So apparently you guys like talking about Tim Tebow. My post on Thursday had the biggest first-day traffic of any post we've ever had here on Joe and Joe Sports. So, like any good butcher, I'm here to slaughter the goose who laid the golden egg. That is, post the second and final part of this series.
My discussions with friends and colleagues regarding Tim Tebow were surprisingly similar. I expected to get a wide variety of responses, but the general sentiment of most everyone I spoke to was pretty much the same:
Tim Tebow isn't good enough at playing quarterback to be in the NFL.
Their analyses were somewhat different, though. A few people indicated that Tebow's apparent unwillingness to play another position besides quarterback is what's keeping him from being on an NFL roster, but with two different opinions on that. Some saw him as a guy who could definitely help a team at tight end or fullback, and saw Tebow's stubbornness as a result of ego.
One person who had a different insight, though, was the other Joe. He said he doesn't really fault Tebow for wanting to win or lose as a quarterback. First, the punishment you take as a tight end or H/flex back is definitely going to be more severe than that you'd take as a quarterback (even on a team with a crummy offensive line). Additionally, and this might be the most interesting part, Joe suggested that the insistence on playing quarterback might be a branding decision. Tim Tebow as a quarterback, even a failed quarterback, is likely much more interesting than Tim Tebow the tight end. And obviously, Tebow can commentate college football for ESPN and make plenty of money right now (since, you know, he's doing exactly that). So going back to the NFL to try to scrape by as a running back might not be his cup of tea.
Almost everyone I talked to had a fairly high regard for Tim Tebow the human being. He seems to be driven and moral, and we all agreed that it would take a uniquely challenging circumstance for Tebow to be a problem in the locker room; much more likely he'd be an asset to a team in that regard.
After taking all this information, and kicking around a few ideas in my head, I've come up with what I believe is the one thing keeping Tebow from being on an NFL roster: its size. Roster spaces are at a premium in the NFL. Your backup quarterback(s) have to be able to, at least theoretically, step in and run the same offense as your starting quarterback. We can all agree that Tebow's quarterbacking skills aren't going to align with just about any quarterback in the league. He hasn't got a quick release or a tight spiral, and he hasn't got much of a deep ball. So, any system you put him into, he's going to be a suboptimal option.
You could keep him on your roster listed as a TE or RB, and just run tricks and gimmicks with him, either on his own or with another quarterback on the field. The Steelers did it for years with Kordell Stewart and Neil O'Donnell, two players with vastly different skills. The problem is, Tebow isn't as good a conventional quarterback as Stewart was (and Steelers fans will appreciate how weak a quarterback that means Tebow is). So Tebow can't be your #1 backup at quarterback. But he also can't be your #2 backup, because either A) your #2 backup is a youngster you're grooming, or B) you've elected to forgo a third quarterback in order to keep another LB/OT/CB.
If NFL rosters were unlimited, or went up seven spots to 60 total players, bringing on a utility knife like Tebow would make a lot of sense. He can produce as a goal-line or 2-point conversion quarterback, and gimmick plays will always have a place in the NFL. But as a quarterback, you can't bring him in. He doesn't do quarterback well enough to warrant that spot.
In a dream world where NFL rosters were expanded, though, I maintain that Tebow would be a useful backup for my hometown phenom Robert Griffin III. While he doesn't do anything as well as Griffin, Tebow brings some of that same dynamic run/pass ability to the game. And, I think the 'Skins could use a little Jesus in that locker room.
Not saying that Tebow is Jesus. Just saying he knows the guy.
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