Saturday, August 31, 2013
'You can never have enough Tebow'
By Rich Cimini
Tim Tebow has been fired twice in a span of four months, so you have to figure his next move will be to a TV studio or a broadcast booth. If a smart coach like Bill Belichick can't find a way to justify a roster spot for him, it doesn't bode well for his chances of catching on elsewhere. Unlike the Jets, the Patriots aborted quickly, incurring no damage whatsoever.
Only a year ago, the Jets were in the throes of Tebow-mania, with Rex Ryan & Co. predicting big things for their new "dynamic weapon," as former GM Mike Tannenbaum once called him. Owner Woody Johnson delivered one of the most infamous quotes in Jets history, saying, "You can never have enough Tebow." I prefer to remember him as a "weapon of mass dysfunction," as ESPNNewYork.com colleague Ian O'Connor once referred to Tebow.
It turned out to be the worst personnel move in Jets history, in my opinion, because it showed dysfunction on every level of the organization, from ownership to coaching. Many lives were affected by the Tebow debacle: Tannenbaum was fired. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was fired. Ryan was put on the hot seat. Mark Sanchez ... well, there's no way to quantify the psychological damage it did to him.
Here's the irony: If the timing had been different, the Tebow experiment might have had a chance, albeit a small one.
As we quickly learned, Sparano didn't know the Wildcat from "The Cat in the Hat." He barely practiced it in training camp; he didn't use it in preseason games; and he didn't know how to use it when the games mattered.
The current coaching staff actually has a clue. It's planning to run the Wildcat with running back Bilal Powell and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, and it might incorporate read-option into the attack with quarterback Geno Smith. New quarterbacks coach David Lee, not Sparano, is the true pioneer of the Wildcat for the Jets. Under Lee and coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, the Jets have developed a novel concept: They actually run these plays in practice and in games. Cutting edge stuff, folks.
Even if Tebow had Lee and Mornhinweg, he might have been doomed anyway in New York, where the sideshow was out of control. New general manager John Idzik didn't want to deal with the circus, so he sent Tebow packing after the draft. There was too much baggage, and he had to go. Lousy timing. Lousy everything.