Before placing blame for the Jets’ misguided decision to acquire quarterback-of-all-trades Tim Tebow and their inability to use him effectively, a determination must be made that blame should be placed.
In the apparent opinion of Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, there’s no reason for blame because the Tebow experiment wasn’t a disaster.
“It’s combination of things but I wouldn’t use the words ‘didn’t work’ at all,” Sparano said, via Jane McManus of ESPNNewYork.com.
“We had a plan going into this thing,” Sparano said. “But obviously the plan always, at that particular time, was that Mark was the quarterback and Tim would have a role and to what degree the role was, if I remember correctly, it was one-to-20 plays in a game. Some days it was eight, some days it was one, some days it was none. Just predicated on what we saw out there. Tim has worked really hard out here, he’s done a good job, he’s worked hard on the practice field, but that’s where we are.”
Sparano is right about that one-to-20 snaps; he cited that number back in May. Still, there was an expectation that Tebow would do a lot more than he did.
The effort to declare victory and retreat from Tebow includes an explanation from Sparano that presumptions of multiple big plays from the Tebow package were inaccurate. “The way that I think the perception is of the Wildcat is that we had a bunch of these 30-yard gains,” Sparano said. “That wasn’t the case in Miami, either. In Miami, it wasn’t the case at all. We just did it a lot more, so the two-yard gains and the five-yard gains [didn’t stand out[, but then the 15-yard gain, I guess that jumped out more than the two or the five.”
So if the bar was that low, why not use Tebow more often? After all, one of the stated goals was to force opposing defenses to spend less time preparing for the base offense by accounting for the Tebow package. Once it became clear that: (1) Tebow wouldn’t be used much on offense; and (2) when used the outcome would be nothing like, for example, Miami’s torching of the Patriots in 2008, there was no need to worry about Tebow.
There also was no need to worry about the Jets’ offense. Ranked 30th in total yards and 31st in yards per play, the franchise is moving in the wrong direction under Sparano.
Thus, regardless of whether the Tebow package was a failure or a success (and if it really was a success we’d hate to see what it would have looked like if it were a failure), Sparano likely will soon be joining Tebow as a former employee of the team.