New York Jets: Refusal to Play Tim Tebow Proves Ryan's Deficiencies as Coach

Neil ShulmanCorrespondent INovember 12, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 21:  Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets yells to the referees during the game against the New England Patriots on October 21, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

I've never particularly liked the New York Jets.

Let me just throw that on the table right away. I did root for them though, once upon a time, until Rex Ryan came along as the head coach.

As a Florida Gator fan, albeit a realistic one (for example, the Gators, at No. 6 in the BCS polls, do not deserve a chance at a BCS title, yet three upsets and there they are) who likes to look at things the way they are, without rose colored lenses.

I want to see Tim Tebow play if only because he cannot possibly do any worse than Mark Sanchez. What I see right now instead is a green-clad laughingstock of not just New York, not just the NFL, but of the entire sports world.

I'll give Ryan credit for being a great defensive coach. But great defenses alone do not win in the NFL. The old adage "defense wins championships" is simply inaccurate. You need at least two of the three phases: Offense, defense and special teams. Two can hide the other. But one cannot mask the other two.

As a head coach, it is your responsibility to make sure everything is going well—not just your designed area. Your defense can play great and give up 13 points, but if your offense scores nothing and gives the opponent two easy touchdowns with turnovers or really short fields, and your special teams gets a punt blocked for a TD, that score is 34-0, which was what happened against San Francisco.

Now the Jets are 3-6, and in real danger of missing the playoffs—again.

Doesn't this sound familiar?

To me it does. The Broncos under Kyle Orton were 1-4. Tebow took over and went 7-4 as a starter, got the Broncos to the playoffs and even won a round, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Round.

Week after week, Ryan provides more BS excuses for not using Tebow. Some include: "We brought Tebow in to be our backup QB", "Mark could use some help from his teammates", and everybody's favorite, "I feel that Mark Sanchez gives us our best chance to win".

In his defense, the rest of the Jets' roster is equally awful. Even the defense is slowly crumbling, giving up 363 yards to Seattle. Dropped passes, blocked punts, no offensive line, and more recently, the defense getting unceremoniously torched by trick plays have become the trademarks of the Jets.

It's so bad, in fact, that Jets fans have secretly admitted that to themselves, but they choose to not publicly acknowledge the fact that they suck and instead, when faced with arguments with other teams' fans, they cling to this gem: "well, we have the best player (Revis) in the NFL."

Really, that's how much of a joke they are. Never mind the fact that you could stick Ray Lewis on the worst high school team in America and claim that they have the best player in America, and never mind that Revis isn't even playing due to injury; the easy counterargument is that despite having said best NFL player, your team is still atrocious.

But this isn't a crash course in arguing with Jets fans. This is an argument that the Jets as a team are horrible, and Sanchez fits right in.

When you think about it, is the current Jets situation really any different than what Tebow had last year in Denver?

Aside from Demariyus Thomas, who is an average NFL wide receiver at best, and Willis McGahee, who did the Broncos have that bailed Tebow out? Eric Decker? A horrible offensive line that would have been tops in the league in sacks allowed if not for Tebow's evasiveness? Certainly not the 22nd ranked defense in the NFL?

No, aside from McGahee and Thomas, Tebow had nothing—repeat nothing—to work with. And I'll admit, the first 55 minutes or so of every game was awful...yet Tebow still found ways to win games. 

The NFL doesn't work like college football, where polls and computers look at your schedule strength, margin of victory and quality wins. No, it just goes by wins and losses. Tebow wouldn't have gotten many style points, but damn it if he didn't save Denver in the clutch time and again. I'm not even sure my favorite NFL player, Eli Manning, could have pulled off half the comebacks Tebow did given his teammates and situation.

But back to Ryan's advocacy for Sanchez. I know, Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum drafted Sanchez with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. I know they're trying to squeeze every ounce of production out of him that they can.

Most importantly, I know that they're trying to save themselves by waiting for a good outing by Sanchez to point at and crow about their genius draft selection. They are in love with Sanchez, and I think that's adorable, but right now, it's grown up time and time to put on their brains.

Sanchez, regardless of how bad his teammates really are, is not going to help any. He's not going to mask his teammates' deficiencies and win games anyway. He's simply a terrible quarterback, and while Tebow certainly isn't the next Tom Brady as an NFL quarterback, he gives his team a better chance to win at the QB position.

He's inaccurate. He holds the ball too long (I'll put the blame 50/50 on his receivers for this one). The decisions he does make are often terrible. He has no escapability. He turns the ball over, both by fumble and by interception. He has no field awareness.

This all adds up to a bad quarterback on a bad team. All of this was hidden in 2009 and 2010 when he had a real team around him, because all he had to do was make one or two big plays a game. Now, he still makes one or two big plays a game, but makes five or six bad ones.

Tebow's running ability give his team so many elements it doesn't have with Sanchez: The ability to extend plays and give receivers more time to get open, the ability to gain yardage himself on the ground, the ability to force defenders to pay attention to him as a runner to free up somebody else, etc.

There are so many advantages Tebow's running ability opens up, and if only Rex Ryan would stop blatantly lying about how much they plan to use him and actually play him, maybe the Jets' offense would finally move the ball.

The only arguable advantage Sanchez has over Tebow is that he throws a prettier ball. And I don't even think he does that better than Tebow, but that's not the point. Even if he does, there are so many other ways in which Tebow would be better for the sick Jets franchise.

Talking about it alone does nothing. It's up to Ryan to realize that with each passing week, the Jets sink further and further into the depths of depravity. And it's up to Ryan to put Tebow in the game as the starting QB, and see what happens, if only because he cannot possibly do any worse than Mark Sanchez.

I'll say it again to reiterate: I'm not claiming Tebow is the best QB in the NFL, nor is he even in the top half. But for god's sake, he is better than Sanchez in so many ways, so he needs to start if the Jets have any hopes of making the playoffs.

Basically, it's up to Ryan to decide if he wants to ride Sanchez deeper into the hole he's dug for the Jets, or if he wants to turn to Tim Tebow to clean up the mess Sanchez started.