AFC East: Tim Tebow to Jets

Morning take: Tim Tebow debate

June, 25, 2012
6/25/12
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Here are the most interesting stories Monday in the AFC East: Morning take: A case can certainly be made for Tebow. He's one of the NFL's most popular athletes and his production doesn't match his popularity. That has led many to like or dislike Tebow.
  • Sean Smith's improvement could make the Miami Dolphins' secondary ready to take the next step.
Morning take: Miami's pass defense was ranked 25th in the NFL last season. The front seven is stout, but Smith could help solidify the back end.
Morning take: Gilmore was considered one of the safest picks in this draft. He should be a starter from Day 1 in Buffalo's revamped defense.
Morning take: Addai's best days are behind him, but he can add stability and a veteran presence to a young group. Addai played most of his career with Peyton Manning. That should help with Tom Brady.

Show and prove: Tim Tebow

June, 10, 2012
6/10/12
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The AFC East blog continues its series on players who have a lot to prove in 2012. Next up is the backup quarterback for the New York Jets.

Tim Tebow, Jets

2011 stats: 11 starts, 1,729 yards, 12 touchdowns, 6 interceptions

What he has to prove: Tebow, first and foremost, has to prove he can be an asset to the Jets, who acquired him in a trade with the Denver Broncos this offseason. New York's coaching staff is behind Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback, but the team wants to find creative ways to get the most out of Tebow's abilities. That includes the Wildcat, special teams and maybe a few surprises. Eventually, Tebow wants to prove that he can be a full-time quarterback. But that’s not the expectation this season in New York unless Sanchez struggles. For now, Tebow must concentrate on being the best overall football player he can be.

Walker's 2012 outlook: I'm more optimistic about Tebow's fit with the Jets than most people. Despite the distractions and circus that come with him, I can understand the Xs and Os of why the Jets think things can work. Tebow is a good football player with solid strength and athleticism. What is not mentioned in the stats is Tebow's 660 rushing yards with Denver last season. The Jets need that from Tebow the most. As I’ve mentioned before, Sanchez is the biggest key to making this all function. If Sanchez is doing his job as the starting (and passing) quarterback, the Tebow experiment can work. But if Sanchez struggles, is benched and gives way to Tebow as the new full-time quarterback, the Jets are flirting with disaster.

For all the pressure the outside media and fans are putting on New York Jets quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, the pair appear to be fine so far on the practice field.

The latest case of good harmony is the New York Daily News report of Sanchez inviting Tebow to his "Jets West" passing camp. Tebow, in an effort to get better, accepted the invite.

The fact that Sanchez invited his backup, who is pushing him for the starting job, to his passing camp is a sign that Sanchez is inspired, not threatened.

There is always potential for a quarterback controversy in New York this year. Sanchez (25) and Tebow (24) are nearly the same age. Both are former first-round picks and have won playoff games early in their careers. If Sanchez doesn't perform early, the pressure to play Tebow will be immense.

But despite the various criticisms, one thing you cannot deny is the high character of Sanchez and Tebow. Both players are hard workers and have a big will to win. Making the Jets a playoff team again, first and foremost, is what's driving both quarterbacks to improve.

The Jets anticipated the "Tebow effect" would be good for Sanchez when they made the trade. So far the team is correct.

We have yet another example of Tebow-mania running wild in New York.

In Sports Illustrated's "Monday Morning Quarterback," Peter King counted the words at the five biggest newspapers in New York during last week's organized team activities. The two biggest stories last week were Tim Tebow's debut with the Jets and Giants No. 1 receiver Hakeem Nicks' foot injury in practice.

Nicks' injury is a big one that might cause the stud receiver to miss the beginning of the regular season for the defending Super Bowl champs. The amount dedicated to the story, according to King, was 2,104 words. In contract, Tebow's first practice had 6,971 words, more than three times the media coverage.

In my journalistic opinion, Nicks' injury is a bigger story. He's a top impact player for the reigning champs, and the injury will take months to recover. Tebow will have plenty of other practices, but he moves the needle and sells papers.

It's clear what the New York media is doing. But now it's your turn. How much coverage do you think Tebow should get in the AFC East blog?

