Thursday, March 22, 2012

Instant Trade Analysis: Tim Tebow to the New York Jets

"Whatever. After a life-long Gang Green infection, I'm finally cured. I officially bleed orange, navy, and f-ing Peyton Manning. I'm over Sexy Rexy and on to Foxy Foxy" - Beautiful Girlfriend

And so capped off another completely unproductive work day due to the coming and goings of the sports news world. Without a single pass thrown, the NFL highjacked the hours between noon and 2pm at my office. No sooner than Sean Payton, head coach of the Saints, get suspended for the entire 2012 season as a part of New Orleans' participation in a "head-hunting" scandal, did ESPN reporter Adam Schefter relay that Timothy Richard Tebow had been dealt to YOUR...New York Jets.

As you can tell by the musings of Beautiful Girlfriend, the resilient and scarred masochists known as the Jets fan base was completely taken aback by this trade. Thought to be something of a dark horse in the Tebow market in comparison with Jacksonville or Miami, the Jets swooped in and acquired Tebow and a 7th rounder for the price of a 4th and 6th round pick.

In my very elementary knowledge of the game, I still understand that amongst their many needs in the offseason, New York needed a better pass rusher, another back and a competent receiver. Perhaps not most importantly, but most apparently, the Jets need a potential alternative to incumbent QB Mark Sanchez.

I've watched Sanchez since his days at USC and if football games were 2 select quarters rather than the requisite 4, he'd be the best in the game. But the NFL being how it is, Mark's inaccuracy with the pass and carelessness with the ball was one of the primary reasons why the Jets' season fell apart so quickly. Jets' brass might have solved this problem by trading for a guy with a less accurate arm and throws even less carefully than the Sanchize. Wait...what?

We've endlessly mused here on MAMBINO about the merits and demerits of Tim Tebow. Though I've been puzzled how a person who nearly cost his team a game for 3/4 of the game could be lauded so much for being transcendent for only 1/4 of it, I can't deny a begrudging admiration for the President of the Kirk Cameron fan club. Even as he's proven with his philanthropic efforts and teammate testimonials, Tim Tebow continues to be one of the genuinely good people in pro sports, and yet, we find ways to deride him over and over. More to the point, we still find ourselves rooting for Ray Lewis (charged with murder), Kobe Bryant (charged with rape) and Andy Pettitte (admitted to having used HGH), even though they've done things far more questionable of character than Tebow. My philosophical meta-debates aside, I knew I couldn't knowledgebly analyze this deal myself. The NFL is relatively new for me, and to do an Instant Trade Analysis would betray the excellence you've come to expect from MAMBINO.

So no sooner did ESPN run the headline "Jets Land Tebow", I promptly threw up at the sight of that pun, but I also conferred with MAMBINO correspondent and die hard Jets fan, Hermano. His Jets fandom runs extremely deep, so much so that even after waking up one December morning looking like Nick Nolte after a really crazy night, even for him, he marched over to my apartment to watch the dying embers of the 2011 Jets fall apart in the final game of the season against Miami, when the team still had the faintest hopes of making the playoffs. Once, he decreed that if Wayne Chrebet were to die, he'd be the only person our college friends couldn't make light of in passing (an amazing feat for us insensitive Boston College kids). Year after year, Hermano reaches deep into the recesses of his bloody and beaten soul, and resurrects the remnants of broken football dreams from years past and somehow cobbles together hope that THIS will be the season his beloved Jets will make the Superbowl.

Naturally, we had to get Hermano's response. In his maiden MAMBINO voyage, his take on the newest Jet, Timothy Richard Tebow:

In 4 years, Mike Tannenbaum showed me that he was a creative and strong GM worthy of being in the managing brass of the Gang Green franchise. But in the 2 years since I've called some of his decisions into serious question.  Last year should have been a year in which the Jets improve and take it to the next level - the Super Bowl.  They did not.  

QB Mark Sanchez regressed and the defense, with a strong secondary and linebacking core, surprisingly lacked the depth to survive all the time it spent on the field.  But the failures on offense were not solely Sanchez's fault - his offensive line was significantly worse than the year before due to management's failure to compensate for the losses on the line from the year before. 

It seemed that each time RB Shonn Green took the ball, he looked like he was weaving through traffic on the GW.  Without having established the run, defenses could shut down on WR Santonio Holmes because former Pro Bowler/New York Giant/Inmate #33389 Plaxico Burress was too slow and out of shape to draw attention elsewhere, leaving Sanchez to constantly check down to TE Dustin Keller and his backs.  We loved to scape goat offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer as the reason for the Jets failure, and say that it was poor locker room chemistry which was the problem.  But let's be honest - not even Jesus (see what we're doing here?!???) could have created a successful offensive plan with such a poor offensive line, and the poor locker room chemistry was a result of a poor team - not the cause.

Despite this, Tannenbaum had the chutzpah to give Jesus a try (the use of yiddish while speaking of the savior totally intended).  This trade could turn out to be great for the Jets.  They get a guy like Brad Smith back on the team - but this guy is a hell of a lot better than Brad Smith.  Tebow provides a great change of pace for a sluggish offense which has made little improvements over last year other than a new coordinator and getting rid of Burress.

But at what cost?  I've got a lot of questions. Like, how on Earth is Tebow's God-fearing personality going to settle well with coach Rex Ryan?  Ryan is a sacrilegious mofo and Tebow kneels before his Lord whenever he has the opportunity.  Ryan already is compromising his electrifying and brash personality in not guaranteeing a Super Bowl this year, so how much further compromise will entail a Tebow roster spot?

Second, Sanchez's ego is a China doll at this point.  New York media has beaten him to pulp - some deserved, some undeserved.  Tannenbaum got caught with his hand in the cookie jar when shopping around for Peyton Manning, and apologized by giving Sanchez a raise.  Then, as soon as the opportunity arose, Tannenbaum displayed his aggressive nature and pounced on Tebow.  How will this go over with Sanchez?  Yes, Sanchez is still the man in New York - but now, for the first time in his career, there's a legitimate (relatively speaking, considering Kellen Clemens and Mark Brunell have been the only guys breathing down his neck) replacement for Sanchez.  How will Sanchez respond?  For very good reason, I have my doubts that he'll respond well.  But I could be wrong - and I really hope I am. 

Lastly, how will Tebow's personality mesh with New York?  This isn't northern Florida.  This isn't mid-western/western US.  This isn't even the northeast.  This is New York City.  A cut throat city which thrives on the impetuous dismissal of weakness. How will Tebow's love thine enemy attitude be embraced by New York, a city with a motto of hate thine enemy with as much spite as one can muster?

All in all, this is a high risk move for Tannenbaum.  More needs to be done to improve this offense, and he has not helped alleviate concern regarding locker room drama.  But at the end of the day, New York and Rex Ryan just want to win - and if Sparano can find a way to win with this package of skill players, then Tannenbaum is a genius.

If not, then I hope New York looks at Tannenbaum rather than Rex when making changes in 2013. 

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