and be naive enough to act like there aren’t positives to this trade just because I don’t like it overall. First off, Tebow is a leader and a winner. He is a good presence to have in the locker room. He shouldn’t just push Sanchez on the field, he should push Sanchez in the locker room, meeting room and everywhere else. Second, if designed properly the Jets should have a very strong rushing attack…particularly in short yardage. Third, Tebow can hurt teams over the top if they stack the box on the Jets Wildcat. He can throw the deep ball…nothing else…but can throw the deep ball. Fourth, just about every member of the mainstream media has written this off as an idiotic trade, which makes it more enjoyable to root for as a Jets fan.