On one hand, Tebow is a backup quarterback. Other the other hand, he's one of the most well-known athletes in sports. So I'm curious to hear what our community thinks of this polarizing topic.
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow was not given a warm welcome at Yankee Stadium this weekend. Tebow reportedly was booed in front of the baseball-dominated crowd, along with NBA star Dwyane Wade, Sunday during a game between the Yankees and Los Angeles Angeles.

SportsNation

What do you make of Yankee fans booing Tim Tebow during an appearance at Sunday's game?

  •  
    37%
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    63%

Discuss (Total votes: 68,442)

Tebow is one of the most polarizing athletes in sports, but he's also one of the most popular. Just recently, Tebow drew about 15,000 people to a speaking engagement on Easter Sunday in Texas. A couple in Florida also paid $100,000 to spend a day with Tebow, further confirming his popularity.

So why did Tebow receive a not-so-warm welcome in the Bronx? Surely, there were New York Giants fans in the house Sunday night. After all, New York is a Giants town, not a Jets town.

But here's the one thing that's consistent about New York sports fans: You have to earn their respect. No athlete is given a free pass in the Big Apple, and Tebow won't be the exception. He will be cheered on the football field in New York once he helps the Jets win games.
New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow sure knows how to pack a crowd.

Tebow
The Dallas Morning News reports Tebow will speak on Easter Sunday to approximately 30,000 people. Tebow is expected to speak for 20 minutes at an outdoor service in Georgetown, Texas, which is near Austin.

This continues to show the nationwide popularity of Tebow. He surprised and inspired many by leading the Denver Broncos to the divisional playoff round in his second season, despite many critics.

Tebow was traded by Denver to the Jets earlier this offseason. He will back up starting quarterback Mark Sanchez as well as run New York's Wildcat package.
Here are the most interesting stories Thursday morning in the AFC East: Morning take: Miami has the most work to do in the AFC East this offseason. The Dolphins are rebuilding, while trying to install a new West Coast offense and 4-3 defense.
Morning take: Tebow and the Wildcat offense will get a lot of work this preseason. The Jets have to balance not showing too much, while still getting the formation sharp for the regular season.
Morning take: The Patriots would be jumping for joy if they got the best safety in the draft late in the first round. Barron would be a great fit and value for New England, but I don't see this one happening.
  • Barron's former teammate, running back Trent Richardson of Alabama, is visiting the Buffalo Bills.
Morning take: Don't get nervous, Bills fans. Buffalo is just doing its due diligence. The Bills will not do a C.J. Spiller 2.0 this year by drafting Richardson No. 10 overall.
New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow can help in several ways this season. But one minor facet Tebow can contribute that shouldn't be overlooked is on two-point conversions.

Tebow is at his best using his legs, size and strength to plow through a defense. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2011, which statistically makes it favorable for the Jets to use Tebow in two-point scenarios.

According to ESPN's Stats & Info, Tebow was 3-for-3 on two-point conversions during running plays last season with the Denver Broncos. Tebow ran it twice and successfully handed the ball off on another scoring play. The Broncos didn't use him enough with two-point conversions, but expect to see Tebow used more in Wildcat packages in this scenario.

Good two-point plays are often overlooked until teams really need them. Tebow's ability to get those tough yards is another underrated way he can contribute to the Jets next season.

Why Jets should do 'Hard Knocks'

April, 2, 2012
4/02/12
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Tim Tebow, Rex Ryan and the New York Jets on HBO's "Hard Knocks" this summer?

Yes, please!

Having television cameras tape your every move in training camp isn't for everyone. But the Jets are tailor-made for another go at the award-winning series.

Here are three reasons why:

1. Tebow-mania

The eyes of the sporting world will be keeping tabs on the Jets' addition of Tebow this summer and the dynamic he has with starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. Although there's not a quarterback competition going on, Tebow will naturally push Sanchez to be at his best. That makes for a natural, healthy competition people want to see.

Who wouldn't want to watch how Tebow integrates himself with a new team in New York? Jets fans would love to see how this develops. Tebow fans want to see, as well. This would be must-see, behind-the-scenes TV.

2. Jets did it recently

Whether it's familiarity or superstition, the Jets should have no problem going forward with this. New York is used to having HBO around. The Jets did "Hard Knocks" two years ago.

