GUEST POST: Frankie Vittorini of “Flight 5” Talks Tim Tebow
By Alan Schechter
Nov 11, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) carries the ball during the 2nd half against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated New York 28-7. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
Many of you in Jets Nation already know Frankie Vittorini. If you don’t, you should. For those that don’t, he is a co-host of the Jets internet show, Flight 5 Live, which airs Friday nights from 7-8 PM. He also created the video blogging site, Flopping Out. He is also a huge proponent of inserting Tim Tebow as the starting quarterback of the New York Jets.
For those of you out on Twitter, give him a follow @hashtagfrankie. He talks a lot of trash, with a lot of bravado, anyone that has seen his “Fake Tebow” videos knows that. But, getting past all of that, Frankie is an intelligent football fan, and we have invited him to give his case for making Tebow the quarterback.
So, without further delay, here is Frank’s guest post:
Tim Tebow Can be a Great Quarterback For Your NY Jets By Frankie Vittorini
The conclusion of week 10 of the NFL season bumped the New York Jets to 3-6, and Jet Nation had to witness another pathetic performance by an offense that failed to score a single point. Not to mention a quarterback who looked like he was in year one and an offensive coaching staff/system that failed this team yet again. At this point there is no question that Tim Tebow should be the starting quarterback for the remainder of 2012 season. This New York Jets offense might just be the worst in all of football. GM Mike Tannenbaum did a terrible job this offseason addressing glaring issues at wide receiver, tight end, and running back; as us fans were more aware of these issues than Mr. T. To make matters worst, our quarterback has embarrassed himself almost as bad as our owner, who seems to care more about cashing in checks than winning football games. I don’t know about you folks but something is going on upstairs, and it is specifically ruining this Jets offense. Whether they are forcing Rex to keep Mark in as the starter, or Rex is assuring the boys upstairs that Sanchez still has it; something is terribly wrong. This article is not going to get into any of that because I don’t have the sources to speculate and I don’t feel like making any up like some us . But I will tell you this thing for sure: TIM TEBOW CAN and WILL be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL, whether it is with the New York Jets or not.
If there is one thing Mr. T did right this offseason, it was bringing in Tebow; he just did it for the wrong reasons. If Tim Tebow had started week 5 after Mark Sanchez pathetically attempted to play quarterback against San Francisco; we would be in a much better position to make the playoffs. It is TIME to not only hand this team over to Tim Tebow for the present, but for the future. Now I understand why you start the year with Mark Sanchez; he is your franchise quarterback, you paid him tons of money, and you need to see if he can be the Sanchise. But after week 4’s embarrassing loss to San Francisco that is all I needed to see. To be honest 2009, 2010 and 2011 were also all I needed to see. There was never a point when I thought to myself Mark Sanchez had “IT.” When a QB needs a top 5 defense, top 5 offensive line, top 5 running game, and a top 5 special teams unit to be average; you know the guy is not very good. Yes he did win playoff games, but so would most quarterbacks if put in that position. AND so would Tebow.
We always hear the term if you put these players in a vacuum. So let’s put Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow in a vacuum, using 9 games as our constant variable since Sanchez has unfortunately started all nine games this year.
Sanchez stats 2012 (9 games): 1,816 passing yards, 10 rushing yards, 10 pass TDs, 0 rush TDs, 10 Total TDs, 9 Ints, 4 FumL (13 TOs), 52% CMP% (153 for 294), 28.7 QBR, 3 wins, 6 losses.
Tebow stats 2011 (9 games): 1,405 passing yards, 573 rushing yards, 10 pass TDs, 4 rush TDs, 14 total TDs, 2 Ints, 4 FumL (6 TOs), 49% CMP% (103 for 210), 42.3 QBR, 7 wins, 2 losses.
Advantage Sanchez: +411 passing yards, +3% CMP%. Advantage Tebow: +563 Rushing Yards, + 162 Total Yards, +4 Rushing TDs, +4 Total TDs, – 7 Ints, -7 TOs, +13.6 QBR, +4 wins.
In this vacuum Tebow had more total yards than Sanchez, a higher QBR, more total TDs, less turnovers, and most importantly more WINS. Not to mention Tebow was thrown into the fire with a first team offense that he barely practiced with. Sanchez has been the Jets starter since the summer of 2009.
Nov 11, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) walks off the field following a turnover against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
Now there is one situation where I rather have Mark Sanchez than Tim Tebow: pocket is protected, route running is crisp, snap is perfect, play call is exactly what OC wants, Mark understands any defensive adjustments and coverages. Then I will take/you might see the Sanchise. Problem is this is the NFL and a defense gets paid millions of dollars to rattle the offensive rhythm and flow. Mark cannot handle a “not” ideal play situation; Tebow thrives and loves the challenge.
