Although Week 3 has literally just come to an end, Monday marked the end of the 2012 season for the New York Jets. While of course that’s being drastic, the Jets have looked like a completely different team when all-world cornerback Darrelle Revis is playing and when he’s not and they just got news today that they won’t have him for the rest of the season.
As Revis’s knee crumbled Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, so did any and all hopes that the Jets had of getting back to their third AFC Championship game in four seasons. The team looked as deflated without him for the majority of the second half as they did Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, also without their star d-back, and they have to be doubting themselves as losing Revis almost cripples Rex Ryan’s defense.
Revis is most likely the best cover cornerback in the NFL. Ryan’s able to shut down almost an entire side of the field at times with Revis locking down receivers regularly allows for the Jets to hone in on the run and surprise offenses with their blitz schemes. The often self-proclaimed defensive genius Ryan will have a lot to prove without his top gun on defense, and with his offense struggling for much of the last two weeks, Ryan could end up unemployed by the end of the season if his team doesn’t find a spark somewhere to save the season.
As if this couldn’t have been planned any better, enter Tim Tebow.
As sweet as his fake punt run this past week was, everyone knows the Jets didn’t go out and trade for Tebow this past offseason to have him play special teams and attempt to run receiver routes while taking throws off his helmet every so often. With Mark Sanchez being America’s favorite scapegoat, the writing was on the wall for the Jets to replace him with America’s sweetheart Tebow. It doesn’t help Sanchez that the team has blatantly ignored glaring needs each and every offseason to help bring along their young quarterback and brought in Tony Sparano, the man who introduced the Wild Cat formation to the NFL, to be their new offensive coordinator.
It’s not all that surprising that the Jets haven’t shown their cards with what they have planned for Tebow more over the first few games of the season and it would be less surprising if Tebow takes over the offense from Sanchez. This season could get away from the Jets real quick with three of their next four games coming against San Francisco, Houston and New England, and if the Jets aren’t winning, you know their fan base will be calling for number 15 to see more of the field.
Nobody believed when the Jets acquired Tebow that he and Sanchez would share snaps, because a two-quarterback system has never worked before in the NFL and it likely wouldn’t work now–with the Jets of all dysfunctional teams. Ryan has stayed loyal to his incumbent QB, but Sanchez has been as shaky this season as he’s been through his first three seasons, and with the Jets receiving corps already looking worse by the week, when will Ryan try his fortune with his other QB option?
If Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill are dropping passes from Sanchez, why not take the risk with Tebow? We already know that both Sparano and Ryan would prefer to run the ball than throw it, and it’s not like Sparano would need to throw out his play book and come up with something from scratch the way Denver Broncos coach John Fox did last season. This is a move that just makes too much sense not to happen.
When it does happen, will Tebow really give the Jets a better chance to save their season than Sanchez does? Can Tebowmania run wild on the NFL in 2012 like it(he) did in 2011? Long story short, I’m leaning towards yes. As I mentioned before, the Jets haven’t upgraded the running backs or receivers around Sanchez, in fact, he has less weapons by the season.
Tebow is his own weapon. With him running the Wild Cat, Kerley and third-string running back Joe McKnight become more dangerous. A receiver like Hill, who’s better at running short routes and run blocking, becomes more valuable. Santonio Holmes becomes rather useless, and probably even demands a trade before acknowledging Tebow as his savior, but almost every other player on the Jets offensive end of the ball probably flourishes more with Tebow.
The Jets’ biggest issues on offense last season were keeping Sanchez upright and receivers breaking off from their defensive backs. Those problems don’t seem to have been addressed. At least with Tebow under center, the Jets will have a quarterback who can buy more time for his receivers, as well as better elude the consistent collapsing of defenses against the Jets offensive line.
While I, like many, don’t believe a QB of Tebow’s stature (translation: running QB who can hardly throw the ball) can win in the NFL, I think the Jets have been itching to replace Sanchez, and if anyone were to “believe” in Tebow, it would be them. In a season that could get real ugly, real fast, the team with the most expensive average seat in the NFL is going to need as many reasons as they can wrap their heads around to entice fans to show up on Sundays and Tebow might be that reason.
Sanchez has played the role of scapegoat for the Jets beautifully since being drafted in 2009 and Tebow has been cast for the role of savior for the Jets. Even if things don’t work out for Tebow or the Jets, the team’s front office has made clear that they want to roll the dice with the controversial quarterback.
Will their gamble work out? Can Tebow save Rex Ryan and the Jets?
For hoops, hip-hop and other random sports and pop culture commentary, follow Jared Mintz on Twitter @JaredMintzTruth