Was it a distraction? Not at all. The result was New York making the AFC title game. If people in New York are superstitious, they should want this to happen. The team was mediocre (8-8) last season without HBO around.

Playing in New York, every football season is a year-long version of "Hard Knocks" anyway. What's wrong with a little extra media around?

3. Jets have a story to tell

The 2012 Jets will be a story of a veteran team seeking redemption or a team starting their downfall. "Hard Knocks" can be at the ground level of New York's next chapter.

Can this team fix its chemistry issues? Is the arrow pointing up or down for this talented group?

This is a big year for Ryan and the Jets and, either way, it will be an interesting story.

Updating AFC East salary cap

April, 2, 2012
4/02/12
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NFL.com has the updated AFC East salary cap numbers as of late Friday. A lot has happened through two weeks of free agency.

Let's take a look of where the division teams currently stand.

Buffalo Bills

Cap room: $9,715,709

Analysis: Buffalo entered the offseason with a ton of cap room and spent it primarily on its pass-rush. Defensive end Mario Williams became the highest-paid player in Bills history with $100 million contract and fellow defensive end Mark Anderson also reportedly got $27.5 million. Bills general manager Buddy Nix says the team will spend to the cap this offseason. They still have room to make more signings. But all of the top free agents are gone.

Miami Dolphins

Cap room: $6,470,157

Analysis: I'm still scratching my head how Miami arguably has the least amount of star power on its roster, yet remains the most cap-strapped team in the division. Jake Long and Karlos Dansby are big names. But other than that, where is all the money going? The Dolphins traded Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall and cut leading tackler Yeremiah Bell to save cap room. They're also not paying for a franchise quarterback. Miami could use free agency to help fill the right side of the offensive line. But there's not much cash left to make any significant signings.

New England Patriots

Cap room: $9,944,664

Analysis: The Patriots are quietly bargain hunting in free agency, and many of their moves makes sense. Signings like receiver Brandon Lloyd, and defensive ends Trevor Scott and Jonathan Fanene were very affordable. Chad Ochocinco and Tom Brady's restructures gave the Patriots even more flexibility. I thought the franchise tag of about $9.4 million to Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker could hurt New England this offseason. But the Patriots have plenty of room to be fine with that number if Welker and the team do not work out an extension.

New York Jets

Cap room: $7,692,283

Analysis: Several restructures and quarterback Mark Sanchez's contract extension has put the Jets back on decent footing this offseason. Safety LaRon Landry and backup quarterback Tim Tebow were New York's big acquisitions. It also appears the team will retain veteran starting linebacker Bart Scott. The Jets are one of those teams where you're not sure if the arrow is pointing up or down in 2012. This is a club just one year removed from the AFC Championship Game. But last year's 8-8 season may be a sign of where this group currently stands.
The Tim Tebow trade with the Denver Broncos is one of the most high-profile acquisitions in recent memory for the New York Jets.

But will it be the best trade? That remains to be seen.

The Jets have made several big-name trades over the past five years. Here are the notable ones, courtesy of ESPN's Stats and Information:
  • March 2007: Acquired Thomas Jones & 2nd-round pick from Bears for 2nd-round pick
  • February 2008: Acquired Kris Jenkins from Panthers for 3rd & 5th-round picks
  • August 2008: Acquired Brett Favre & 7th-round pick from Packers for 3rd-round pick
  • February 2009: Acquired Lito Sheppard & 5th-round pick from Eagles for 5th-round pick and 2010 4th-round pick
  • October 2009: Acquired Braylon Edwards from Browns for Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik & 3rd and 5th-round picks
  • March 2010: Acquired Antonio Cromartie from Chargers for 2nd-round pick
  • April 2010: Acquired Santonio Holmes from Steelers for 5th-round pick
  • March 2012: Acquired Tim Tebow & 7th-round pick from Broncos for 4th & 6th-round picks

This is a solid track record with trades. Many have worked out for the Jets, at least to some degree. I would say the Jones and Jenkins trades probably brought back the most production. The Holmes and Cromartie trades also brought back two starters.

