TOJ Roundtable: Tebow, Tebow, Tebow And The Jets

The TOJ writers discuss the pros and cons of the Tim Tebow trade

An emergency calling of the roundtable to discuss the pros and cons of the Tim Tebow trade to the New York Jets. I am going to sit this one out, as I wrote about 5,000 words on it yesterday and have plenty more on the way today.

Chris Gross: First, let’s look at why this could be viewed as an idiotic move by Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan. The Jets have been portrayed as a circus since the public meltdown after last season’s loss to Miami in week 17. There is a great scare that Tim Tebow, and the massive amount of publicity that he receives, will only add to the zoo that has become the New York Jets.

There is also the fear that Tebow’s presence will cause a split between players and fans if Mark Sanchez begins to struggle. The assumption here is based on how the fans and players of the Denver Broncos pushed for Tebow to take over for Kyle Orton after he got off to a shaky start last season. However, the fact of the matter is Kyle Orton is not Mark Sanchez. In his seven seasons in the NFL, Orton has never won a playoff game. In three seasons, Sanchez has won 4 postseason games, all on the road mind you. There is no question that Mark Sanchez, who was just given a three-year contract extension, is the starting quarterback for the New York Jets. Tebow is not being brought in here to challenge Sanchez for that title, regardless of what the so-called experts in the media say. Instead, Tebow will serve as a very useful weapon in Tony Sparano’s arsenal, regardless of what capacity that may end up being.

Sanchez will not feel threatened by Tim Tebow. Regardless of what people say, Sanchez is not fragile. He has taken more scrutiny and physical beatings on the field (Hello Wayne Hunter) in his first three seasons combined than some quarterbacks face in their entire career. Tebow was not brought to the Jets to take Sanchez’s job. He was brought to New York to help the Jets win, and that is exactly what he is going to do.

Anyone who is a fan of football has grown to know Tim Tebow as many things. He is super competitive, he is a winner, and most of all, he is a team player. It is understandable that fans view this move by the Jets as an acquisition of a glorified role player. However, if Sparano uses him correctly, Tebow will serve as much more than a Wildcat quarterback. At 6’3” 245 pounds, there is so much flexibility to how Tebow can be used.

Tebow will dedicate everything he has and fulfill that role to the best of his ability, which he has shown to be extremely high. He is certainly one of the hardest working, most determined players in the NFL, and on top of that he wants to win more than anything.

Matt Fritz: Tough for me to even try to give positives out of getting Tim Tebow from the Broncos since I have been a Tebow hater all along, but I’ll do my best. In all honesty, if the reason we got Tim Tebow is for what I truly believe it to be, then I cannot fault the Jets on this decision entirely. Just after giving Mark Sanchez an extension, do you really think the Jets are thinking of making Tebow their every down quarterback? No, the Jets reached out and got Tim Tebow because they feel as though it will make their offense that much better. Tebow will most likely get somewhere around 10-12 snaps a game, all primarily out of the wildcat, and could be a nice change of pace in the Jets offense, much like Brad Smith was two years ago.

This is ultimately how I would like the Jets to go about handling Tim Tebow in the Jets offense next season. Whether they use him like that or not we will just have to wait and find out. In the end, as much as I despise this trade, I will admit three things about Tim Tebow that there are no denying. He is a winner, he is tough, and he’s got God on his side.

We all know it’s the same song and dance. Mark comes out in the first game next year and throws two picks, and the whole New York Media and Jet fan base are calling for Tim Tebow to take over . This is ultimately my biggest fear out of all of this mess. Obviously the talk has been that Mark needs to feel some pressure behind him at the QB position, but he doesn’t need to feel like he has to be perfect. On top of that, I just don’t think that Tim Tebow is a very good quarterback. Do I think he is a tremendous athlete? Yes. Do I think he is extraordinarily tough? Absolutely. Do I think he is a winner? He’s proven that.  It’s just that if Jet fans are calling for a switch from Sanchez to Tebow next year, there just simply won’t be an upgrade.

Rob Celletti: I have a lot swirling in my mind right now, so I’m unable to really lay things out in a pro/con fashion.  I will just say that I think this is one of the worst personnel decisions that the Jets have made in the history of their franchise, for two reasons:

1) The Jets have proven that selling Tebow jerseys and PSLs are ahead of winning football games on their list of priorities.  And to send Mike Tannenbaum out there to basically lie about the main motivation for this move to the media is tantamount to spitting in the faces of the intelligent members of the Jets fanbase.  This move insults me, which brings me to…

2) If it insults me, how do you think Mark Sanchez feels right now?  What’s worse, what happens when Sanchez plays merely a mediocre half at MetLife Stadium and the Jets find themselves trailing by 7 or 10 points?  I was in the old building when people literally cheered when Chad Pennington was injured.  This is one of the most brutal fanbases in sports.  The “We Want Tebow!” chant will be deafening.  And it will be the death knell to Mark Sanchez’s career as a Jet.

