Tim Tebow is showing the sporting world he is simply more than a backup quarterback. When the Jets acquired Tebow in exchange for their fourth and sixth round draft choices, the buzz and excitement in New York was palpable. Many speculated that Tebow’s arrival could spell the end of the line for Mark Sanchez, but Head Coach Rex Ryan and Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano have very different plans in store for No. 15. Rumored to be utilized as a Wildcat quarterback, fullback, halfback, tight end, punt protector and even pass-rusher, Tebow will be a jack-of-all-trades for the Green-and-White.
With the departure of Wildcat specialist Brad Smith last season, the Jets were missing a dynamic element on offense. Now, New York has a one man wrecking crew, who’s shown the ability to carry a team on his back, particularly in pressure packed situations. The jury is still out on Tebow and his impact in New York, but the possibilities are endless for Sparano and Ryan.
The Jets failed to address the weakest link on their offensive line in starting right tackle Wayne Hunter. New York signed veteran lineman Stephon Heyer and Ray Willis to challenge Hunter, but with 61 career starts between the two; it’s unlikely either will step into the starting role. Gang Green aims to resurrect its Wildcat offense, but without a stout blocker on the right side of the line; it may be tough sledding for the Jets.
Under great scrutiny last season, Hunter allowed 8.5 sacks and a countless number of quarterback pressures. Opposing defenses feasted on Hunter’s inept pass-blocking often times overloading to his side and flooding the Jets backfield. New York has yet to find an answer for its right tackle’s blocking woes, but Sparano insists he will have Hunter in rare form to begin the 2012 season.
2009 Rushing Rank: 1st
2010 Rushing rank: 3rd
2011 Rushing Rank: 22nd
“Of course, Mark’s the starter,” Rex Ryan told reporters this offseason. “There’s no question about it. That’s how we look at it, but we know that Tim can help us, too. There’s no doubt. … Mark is our starting quarterback. We’ve said that. We understand Tim is a backup quarterback, but we also recognize the fact that this guy’s an excellent football player and we’re going to use his abilities.”
Fasten your seatbelts because the 2012 NFL season promises to be a wild ride. With Tebow entering the fold in New York, the complexion of the offense has drastically changed. Sanchez is still at the helm of the offense, but he has a new sidekick this time around. While Tebow is soaking up the playbook and settling in to his new surroundings, Sanchez has looked sharper and more focused than ever before so far this offseason. Whether that translates to the regular season remains to be seen, but early indications from Jets camp is that their quarterback duo can coexist in New York.
The Jets are chomping at the bit to showcase their revamped offense and nimble defense. If prized free agent LaRon Landry returns healthy following injuries to his Achilles, Gang Green’s defensive unit could reclaim elite status this upcoming season. Look for New York’s rookie draft class of Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill and Terrance Ganaway and DeMario Davis to all make a major impact this upcoming season.