Where the Tebow trade fits in this remains to be seen. New York didn't give up much for Tebow -- just a fourth and a sixth-rounder -- but Tebow is a backup quarterback. Tebow’s toughness, character and athleticism will certainly add something to the Jets. New York just has to control the circus atmosphere and the potential for a quarterback controversy that comes with it.

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has to do his job as the starter to make the Tebow trade work. If Sanchez is throwing well, that allows Tebow to run and do the Wildcat packages well. That combination could be trouble for the AFC East and the rest of New York's opponents next season.

"If nothing else, you have to prepare for it and spend time on it," Bills head coach Chan Gailey said at the owners meetings. "It takes preparation away from the base offense. If nothing else, it's a thorn in your side in preparation as far as how much time you give to it and what you're going to do against it."

Will the Tebow trade be among the best moves the Jets made in recent years? There is potential for everything to fall in place -- and apart -- for New York.
Here are the most interesting stories Sunday morning in the AFC East: Morning take: Buffalo may need to slightly overdraft a player like receiver Michael Floyd or left tackle Riley Reiff. But if the player turns out to be a franchise building block, no one will care if he was taken No. 10 or No. 15.
  • New England Patriots backup offensive tackle Nate Solder is ready to take over if Matt Light retires.
Morning take: The Patriots did a smart thing by grabbing Solder in the first round last year. Solder is a good, developing player and will plug in well if needed.
  • Former New York Jets star running back Curtis Martin likes the acquisition of quarterback Tim Tebow.
Morning take: Everyone has an opinion on how this will work. But this is a hit-or-miss experiment, which makes it so intriguing.
  • The Miami Dolphins will be switching to more of a zone-blocking scheme in rookie coach Joe Philbin's West Coast offense.
Morning take: This means the offensive line will be asked to be more mobile this season. The Dolphins had more of a grinding running game up front. So there will be an adjustment.
Despite mixed reviews, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan is very excited about the acquisition of former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. The Jets plan to give Tebow a steady diet of snaps in their Wildcat offense under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.

Here is a sample of comments Ryan made about Tebow and the Wildcat at this week’s owners meetings:
  • "Trust me, I don't think DBs want to tackle [Tebow]. It's really a unique skill set ... That system, the Wildcat, he's the perfect guy, not to mention I think he's a guy that's ascending as a passer."
  • "Tim is a better inside runner than Brad [Smith]. His inside run game is like a fullback. He can run option, can run on perimeter and can throw."
  • "He"s not just a backup player. He’s a backup quarterback, but there’s things he’s going to do. Is he going to be our starting quarterback in the Wildcat? Absolutely."
  • "I think the Wildcat is alive and well."

From the sound of it, the Jets believe they have a fool-proof plan to mix Tebow with starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. There is potential for this to work. But it's up to both quarterbacks to perform and make this transition smooth in New York.

How Tim Tebow affects the AFC East

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
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Tim TebowAP Photo/Barry GutierrezThe Jets plan to take advantage of Tim Tebow's running ability in the Wildcat next season.

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- It was approximately 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, and a grumpy Bill Belichick wanted no part of discussing the AFC East's newest addition: Jets quarterback Tim Tebow.

"I'm just concentrating on our team," the New England Patriots coach said bluntly.

Does Tebow impact what the Patriots do defensively?

"I'm just trying to get better in the offseason, like we always do," Belichick scoffed.

The media kept trying with Tebow, but Belichick kept swatting it away.

"I'm trying to get ready with what we're doing," Belichick said. "I'm not really worried about the other three [division] teams."

Belichick wasn't interested in Tebow-mania. But, eventually, will Belichick's Patriots have a problem on their hands? Does the rest of the AFC East have a problem, as well?

"I think the Wildcat is alive and well," an excited Jets head coach Rex Ryan said this week at the NFL owners meeting.

Here's how Tebow and the Wildcat matches up with the other three teams in the AFC East. The Tebow trouble meter is based on a 10-point scale, with a 10 meaning he'll be a huge headache for a team to defend:

Patriots

Analysis: Tebow had mixed results against the Patriots in two games last season. Tebow had a field day in the first meeting, particularly early. He rushed for 93 yards and two touchdowns, as the Patriots seemed caught off-guard by Denver's offense in the regular season. The Broncos led 16-7 at one point before the Patriots' offense took over and scored 27 unanswered points. New England won 41-23.

