How Tebow could change Jets offense
March, 21, 2012
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Jack Dempsey
Tim Tebow brings his intensity and rushing ability to the Jets offense.
Tebow’s move to New York is nearly unprecedented given his first-round pedigree. He is just the fifth first-round quarterback in the common draft era to play for the team that drafted him and then leave that team after less than three seasons.
The others do this are Cade McNown (1999 Chicago Bears), Jim Druckenmiller (1997 49ers), Tommy Maddox (1992 Broncos) and Todd Marinovich (1991 Raiders). Of those four, only Maddox played in the NFL after changing teams.
The acquisition of Tebow may signal a shift in the Jets offensive philosophy. The Jets moved away from the "ground-and-pound" offense in 2011, calling designed runs just over 41 percent of the time. In 2009, they called designed runs a league-high 57.5 percent of the time and had the second-highest percentage in 2010 at 48.4.
Last season, the Broncos played to Tebow’s strengths as a runner, calling 84 designed rushes for Tebow, most among quarterbacks. He averaged 4.3 yards per rush with five touchdowns on those designed plays.
One strength the Jets running game could become even more lethal at is in short-yardage situations. Over the last 11 weeks of the season, the Jets posted the second-best first down percentage (80 percent) when needing one yard.
Despite Tebow's bruising run-first mentality, the Broncos' first-down percentage of 54 percent with one yard or fewer to go with Tebow as the starting quarterback was the fourth-worst in the league over the last 11 weeks.
The addition of Tebow to the Jets quarterbacking corps also likely won’t help the team cut down on its turnovers under center. From weeks 13-17, four quarterbacks turned the ball over a league-high 10 times: Tebow, Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Freeman.
Though many people are quick to speculate that Tebow will only help the Jets’ run their wildcat formation, new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano might want to consider using Tebow in some obvious passing situations.
Although the Broncos dropped back to pass only 45 percent of the time with Tebow at quarterback last season, when he did so, it was usually deep. No quarterback averaged more air yards per pass attempt (12.3) than Tebow last season.
Tebow last season also was more efficient than Sanchez when throwing the ball deep. On passes over 20 yards in the air, both completed just over 25 percent of their throws, but Tebow threw five fewer interceptions in 11 more attempts and had a higher average yards per attempt.