Photo: Getty Images/Jeff Zelevansky
Two weeks into the season, the Jets have used Tim Tebow on exactly twelve offensive plays.12.
After all the preseason talk of double-secret Tebow packages, he has been something no one anticipated coming into the season — obsolete.
But don’t freak out just yet.
Because when you take a deeper look at these first two games, you see that the Jets never really had a chance to unleash the Tebow, and we could see much more of him in the coming weeks.
Let’s start in Week One against the Bills.
Tebow started that game at wide receiver. Nothing came of it, but it was a playful attempt at foreshadowing, and implied that Tebow had a large and unconventional role within the offence.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to see anything else from Tebow because the Jets so utterly dominated Buffalo that the game was over at halftime. He came on to run a few read-option plays, but New York would have been downright stupid to show the rest of the league what they were planning to do with Tebow during a beat-down in Week One.
So yeah, the Jets didn’t use Tebow much in their first game, but that had everything to do with how quickly the blowout escalated.
Now let’s turn to yesterday’s 27-10 loss to the Steelers, in which Tebow spent just three plays under centre.
The Jets started the game with drives of 95 yards and 61 yards, respectively. They were moving the ball effectively and there was no reason to take Mark Sanchez out of rhythm while he was piling up first downs.
The Jets only had one other drive in the first half (well, two, but one was with a couple of seconds left in the half), and the game went into halftime 13-10 Steelers. Tebow didn’t play at all in the first half and for good reason — the Jets only had three real drives, and Mark Sanchez was money on two of them.
But after Sanchez didn’t do anything on his first drive of the second half and the Steelers upped their lead to 20-10, the Jets turned to Tebow. On the first play, he took a keeper 22 yards and looked to be on his way to his first TD drive as a Jet.
That didn’t happen. Two plays later, the Jets found themselves with a 2nd & 16 on the Pittsburgh 45, in desperate need of a score to stay in the game. So they went back to Sanchez.
It’s a controversial move, but it makes sense. Tebow does a lot of things well, but passing in long yardage situations is not one of them. Sanchez simply gave them a better chance to pick up a first down at a critical juncture of the game.
The move ultimately failed, with Sanchez throwing two quick incompletions, but it was probably the way to go.
After that the Jets went into comeback mode. And while Tebow did pull some magic late in games last year, he’s objectively not the type of quarterback you want on the field when the defence knows you have to pass, especially when you have a (in theory) sharp-passing starter in Sanchez.
In short: Yes, Tebow has barely played. But he hasn’t played because the flow of the Jets’ first two games didn’t give them the opportunity to use him.
After two weeks, we still don’t know what the Jets have planned for him. And there is, unquestionably, still hope that New York will use Tebow more creatively in the future.
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