Some people claim that this won’t/shouldn’t affect Sanchez.  They have to be kidding.  Did they witness what occurred last year?  Throw in Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes and however many “unnamed players”, and the 2012 circus could make 2011 look like the Monmouth County fair.

I won’t even touch upon the 8 other positions the Jets should have prioritized over gimmick/backup/wildcat quarterback.  I’m just too upset.  All I know is that being born into Jets fandom is something that will test my love of sports for as long as I walk this earth. I’m sure I’ll eventually come around to Tebow, and learn to grin and bear it, but all I can say is that being a Jets fan is extremely difficult for me right now.

Don’t Panic Jets Fans, NFL Draft Is Deep At Safety

After losing out on Reggie Nelson, Chris breaks down the safeties the New York Jets could pursue in the NFL Draft

With the Jets getting spurned by Reggie Nelson after hosting the free agent safety for a weekend long visit, it seems as though LaRon Landry is the only viable option left. But if Landry happens to politely decline an offer from the Jets as well, Mike Tannenbaum and Co. will most likely need to address this need via the draft. Many “experts” view this year’s crop of safeties to be shallow in comparison to other positions. However, when taking a closer look, this may not be the case at all. There are three safe picks that the Jets could make in one of the early rounds this year that may save their safety situation for the upcoming season.

The first, and probably most popular, of the bunch is Alabama’s Mark Barron. By now, Jets fans know who Barron is simply because his name has been linked to the team in countless mock drafts. Having played his entire career under the tutelage of defensive backs guru Nick Saban, Barron was a cornerstone to the nation’s top defense this past season, making him the safest pick at his position this year. Barron certainly has the skills and big game experience that will make him an immediate impact player on whatever team selects him.

However, the Jets are starving for a dominant pass rusher, something Rex Ryan has never had since coming to New York. The first round is poised to be filled with game changers at outside linebacker, so Tannenbaum and Ryan may opt to pass on Barron for the likes of Courtney Upshaw, Melvin Ingram, or Nick Perry.

So if not Barron, then who else? The two most quality under the radar safeties this year are Antonio Allen of South Carolina and Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith. Allen is more of an in the box type strong safety, having played the Rover position for the Gamecocks last year, but his ability to make big plays in big games should be noted. Last season, Allen’s two best games came at Georgia, where he had six tackles and a 25-yard interception returned for a touchdown, and home against Auburn in which he totaled 13 tackles, including 9 solos, and an interception. His combine numbers aren’t flashy, having run only a 4.67 40-yard dash, so Allen may be a day two option for the Jets.

Smith, on the other hand, has blown away scouts with his athletic ability. At 6’2” 213 pounds, combined with a 4.57 40 yard dash, 19 reps on the bench, and a 34 inch vertical leap, he has all the tools to be a force in both the pass and run games. A 4-year starter and Captain last season at Notre Dame, Smith has also proven to have the durability, experience, and leadership skills that should make him an asset if drafted into the right system. There is a good chance the Jets will give him a look if they choose to pass on Barron. However, at the rate his stock is expected to rise closer to draft day, Tannenbaum may have to resort back to his “Trader Mike” days and work a deal to get into the back end of the first round to grab him.

With Nelson seemingly using the Jets as leverage to obtain more money from Cincinnati, there is certainly cause for concern among Jets Nation. However, there is no reason to panic. As TOJ noted, Nelson is a good, not great, safety. Although he surely would have been an upgrade to New York’s current safety situation, he does not possess the upside of any of these three young players. Rest assured all is not yet lost for Gang Green.

New York Jets: Tannenbaum Might Still Have Faith In Ducasse

New TOJ writer Chris Gross explores if Mike Tannenabum is being stubborn at right tackle because of faith in Vladimir Ducasse

EDITOR’s NOTE: TOJ would like to welcome aboard our newest writer, Chris Gross. You can follow Chris on Twitter (@CGross97). He is a recent graduate of Union College and continues our trend of hiring former D-3 athletes who attended schools that lost to my alma mater Muhlenberg in football, when I attended there. Happy to have you on board Chris! – JC

Throughout his run as the New York Jets’ General Manager, Mike Tannenbaum has become widely known as one of the most active GMs in the NFL. So with a glaring need at right tackle, Jet fans everywhere are wondering one thing: What is taking him so long to fill the huge hole occupied by Wayne Hunter last season? Not only have the Jets not signed someone to fill this void, they seemingly haven’t even reached out to any of the big name free agent tackles on the market. It is easy to assume the Jets will be going budget on the offensive side of the ball to spend big on one of the remaining safeties left on the market, presumably Reggie Nelson or LaRon Landry. While that may be the case, there may be another reason for Mike T’s madness (or lack thereof).

