Before you call me Skip Bayless, let me just say that I don’t think the Browns should sign Tebow and then make him the starter… or really even let him compete for the backup QB job. The Browns should sign Tebow and then let him play in specific situations, primarily the red zone. This won’t happen but the fact that it won’t happen isn’t a testament to the badness of the idea. It’s a testament to the fact that NFL teams still essentially engage in weak-minded pattern matching when they craft their strategies. When someone runs the Wildcat with success, NFL teams copy the Wildcat. When the New York Jets have an awful season in which Tebow is a minor character (not really culpable for any of the failure) no other team wants a part of him. But Tebow can help a team score points. I’m not saying you could count on him to string a 12 play drive together, but he can help put points on the board.
When Tebow played for the Broncos in 2011, he either ran or threw the ball 33 times in the red zone. Of those 33 plays, 11 of them became touchdowns (33%). Touchdowns win football games.
Last year the Browns threw the ball 50 times in the red zone and came away with 7 touchdowns (a 14% clip in case you’re not keeping score at home) and they ran the ball 50 times in the red zone and came away with 10 touchdowns on those plays (a 20% clip). Tebow’s TD rate on both running and passing plays in the red zone eclipses the Browns rate on similar plays by a good margin. Close to double actually. This is because Tebow is good in the red zone. If you were a defensive coordinator and you faced a team that sent Tebow in every time they got in the red zone, wouldn’t that be a nightmare? Don’t let your animosity towards ESPN’s Tebow circus cloud your judgment when you answer that.
Some of you have been reading this and silently screaming that Tebow brings the circus with him when he comes to town. This is both true and irrelevant. Football teams are supposed to be made of men. Men who, for their jobs, risk embarrassment in front of 60,000 fans every Sunday. Give me a break as to the fragile nature of the team, or the impact of distractions. The other thing is that if you come up with an effective way to use Tebow, that helps your team, you won’t have to deal with the circus. Even if the circus develops or a QB controversy ensues, it’s not like it’s happening while you have Dan Marino out there. If Tebow is involved in a QB controversy, it’s because you have a shitty QB and it’s not like QB controversies with shitty QBs originated when Tim Tebow turned pro.
Think for a second about how screwed up it is that Tebow’s circus is even a part of the equation. Shouldn’t the only question be whether or not he can help you put points on the board? The idea that a team could decide to leave Tebow on the FA wire, just so that team can suck in quiet, is ridiculous. Also, I’m not saying Tebow can help in team in more than a very specific part of the game. It just so happens that scoring points tends to be a pretty important part of the game also.
Winning tends to cure most ills and putting points on the board helps with winning. Tebow is probably done in the NFL, but that’s not because he couldn’t help a team. It’s because teams are too chickenshit to actually try something that conflicts with their never-ending weak-minded pattern matching.