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Tim Tebow: Stay or Go?

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Tebow thought he was going to be a star. He was going to impress the coaches, win over the fans, carry the Jets to a Super Bowl, and become a legend in New York. It did not work out that way at all. Instead, he saw spot duty in an ill-conceived gadget package, was so bad in practice according to published reports that coaches and his teammates couldn't justify even thinking of starting him, and got stuck in positions he was not suited to play as the Jets somehow got it into their heads that his magical Tebow powers would turn him into a competent pass catcher, route runner, and blocker even though these skills take years to master and he had never done any of these things before.

Tim Tebow was a great college football player. His skills are not suited for the NFL. I am not saying that because I have any personal dislike for the guy. I am not saying that because his open faith bothers me. I am saying that because that is the bottom line with him. Any number of great college players are unsuited for the pro game. Normally, people just accept it. The hype machine surrounding Tebow makes it impossible so we get the same cherry picking of great moments we got from Mark Sanchez. "He won a Playoff game," and "He beat the Steelers" are used to cover for otherwise shockingly inept play. "He just wins," is used to mean a quarterback can survive an entire career playing terribly for most of the game, and his team will not suffer.

The Tebow trade was a bust by almost any measure. The Jets, sorely in need of reasonably priced assets, gave away a fourth round Draft pick that could have been used to help the team. Through no fault of his own, Tebow's mere presence created a year-long distraction. He was reportedly so bad in practice that Mark Sanchez felt job security and was not pushed. Tebow ended up being the trigger man for an inept Wildcat package. He largely escaped blame, but the biggest reason the package failed was Tebow's inability to make anything happen. Jeremy Kerley brought the package more to life in Week 16 than Tebow ever did.

Tebow is good at pretty much one thing. He can read a defense on a run option play and make the decision to either keep it or give it up that will result in the most yardage. He is not a homerun threat like Brad Smith who will be effective in spot duty. Going with Tebow means committing to the run and the option. The problem is a scheme based so heavily in the run is by nature less effective than almost all but the worst passing offenses.

Quarterback was and probably will always be a throwing position. Mobility is a nice asset, but it does not make a great quarterback. Michael Vick is much more dynamic and dangerous than Tebow as a runner, but his lack of consistency as a thrower has prevented him from being a great quarterback. Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick have taken the league by storm because of the way they can dominate a team on the ground, but these are only nice accessories. They would be much less effective if they were not excellent throwers also.

Tebow cannot perform basic tasks of the quarterback position well. He cannot read a defense. He cannot throw an accurate ball. He cannot make adjustments at the line. Many including myself wanted to see him get an entire series to himself on offense this year. When this happened against the Titans, the problems mentioned above led to people calling Tony Sparano stupid for giving Tebow an entire series. It is not just that Tebow has these problems with accuracy and making reads. It is that he does these things worse than any quarterback in recent memory.

Maybe Tebow can overcome these issues. I personally doubt it. Most quarterbacks who are much more developed fail to improve enough to become good. Maybe I'm wrong, though. It would be a nice story. Tebow should go, though. He does not want to be here, and there is not much reason for the Jets to want him around for a second season.