With a new offensive line coach and offensive coordinator in place, Tannenbaum and the Jets coaching staff may have more confidence in the tackles currently on their roster then some believe, namely Vladimir Ducasse. While Mike T has previously stated that he fully expects Wayne Hunter to be the starter at RT next year, there are questions regarding the sincerity of that comment with reports that Hunter was shopped before the start of free agency. Remember, this is the same man who publicly stated that he expected Brian Schottenheimer to be the Jets’ offensive coordinator next season.

So, enter Ducasse, the Jets 2010 2nd Round Draft Pick. While Ducasse has done little during his short tenure as a New York Jet to illustrate to the fan base that he is worthy of ever setting foot on the field, much less be a starter, all hope may not be lost for him in the eyes of the Jets front office. Based on the remainder of the Jets starting offensive line, it is safe to say that the Jets feel confident in their ability to develop players up front. Ferguson, Mangold, and Slauson were all drafted by the organization, while Brandon Moore signed as an undrafted free agent in 2002. Although Ducasse has seen very limited game time in his two years with the Jets, it is possible that the organization still believes he can be a significant piece in rebuilding the right side of the offensive line.

Although this theory may seem crazy to some, there are certain things to remember about the Jets and Big Vlad. First, he came from Division 1 FCS University of Massachusetts. Although the NFL has seen countless players succeed from lower level schools, there are very few who had an impact with their respective teams early in their careers. The perfect example of this is Victor Cruz. Unless you are a Giants or Jets fan, odds are you had no idea who Victor Cruz was up until week 3 of this past season. Until his breakout game against the Eagles, even fans of both New York teams only remembered Cruz for his 2010 preseason performance in which he torched the Jets for three touchdowns. Cruz had the early hardships that most young players coming out of small schools face. In 2010, he appeared in only three games, and was virtually irrelevant to the NFL before his breakout 2011 campaign. There is no question that players drafted from smaller schools have a more difficult time transitioning to the NFL than those who come out of larger schools.

Second, the Jets may feel that Ducasse could benefit greatly with new voices in his ear. Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano made his mark in the NFL as an offensive line guru, and along with newly hired offensive line coach Dave Deguglielmo, the organization could be developing the idea that these men can mold Ducasse into the player they envisioned when they took him with the 61st overall pick in 2010. After all, Vlad fits the psychical mold of an NFL tackle at 6’5” 325 pounds. The Jets may feel that Sparano and co. will now be able to help him fit the mental mold as well.

Finally, Tannenbaum and the Jets do not like to give up on players that were selected with early round draft picks. In 2008, the Jets selected Vernon Gholston with the 6th overall pick in the NFL draft. Although he did not record a sack during his entire NFL career, the Jets held onto Gholston for three years hoping he would eventually develop into the pass rusher they thought they were getting. Certainly there was much more of a financial commitment to Gholston then there is with Ducasse, but the point is that Mike T likes to give his guys time to develop.

Although the Jets lack of activity along the offensive front is frustrating, they could simply be putting a lot of faith in Ducasse. And while it does not seem smart for the organization to put confidence in such an unproven player, especially considering they just gave their franchise quarterback a multi-year extension, it might just be their train of thought. If they do in fact feel this way, expect a continued lack of interest toward free agent offensive lineman by the Jets in the coming weeks.

TOJ Roundtable Week 3: Jets/Raiders Predictions

Joe Caporoso: Read the 12 pack

TJ RosenthalJets Win if: The makeshift line holds up long enough for Mark Sanchez to work the short passing game. Sanchez will throw for 250 plus yards on the day the Jets will offset the loss of Nick Mangold with the addition of the “Wildcat” some Joe McKnight, and more unpredictability in the Jets run game as far as the point of attack is concerned. The Jets secondary will continue their hot start with another handful of interceptions. FINAL: 23-17 JETS

Raiders Win if: The loss of Mangold becomes too much for the Jets to overcome. Backup C Colin Baxter gets beat in crucial moments. The lack of confidence and mutual trust by the makeshift O line up leads to too many false starts. QB Mark Sanchez tries to do too much, and is picked off three plus times. The ground game remains pedestrian. Darren McFadden gashes a tired Jets defense that is on the field too long too many times. FINAL: 31-20 RAIDERS

Chris Celletti: The Jets need to be careful here. West coast trip, no Nick Mangold, two BIG road games coming up after, and Oakland’s home opener? To quote the great (kidding) Mike Francesa, It will NOT be easy. I think the Jets will be able to handle the Raiders’ offense for the most part, but will struggle to run the ball without Nick Mangold at center. The Jets should be able to exploit some mismatches on the outside with Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes, as long as Brian Schottenheimer has his head on straight. I think the Jets will be able to make enough plays in the passing game to get by, and will win in a game that is decided late in the fourth quarter.

