Friday, March 23, 2012

Tim Tebow Will Work Out for the Jets

Hailing from the woods of New Hampshire, few things please me more than Jets fans whining and complaining about their overrated team (with the Shake Shack double burger I had for lunch yesterday being a notable exception). With that said, this is getting ridiculous. Every Jets fan I talk to, which is a lot since I’m in the New York area, is criticizing the Jets trade for Tim Tebow. I enjoy Jets fans being in emotional pain, so I’ve yet to point out that this indeed was actually a very good trade for the Jets.

Here’s why:
Who cares about Mark Sanchez’s ego? The number one complaint I’ve heard about the trade is how Mark Sanchez is going to react, an opinion voiced by the great Hermano. Obviously there is only two ways he can react – either he is threatened and it affects his play or he isn’t bothered by the trade at all. Obviously, if he’s not affected at all the number one argument against the move isn’t applicable, making the trade a good decision by the Jets. If Sanchez is affected, however, I’d argue the trade is still a solid move because Sanchez was never going to work out as a starting QB for the Jets anyway.

The fact is, there isn’t a more pressure-filled job in the NFL than being a QB for the Cowboys or a New York team. There’s always going to be controversy you have to deal with and unless you have supreme confidence in yourself and the ability to give a middle finger to your critics, you’re not going to survive. Eli Manning is the perfect example of a QB that can succeed in New York. He’s got supreme confidence, as evidenced by his comments before the season that he was just as good as Tom Brady. He has thick skin, not letting years worth of heavy criticism affect his play. He has fight, as best illustrated by calling out Tiki Barber for his lack of heart after the ex-teammate criticized Manning's leadership skills. If Mark Sanchez’s ego is going to be broken beyond repair because the Jets traded for a QB that they clearly don’t view as a serious threat to Sanchez’s starting job (look what they gave up for him), he would have never survived in the first place.

Perfect Backup QB – Very, very , very few teams have the luxury of a backup QB that can be anything more than a game manager. Fortunately for the Jets, they can still succeed with a game manager as their QB due to their strong defense (see 2009 and 2010). As far as game managers go, there are few better than Tim Tebow. The new Jets QB rarely turns the ball over, is very good at making a couple huge yardage plays a game and greatly improves the rushing offense, thus shortening the game for his team. There are few better backup QBs in the league for an elite defense. Combine that with the fact that because of his scrambling ability, he doesn’t need elite playmakers (which the Jets lack) around him to make a couple of plays a game, he’s a perfect fit as a backup QB for the Jets.

He improves the Jets Offense – Tim Tebow will never be an effective starting QB for an elite team. However, he can be very effective as situational player – particularly in short yardage situations and in the Wildcat formation, as long as it is used on a limited basis. For that reason, he makes the Jets offense better. The Jets would have been foolish to pass up an opportunity to improve their offense, having seen firsthand how the less-talented Brad Smith was effective in a similar role, particularly since the price to acquire Tebow was pretty cheap.

Positive Locker Room Impact – Look, I’m under no illusions that Tebow himself is going to single-handedly turn the Jets locker room into a hippie lovefest. It takes far more than one player to do that. However, you need to start somewhere if you want to change the locker room culture and where better to start than one of the most hard-working and unselfish players in the league.

How is he going to deal with Rex Ryan? – Child, Please! You don’t think any of the current Denver Broncos have a potty mouth or are a little cocky? This is one of the stupidest arguments I’ve ever heard in criticizing a trade. Rex Ryan is very emotional and always has his players back – a little too much if you ask me. Tim Tebow is going to love the guy. At Florida and with the Broncos, I’m sure Tebow has played with numerous players who are brash and have to have their mouths washed with soap. Yet, we have never heard Tebow ever having a problem with a coach or teammate – quite the opposite actually. I can’t believe this was even brought up as an issue.

Tebow is a perfect fit for the Jets from both a football standpoint and locker room standpoint. While I think Tannenbaum has made some real questionable moves in the last few years ($4MM to Laron Landry and no depth behind him? Hitting on 20 in blackjack is a better bet), this one was astute.

Of course Hermano had to respond to my pro-Tebow stance:

Solid response King, and obviously I agree that Tim Tebow is a fantastic version of Brad Smith, which will pay great dividends to the offense. But as we head into the season, the fact that a backup QB will have more of a fan base than the starting QB is a concern. Ordinarily, sports players' egos are not a concern, with only a handful of exceptions (e.g. Manny Ramirez). I'm confident Sanchez is going to do well this year, despite all evidence to the contrary, but Tannenbaum first attempted to sign Manning, then locked Sanchez up for 4 years, then got Tebow. It seems like his aggressive tactics are lacking in the PR department, and it's harmful to the team. In addition, I think Tannenbaum really needs to focus on other areas of the roster and he simply hasn't done it yet. He failed to do it last year, and it showed. And he hasn't done enough this year to make up for it.


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