The second meeting against Tebow was more one-sided in favor of the Patriots. New England was much more prepared for Tebow's read-option offense. He rushed for just 13 yards on five carries (2.6 yard average). Tebow actually gained 14 yards rushing on one play, but his other four attempts lost yards. Tebow also lost a fumble and New England won easily, 45-10.

In two games against New England, Tebow rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots have to prove that their postseason performance against the Broncos is more indicative of how they will stop Tebow in 2012, as opposed to the regular-season meeting.

Tebow trouble meter: 7

Buffalo Bills

Analysis: The Bills were the most prepared team against Tebow and the Broncos last season. Buffalo pummeled Tebow in Week 16 in a 40-14 victory. He threw three interceptions in the game and also lost a fumble. It was one of Tebow's worst performances of the year.

Bills head coach Chan Gailey believes his team was well-prepared for Tebow's read-option offense because the Bills have their own Wildcat package featuring versatile receiver/quarterback Brad Smith. Gailey is hopeful Buffalo's success against Tebow continues next season.

"We will get some work against the Wildcat-type offense in training camp, if nothing else," Gailey said. "To be honest, one of the reasons we have it is we think it is a definite advantage. What we say is this, 'If you got something that's unusual, the coaches are going to take an hour to sit down and talk about it, and you get on the field and do a 10-minute walkthrough on the Wildcat and in practice, out of 45 plays, teams will take maybe five of them on the Wildcat.'"

It also helps that the Bills invested a ton of money this offseason on their defensive line. Free-agent defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson should do a great job setting the edge against the Wildcat, which is key. Buffalo's defense has had other issues in the past, such as rushing the quarterback. But I don't see Tebow and the Wildcat giving the Bills too many problems based on the additions and what I saw last season.

Tebow trouble meter: 4

Miami Dolphins

Analysis: The Dolphins are an interesting case. They were the masters of the Wildcat under former head coach Tony Sparano. Now, Sparano is bringing the package to the Jets as their new offensive coordinator.

"I think it's hilarious," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "With Tony, everybody looks at this rough, tough, bloody-your-nose type of guy, which he is. But he’s very creative also, one of the most creative guys I’ve been around. I’m excited with what he can do with a guy with the skill set that Tim has."

There are still players on the Dolphins, both on offense and defense, who know the formation well.

However, Miami will be as far removed from the Wildcat as possible under first-year head coach Joe Philbin. The Dolphins are implementing a classic West Coast offense based on timing, precision and rhythm. The Wildcat goes against all that. So there won't be much prep time against Tebow until the week leading up to the Jets games.

Miami did a good job for more than three quarters against Tebow last season at Sun Life Stadium. Denver was scoreless until the final 2 minutes, 44 seconds of the game and pulled off a miraculous comeback by scoring 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and overtime. That game actually jump-started Tebow-mania.

Miami is stout against the run. But Tebow rushed for 59 yards and averaged 6.6 yards per carry against Miami. The Dolphins need to do a better job of stopping Tebow in their two meetings next season.

Tebow trouble meter: 7

Overall, Tebow has a chance to make an impact in the AFC East. But his success will vary, depending on the matchup. Tebow won't be able to win many games by himself with limited snaps as New York's backup quarterback. It will be up to starter Mark Sanchez to do his part with the passing offense for the Jets to reach their offensive potential.

Morning take: Growing up 'Gronk'

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
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Here are the most interesting stories Friday morning in the AFC East:
  • Here is a video on New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and his brothers.
Morning take: The "Gronks" are a unique bunch. Rob Gronkowski gets some criticism for his loose personality, but he may be the best tight end in football.
Morning take: No surprise there. Tebow chose the Jets over the Jaguars, which came with some risks. Time will tell if he made the right choice.
Morning take: Winning is the only way to do it. The Dolphins have had losing seasons five of the past six years. Until that changes, it will be hard to change the team's perception.
Morning take: If Stroud is in shape, someone will give the former three-time Pro Bowler a chance. But it won't be Buffalo. The Bills have enough good defensive tackles on their roster.

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