Another challenge Tim Tebow loves is playing the quarterback position. The man lives for the moment and wants to be the most successful starter in football. I’ll begin with some stats to put Tebow in perspective with another great young quarterback at the time, John Elway. In his first 16 starts Tebow has 15 passing TDs, 8 rushing TDs, 23 total TDs, to only 9 Ints. The #1 overall John Elway had 9 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD, 10 total TDs, and 21 INTs in his first 16 starts. So when we judge Tebow understand that he is only a 3rd year player and has a lot of time to get better in this league; but the will to be the best and the talent is there.
My criteria for judging great QB talents of college like Tebow is quite simple, and based on five basic categories: love for the game, work ethic (dedication), fearlessness in the pocket, quarterback knowledge (ability to read defense), and physical size and strength.
I broke this criteria down with the likes of quarterback busts Tim Couch, Eric Crouch, Matt Leinart, Ryan Leaf, Todd Marinovich and JaMarcus Russell. Couch’s problem was fear in the pocket leading to massive hesitation on routine throws. Eric Crouch was size, strength, and knowledge. Ryan Leaf has issues in every category besides size and strength. Todd Marinovich was work ethic and love for the game. Matt Leinart same as Marinovich. JaMarcus Russell is work ethic, love for the game, and ability to read defenses. The list goes on and on. Now does Tim Tebow lack in any of these categories? Even slightly? NOT EVEN CLOSE!
Tim Tebow absolutely loves the game of football, works harder than most players (based on what I have seen), is absolutely fearless in the pocket, understands how to read defenses (even though he can get better), and definitely has the size and strength at 6 foot 3 to make any and every throw. Not to mention Tebow was top 15 in every weight lifting category at Florida (yes offensive linemen included).
But can Tim Tebow make the throws to be a NFL quarterback?
Nov 11, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan observes pre game warmups by New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
Yes Tim Tebow does have a slow and unorthodox release, but the man can buy enough time to make throws that will demoralize a defense. Look at what Russell Wilson is doing in Seattle and Tebow can do just that, but better. Not to mention he has worked his tail off trying to fix that release and it has gotten much better from his rookie 2010 season.
On top of that Tebow’s game is predicated on an option read running scheme that in my opinion is the most effective running play in football. With the option read you essentially give your offense a two way go to either run off tackle left or off tackle right. It all falls on the quarterback to decide whether to give the football to the back or keep it for himself. This is based on how the backside end plays the keep and Tebow is great at confusing this end. When the end comes down to tackle the running back Tebow swiftly keeps the rock and is off; when the end stays at home; Tebow gives it to the RB. Last year the Denver Broncos benefitted greatly from this as a Tim Tebow led rushing attack was first in the NFL with 2,632 yards. Tebow rushed for 660 yards (2nd amongst QBs), & his 47.1 rushing yards/game ranked first among all quarterbacks. Not to mention averaging more rushing yards per game than Roy Helu, Daniel Thomas, James Starks, and BenJarvus Green –Ellis; and more 20+ yard runs than Marshawn Lynch and Shonn Greene. Rex what was that about Ground and Pound?
When defenses try to stop the option read they resort to bringing safeties up in the box. At this point Tebow can and will torch you deep. Tebow throws a great deep ball, and that is comparing him to any quarterback. Against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense daring Tebow to throw deep, playing with at least 8 defenders in the box, Tebow became the only QB to complete three 50 +yard passes in one postseason game since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970. Tebow’s three 50+ yard throws were also the most the Steelers have allowed in one game in the last 10 years. Tebow also completed FIVE throws of 30+ yards or more (Steelers allowed seven all season). The Steelers also happened to have statistically the number one pass defense in football, allowing only 171.9 yards through the air. Tebow 316’d that bad boy and more importantly WON THE GAME. Tebow’s 300+ yard, 2 TDs performance made him the fifth quarterback to do that in his postseason opener, joining a list including Daunte Culpepper, Kurt Warner, Erik Kramer, and Joe Montana.
Aug 10, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) hands a young fan his wrist band after the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals beat the Jets 17-6. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Tebow mania, oh Tebow mania. Do I really need to get into this? I will say Tebow came in and won 7 of 8 lifting a team that was statistically one of the worst in football. Tebow also had the highest 4th quarter QBR in football. Now if Tebow really can’t throw and play QB, then he must have a ton of confidence being able to pull all that off in one season. I mean he didn’t even practice the playbook in training camp with those guys.
Many ask: why was Tim Tebow a first round pick? He should have been drafted in the 4th round.