Justin Fritze: Colin Baxter is not the name you want to hear today. The Jets will be forced to test the run and play action their way to two touchdowns. I see this one going to the wire in a 21-17 penalty filled game that will finally legitimize the Jets as one of the top 5 teams in the league. Dustin Keller will have a few good catches, look for Santonio and Plaxico to get involved early with a few shots down the field.

Rob Celletti: The superstitious side of me says that it’s a bad idea to keep picking the Jets to win every week, but this is part of getting used to the Jets actually being a team that should expect to win almost every single week.  And so I’ll take the Jets in this one, 23-13.  The consensus this week seems to be that the Jets should be able to throw for a bunch of yards on the Oakland secondary, and while proclamations like this usually lead to unmet expectations, I think it’ll happen.  The matchups just seem right, though I am worried about the makeshift offensive line’s ability to protect Mark Sanchez.  I think the Jets will contain Darren McFadden for the most part and force Jason Campbell into some turnovers by not only pressuring, but also confusing the quarterback with different coverage looks.  Campbell does have a huge arm, so the Jets need to be mindful of the deep ball.  The Raiders will move the ball but mostly be forced into field goal attempts.  The Jets will kick more field goals than you’d like to see, but will do enough to secure their 3rd victory of the year.

Check out the week 3 NFL highlights and picks

TOJ Roundtable: Jets/Jaguars Picks

Joe Caporoso: See the 12 pack.

Justin Fritze: Looking at this with the scientist’s eye, I notice a few things. The Jets defensive line should have a field day. 4 down lineman, 5 man rush should be sufficient. They’re going up against a bunch of scrubs, a 3rd round rookie out of Lehigh (Editor’s Note: again not thrilled with the shot at Lehigh), and a former first round pick in Eugene Monroe. Kenrick Ellis and Muhammad Wilkerson should see serious playing time, and the Jets can probably sit back and have some fun confusing Luke McCown, mixing up coverages, perhaps bringing the famed “cloud coverage” back and tee off from there.

What else do I like about this game? The Jaguars have nobody at linebacker. The Jets will have to run it to death, for one because they need to find out if Joe McKnight can be the change of pace they need, if Shonn Greene can tire a defense, and if Jeremy Kerley and the wild Hornfrog can create some confusion.  The Jets will also occasionally play action with Keller and take a few shots over the middle with Plaxico Burress as he outsizes all the Jaguars DB’s by 3 feet, give or take a few inches. I may be crazy, but I’m gonna go Jets over Jaguars by 6. Don’t ever count out the short man with a “bum knee”. Lot’s of Jets field goals.

Chris Celletti: I think the Jets get this done fairly easily…by Jets standards. I just simply can’t see them having too much trouble with the Jaguars’ offense and Luke McCown specifically. The Jets’ defensive strength is in their run stopping, and the Jaguars lean heavily on Maurice Jones-Drew. While MJD is one of the top runners in the league, the Jets should keep him in check. Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense won’t put up a ton off points, because I think Brian Schottenheimer and Co. will try to really pound the run and get Shonn Greene going. The Jets play an overall solid game, get a few turnovers on defense, and roll to a 24-7 victory.

Rob Celletti: I was originally going to pick the Jets to win in a close game, because as a Jet fan, I know not to get too confident in this team, especially when they’re favored by more than a touchdown.  But Jason Hill’s (who?!) comments today, calling the Jets’ defense “overhyped”, might light an early fire under the team and particularly their defense, so now I expect them to dominate.  Luke McCown is going to have a miserable game with less than 125 yards passing. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville’s only credible threat, will have a decent game, but not much of an impact.  The Jets will get back to a more balanced attack on offense and be able to dominate time of possession, holding the ball for around 35 minutes.  Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason and Shonn Greene will get in the endzone in a 27-7 Jets win.

TJ Rosenthal: Jets Win: If the Jets start fast and begin to show they are putting all phases together together Sunday, we see them winning 31-10. This scenario has Shonn Greene with a 100 yard day and a deep ball to Holmes or Burress for a TD. Keller will shine in this type of game as well. Maurice Jones Drew will cut the Jets lead to a harmless 21-10 at some point with a short yardage TD.

Jags Win: The Jags win 17-10 if the Jets continue to struggle on offense and come out of the gates slowly. The snails pace by Sanchez and co. will allow the Jags to settle in until they can find a few spots to pull off a big run or long completion in order to pull of the upset.