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Putting a Period on the New York Jets Tim Tebow Experiment

By Alan Schechter
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Dec 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) waves to fans before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Just under 24 hours ago, Tim Tebow was released by the New York Jets, ending a year-long experiment that was buried in failure. From the moment that he arrived here on his private jet, to the moment he found out that he was being released, this experiment was more of the “Tim Tebow Error”, than the “Tim Tebow Era”. Now that the dust has settled, let’s look back and reflect on what was, and what could have been.

THIS MOVE HAD TO BE MADE

The only question was why John Idzik didn’t release Tebow sooner. From the moment this move was made last year, it was doomed to fail. The attention around the team was just too much. When you have a fragile team, with a fragile mindset, you don’t bring a guy to that team that is going to increase the media attention by double or triple. No backup quarterback on this planet, no backup player in any sport, garners this kind of attention.

The Jets are moving into a new era. John Idzik is here, and he is making his way through the roster, and removing the circus elements. Tim Tebow, based on the throngs of dedicated fans and media he brings, is part of the circus. For the Jets to move forward at all, he had to go.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN

What could have been with this situation? Well, it was sure talked up before the season, wasn’t it? If it had gone as well as it had been talked up, it would have been the most innovative offensive move in the NFL. There were even secret practices that the media were kept out of, deepening the mystery of the situation. Are they designing some secret, hybrid of the “Wildcat” that nobody has ever seen before? Apparently not, all they were doing was bluffing.

What could have been was a Brad Smith-esque weapon. They could have used Tim Tebow in these types of plays, but it didn’t happen. He was used once in a while, for essentially a three yard dive up the middle. That was it.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

There is plenty of blame to go around for why the experiment failed. A big portion has to go to the Jets’ coaching staff. For some reason, they had no idea how to use Tim effectively. It was a surprise, as Tony Sparano used Pat White, and running back Ronnie Brown in the similar role, so him not knowing how to use a quarterback in the role was shocking.

The Jets, for jumping in the mix to acquire him in the first place, deserve blame. Why? Because they weren’t prepared to use him. When you are bringing in a guy like Tebow, everyone has to be on board with how he is going to be used. Clearly, nobody was, so that means the move was a bad idea in the first place.

Turn the page, and the truths are going to be a little bit harder to accept, especially for Tim’s fans.

Dec. 23, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) on the sidelines during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at MetLife Stadium. Chargers won 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Now for the truths that Tim Tebow’s fans don’t want to hear.

Tim is a big part of the problem. It’s not necessarily his fault, in that he isn’t deliberately part of the problem. But, in order to have a chance to see the field in the future, here are some thoughts to give him a chance.

First of all, he needs to become a better practice player. I know, all of his fans talk about what he does late in games. I agree, he has had a great deal of late-game heroics. But, you have to be on the field late in the game in order to have those opportunities. How will he get on the field? Improve as a practice player. That may sound silly, but this is when guys get evaluated. You have to perform reasonably well in practice. If you are a quarterback, you have to become a consistent one, and where does that happen? On the practice field. If it doesn’t, coaches are going to be skeptical the rest of the way.

Let’s talk about the media coverage now. The overabundance of media coverage is a major problem with bringing Tim Tebow into any team. Everyone flocks to this man, as we all know, and it is a distraction. Moving forward, it has to get under control. Nobody wants to bring in a player that is bigger than the rest of his team combined. Football is about a team, and someone who takes away attention from the team will be unwanted.

How does it stop? Tim Tebow has to stop it. No, I am not saying that he gets the attention on purpose. I am NOT accusing him of inviting the media to come hoard around him. What I AM saying is that he needs to be part of the solution, and that would be by stopping it.

No matter where he ends up, if he is the backup, he needs to turn the media away. If he ends up in, Chicago, just for argument sake. Tressman knows Tebow well, I guess it could happen. The media will be around him every moment, and Tim needs to turn that around. Tim needs to say, “I’m the backup, go talk to Jay.” If you are going to be a team guy, put the focus on the team. If Tim does that, NFL coaches will be more willing to bring him around.

Finally, be open to anything and everything that will make him a better football player. Work on those mechanics, because we all know that Tim Tebow wants to be a quarterback. Also, stop being stubborn about changing positions. The people who are making the suggestions want him to succeed. Tim Tebow is a nice guy, how could you not want him to succeed? That being said, he shouldn’t be adverse to the idea. These are coaches and scouts that know football. Think about it. Keep an open mind.

There you have it, my final thoughts on our year with Tim Tebow. Good luck to him, and I mean it, wherever he might end up.

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