Well let me tell you about the man who drafted Tim Tebow. That man is Josh McDaniels and he started his coaching career as a graduate assistant under the wings of the great Nick Saban. At the time Nick Saban was very close with Bill Belichick; serving as the Cleveland Browns DC under Belichick from 1991-1994. Too bad Art Modell really loved crab cakes and reubens. After leaving Michigan State, Saban recommended Josh McDaniels to Bill Belichick and a year later Josh was working as Patriots personnel assistant. Four years later he would be calling plays for the New England Patriots and coaching one of the best quarterbacks ever.
During his tenure as the New England Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels put together some of the best offenses in NFL history and helped mold a quarterback many thought of as a “manager” into one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, in Tom Brady.
August 24, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New England Patriots 30-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The pinnacle of McDaniels offensive teaching and play calling success was with the 2007 New England Patriots. That New England offense scored the most points & touchdowns in NFL history, not to mention winning the most games in one season (16). Tom Brady threw for a NFL record 50 TDs and many consider his 2007 campaign the greatest single season performance by a quarterback ever. The next year even with an injured Brady, McDaniels called plays and mentored Matt Cassel, who attempted a total of 11 passes in college. Cassell would go on to have his best year ever (will always be his best year) as a pro throwing for 3,693 yards, 21 TDs, 11 Ints, a 63.1 QBR, and earning a trip to the Pro Bowl.
After 2008, Josh was given permission to interview for NFL head coaching jobs, and was eventually hired by the Denver Broncos in 2009. That year the Broncos won 6 straight games to open the season and the recently acquired Kyle Orton looked like a working man’s version of Tom Brady (10 TDs, 1 Int in 6 games); however the DEN season quickly fell apart. There are a variety of reasons why this happened, but many speculate it stemmed from a ton of negativity regarding McDaniels trading a popular Jay Cutler, which lead to an unhappy Brandon Marshall (oh boy). This led to the Broncos collapsing, but still finishing 8-8. The next year would not get any better as the NE Spygate scandal followed McDaniels in Denver as it was determined that a man McDaniels hired as the Broncos team director of video operations, Steve Scarmecchia, had filmed a San Francisco 49ers walkthrough practice. McDaniels claimed to never see the tape so he never reported the incident to the NFL; bad move. Both the Broncos & McDaniels were fined $50,000 each. Broncos were 3-9 and Josh was eventually fired.
Fast forward to this year. McDaniels is the offensive coordinator for a New England Patriots offense averaging over 430 yards/game. At that pace they would have 4th most explosive offense in terms of yards per game in NFL history. Couple that with 2007, and Josh McDaniels would be responsible for two top 10 offenses in NFL history.
Now this is when it gets good: so as head coach for the Denver Broncos Josh McDaniels took part in two NFL drafts. Now guess whom the offensive guru drafted with the 25th pick in 2010 draft? TIM TEBOW. Now why would Josh McDaniels, a guy who knows so much about running a successful NFL offenses with pocket passers (Brady, Cassel, Orton), draft a guy who many claim can’t throw a football or play QB? The better question is why are people questioning Tim Tebow?
In college, Tebow broke SEC records for total TDs (1 shy of NCAA record), rushing TDs, total yards, passer rating* (broke NCAA record), lowest interception ratio, and most points (non kicker). *Later would be broken.
Oct 28, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) warms up before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLIfe Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
Yes Tim does have an awkwardly slow release; but when you have a guy that knows how to buy time his release is not what’s most important. He is arguable the best leader in football history and make players around him better. That is what’s important in my eyes. Not to mention a guy in college who had a year where he threw for 32 TDs and rushed for 23 TDs (55 TOTAL TDS). So it’s not like the ability is not there. Those Tebow led Gators played offense better than many NFL teams (Jets cough).
While Tebow buys the time to make plays, Mark Sanchez does the complete opposite; and you want to know what it boils down to? Not ability or preparation, but fear in the pocket. Tim Tebow is one of the most fearless quarterback I have ever seen. He will always find a way to escape and make a play in a big moment. Compare that with a Sanchez who is flat out “shell-shocked.”
Well ladies and gents the fact is Tim Tebow can be an extremely successful quarterback in the NFL and he should be the Jets starter for not only the present but also the future. Sure draft a QB because we need to get more conventional talent at that position, but I think Tebow as the starter will do. If the Jets can find an offensive coordinator committed to make it work with Tebow, he will no doubt deliver. You realize I did not mention the word “clutch” once in this article. I tried to back up everything up with facts and felt that “clutchness” is very hard to put a number on. But I do have one last stat to wrap it up. In 16 career starts Tebow has 7 game winning drives; the same as the great Aaron Rodgers who has started 71 games.
Thanks to Frankie for taking the time. Please check out his site, Flopping Out, and each and every Friday night at 7 PM, check out his terrific show, Flight 5. Also be sure to give Frank a follow on Twitter (@hashtagfrankie), he is a great Jets fan, a funny guy, and loves talking Jets football.