|Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez. (AP photo)|
By Brad Carroll
Tebow ran the Wildcat offense on the goal line during practice Thursday for the Jets, the first time he was used in such a way this offseason, at least that we know. He ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in four total plays with the second-team offense.
While we here at GameDay are more conventional when it comes to using the starting quarterback, especially around the goal line (longtime Jets fans will remember Leon Washington throwing a goal line interception, on a pitch from starter Neil O'Donnell, in a 13-10 loss that knocked the Jets out of the playoffs on the last day of the 1997 season), but it's hard not to get excited about the possibilities of using Tebow for short-yardage plays not only around the end zone, but anywhere on the field.
It wouldn't be fair to take the ball out of the hands of Mark Sanchez, who is clearly the better quarterback, but in those situations where one or two yards are needed, it's most likely going to be a running play anyway. Having Tebow take the handoff not only makes the defense take notice of him being able to run the ball, they have to respect the possibility of a pass or a handoff or pitch to the running back. That's a lot to think about on defense in the brief moments of read and react.
Of course, Sanchez isn't a slouch when it comes to running the football around the goal line, but he can't create on straight-ahead rushing plays. On naked bootlegs, Sanchez had the ability to score, and he's scored 12 rushing touchdowns in his three-year career, including six last season alone.
But we all know the skill set Tebow has and provides to an offense. He's made for those type of short distance plays and the Jets appear on the right track, for once, in using a player correctly within the system.
The biggest concession is possibly taking some touchdowns away from Sanchez during a season. At the end of the year, however, it won't matter if Sanchez has 20 touchdown passes or 16. It won't matter if he has six rushing scores or four. He'll be judged by wins and losses and getting to the playoffs. It'll no doubt be a hit to the ego, but if Sanchez accepts what it appears the Jets are going to do with Tebow, there is no way it won't be a successful wrinkle to the offense, especially one that struggles scoring touchdowns.
It's only training camp, but this is the bright side of having Tebow on the roster.