Jacksonville Jaguars Progress Report: Would Tim Tebow Help in 2013?

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistDecember 27, 2012

Get ready, Jacksonville.
Get ready, Jacksonville.Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are 2-13 and in last place in the AFC South. They are tied for the worst record in football.

In Week 17, they head to LP Field to play the Tennessee Titans.

The Jaguars rank 28th on offense, 29th on defense and 30th overall in DVOA.


Primary Talking Point for Week 17


As if the world hadn't already had enough Tim Tebow-related drama from the New York Jets, Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that the legendary ex-Florida Gator would return to the Jaguars.

Mort went as far as to call it "a virtual certainty." He even went so far as to quote an unnamed Jaguars official as saying Tebow would get a chance to start at quarterback as part of an open competition.

Let's all assume for moment that Mortensen is correct and Shad Khan is planning on going after Tebow. What would it mean for Jacksonville?

First, it would likely lead to sold tickets. The Jags have had no problem selling seats in 2012, but if their plan is to enter the 2013 season with Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert as their quarterbacks, they will have a hard time selling out.

The crisis the Jags face is that there aren't any obvious quarterback solutions on the open market this offseason. They are all but locked into repeating the worst quarterback situation in the NFL.

Adding Tebow won't do anything to help that, of course. He's not actually better than either Henne or even Gabbert. What he will do is generate enough buzz to sell some tickets.

With that trio of quarterbacks, there's no chance the Jaguars finish 2013 with more than a handful of wins, ensuring another high draft pick and a second chance at landing the franchise changer who isn't there in 2012.

If they don't sign Tebow, they'll be in the exact same situation, but they'll be there with fewer tickets sold.


Injury Update

Aside from the 22 players on injured reserve, there aren't many injury issues to discuss.

Of course, all north Florida is on pins and needles to find out if Maurice Jones-Drew will return from his foot injury to play in the season finale against the Titans.

The biggest worry for the Jaguars long term is Cecil Shorts. He was placed on IR thanks to concussion issues.

Obviously, Shorts' long-term health is the most important thing, and head injuries have a way of lingering. It's a shame for the team to lose one of the few breakout stars it had just before he hit the 1,000-yard receiving mark.


Coaching Watch

Mike Mularkey's stock is still low, despite a gritty effort from his team against New England.

That goes back to Tebow.

Mularkey was said to be against bringing Tebow on board in the spring, and if the rumors of the Jags' interest in him are true, it could mean Mularkey is gone.

There is another way to look at it, however.

Mularkey and Gene Smith had an arrangement that the head coach would do everything possible to make it work for Blaine Gabbert. It's possible Mularkey would have seen the insertion of Tebow on the roster as complicating the terms under which he took the job in Jacksonville.

Now that the Gabbert train has derailed, Mularkey may be more flexible. Mularkey and Tebow have many things in common. Both are ex-Florida Gators, and they share similar faith convictions.

There's no reason for Mularkey to be inherently anti-Tebow other than that he was already under orders to play a different player.

If accepting Tebow is the only factor between Mularkey keeping his job or being fired, he'll find a way to make it work.


General Manager Watch

The Jaguars are likely entering the final week of the Gene Smith era, and it fittingly ended with the Pro Bowl announcements.

The Jaguars don't have any Pro Bowlers.

The only Jaguar for whom you could make an argument for the Pro Bowl, punter Bryan Anger, is exhibit A for why Smith must go.

In taking a potential Pro Bowl punter, he missed a chance to take Russell Wilson, a potential franchise quarterback.

Some say that isn't fair to Smith. After all, the Jaguars already had Gabbert and Henne.

That's the point though, isn't?

Smith thought Henne and Gabbert were potential answers at the position.

That's exactly why as the Jags fans say, "Gene must go!"


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