With the “Manning Sweepstakes” officially over, the “Tebow Sweepstakes” is just beginning. Here, the prize is a less accomplished quarterback but one who is probably just as popular.
The Broncos are reportedly attempting to trade Tebow, with a number of teams being linked to the quarterback. As I mentioned in the previous post, Jacksonville and Miami immediately come to mind. At the moment, Jacksonville seems to be interested and may even be the favorite. Miami, however, may not be in the race at all, with Miami Herald columinst Armando Salguero tweeting that the Dolphins currently “have zero intention of pursuing Tim Tebow.” Assuming this is accurate (if it is, there are sure to be Dolphin fans less than thrilled at the prospects of Matt Moore and David Garrard battling for a job), Jacksonville could be the only team in the mix that can offer Tebow a genuine chance to compete for a starting role.
Who, then, are the other teams and what role will Tebow play for them?
Since the Manning signing, Tebow has been linked to the New England Patriots, and teams such as Buffalo and Philadelphia have been floated as well.
ESPN’s John Clayton reportedly said over the weekend that a Tebow trade could be a possibility for the Patriots (via NESN). They could then “groom him to be kind of a role player,” according to Clayton, who did add that “it’s just a rumor.”
Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show Tuesday, former Colts head coach Tony Dungy spoke of the idea of Tebow going to the Eagles. Dungy noted that Tebow is a “left handed…mobile quarterback. As much as Mike (Vick) has been hurt, if you’re Andy Reid you probably have to look at it.”
As for the idea of Buffalo trading for Tebow, Greg Rosenthal of NFL.com noted that Bills head coach Chan Gailey had success in Pittsburgh with Kordell Stewart, a quarterback with a similar style to that of Tebow. Rosenthal calls Gailey “the rare coach who would know what to do with Tebow,” saying that he “could create packages for Tebow on the goal line and in short yardage, like [he] once did for Kordell Stewart.”
Other teams presume to be in the mix, but let’s focus on these three teams that would use Tebow as a role player and not their starting quarterback.
Starting with New England, this does not seem like a smart move for the Patriots. Yes, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels drafted Tebow when he was the head coach of the Broncos, and it is also true New England owner Bob Kraft has a relationship with Tebow’s college coach Urban Meyer. That said, New England has Tom Brady, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Does it really make sense to take him off the field to allow Tebow to run plays out of a gimmick formation? Bill Belicheck is surely creative enough to find effective ways to utilize Tebow’s unique skill set, but it would be a tough sell asking Brady to split snaps with someone. If I am in Belicheck’s esteemed shoes, I want my future Hall of Famer taking 100% of the snaps.
Philadelphia and Buffalo are better fits. Both do have entrenched starters, but unlike New England, these teams can live with taking them off the field for Tebow in the right situation. As Rosenthal noted, Gailey has experience doing this with Kordell Stewart in Pittsburgh, and Reid has done this in the past as well. In 2009, Michael Vick’s first year with the Eagles, he was utilized out of special “Wildcat” formations while spelling then-starter Donovan McNabb.
The prospects of Tebow running primarily out a “Wildcat” could yield positive results. Bear in mind that in 2009, when Wildcat offenses were all the rage in the NFL, football pundits noted that the trend’s next step was to add a Wildcat triggerman who could throw the football. This never truly materialized, with the Pat While experiment fizzling out in Miami and Vick only playing sparingly in this role with the Eagles (in 2009, Vick only averaged two rushing attempts per game, while attempting 13 passes). Perhaps Tebow can be the player to bring the Wildcat’s next stage to fruition.
All things considered, regardless of his prospects as a conventional starter, it is undeniable that Tebow brings a unique skill set to the table. Using him correctly in situational packages could be very effective, and both Buffalo and Philadelphia have coaches who used backup quarterbacks in this fashion before.