Poll Question: Why is Tim Tebow not on an NFL roster?
A. His lack of skill at the quarterback position
B. The right team hasn't contacted him
C. Coaches don't want to go through an offensive restructure this deep into their seasons
D. Team owners and GMs don't want to endure the hurricane of "I told you so's" that would come with Tebow being successful
I'm not some pie-in-the-sky Tebow drone who overlooks the challenges that come along with bringing in Tim Tebow. There are issues dealing with the press, there are locker room dynamics to consider, and of course the unreal fan expectations (you know who you are Jaguar's fans). And that's all before Mr. Tebow even puts on the pads. But every player in the league has those issues to a greater or lesser degree; Tim just has more of them because of the way NFL fans have polarized over his playing ability and intangibles.
Let's look at a few quick numbers; Tebow's lifetime quarterback rating in the NFL is an admittedly anemic 75.3 according to ESPN. Here are some similar numbers from players starting for NFL teams today (or who have started this year and are still getting paid):
- Blaine Gabbert (Jacksonville Jaguars - starter): With a rating of 30.7 I'm not sure how the Jags can still justify paying this guy. No offense to Mr. Gabbert but a quick glance at Tebow's stats makes him look like Peyton Manning compared to the zero touchdowns, five interceptions and ten sacks that highlight Gabbert's resume so far this season.
- Chad Henne (Jacksonville Jaguars - backup): Chad more than doubles his teammate's quarterback rating with a still-sad 68.8. But Mr. Henne's one TD against two interceptions and eight sacks doesn't cry out for a change from within.
- Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay Buccaneers - ex-starter): Freeman has fallen from grace faster than you can say, "Satan," in your best Church Lady voice. Once a lock on the quarterback position in Tampa, I have no idea what happened to Josh this year. There was some speculation over the weekend that he may be struggling with some sort of substance abuse but there were no facts presented to back that up. Tebow is a great example of how a player's performance can suffer when they don't have the backing of the team...so maybe Freeman just lost his coach's confidence. Whatever the reason, and despite a fairly decent supporting cast, Freeman has only thrown two touchdowns and has been picked off three times while being sacked seven. His rating this year (to date) is 59.3 - not good.
- Mike Glennon (Tampa Bay Buccaneers - ex-backup): Don't worry Bucs fans! We've got Mike Glennon ready to step in and take over. Not. I've never even heard of Mike Glennon before Freeman was benched. But the guy that's been in camp and at practice every day learning coach Schiano's system? He stepped in this weekend and threw two interceptions against a single TD and was also sacked twice. His rating? 55.7.
It's disheartening to see all four of those poor-performing quarterbacks playing for Florida teams. But as I've noted before, Tim Tebow is from Jacksonville. he played his high school ball there. Everyone knows the rest of the story, from the jump pass that jump started his Florida career, to the Heisman, and a slew of school and SEC records, Tebow has proven himself to be a winner.
Couldn't happen to a nicer opponent...
Look, I'm not trying to relive Tebow's glory days at Florida. I've said before that I know where Tim's faults lie - everyone does. He has trouble reading defensive progressions, he struggles with the short drop and quick throws favored by NFL offenses, he has still not repaired his loopy throwing motion. But Tim also has some excellent qualities that offset the bad: His heart is second to none, he works as hard as anyone on the team, he is very mobile and can beat you with his legs, his long ball accuracy is very good.
In addition to the players highlighted above, there are a number of quarterbacks struggling this year with sub-70 ratings. Christian Ponder (Vikings) has already been benched in favor of Matt Cassel. Carson Palmer (Cardinals) is throwing the heck out of the ball in Arizona - and running for his life. Palmer's rating of 69.8 isn't helped by throwing only four touchdowns against six interceptions and suffering ten sacks. I keep hearing that Geno Smith (Jets) is making progress but he's been sacked fourteen times - and he's supposed to be shifty - while being picked off eight times against only four TDs (rating: 68.6). Joe Flacco (Ravens) and Eli Manning (Giants) are also under 70 for their quarterback rating this year but I would expect them to rebound. The other guys? Not so much.
So what do all these quarterbacks have in common? They are playing poorly and their teams are losing. Flacco and Manning aside (because their teams have recently won Super Bowls), the rest play for teams that have done little or nothing for years. Why wouldn't ownership take a chance on Tebow?
Heck, Big Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked fifteen times in four games and we all know Ben is not the most mobile guy on the field anymore. Despite that, his rating so far this season is 84.2 and he's even with five TDs and five interceptions. But the Steelers are 0-4 and occupy the bottom of the AFC North division, behind the Ravens, Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Are the Steelers in the Prison League this season?
I doubt seriously the Steelers are going to part with Big Ben. Although they have only scored 61 points so far this season (15.25 points per game) the Steeler's big problems appear to be on defense not offense, letting their opponents score 110 (27.5 ppg). But as for those other guys? As ESPN says on Monday Night Football, "Come on, Man!"
Someone in Jacksonville wants Tebow...
As the flying banner above attests (flown over the stadium during this weekend's shellacking of the Jags at the hands of the Colts) it's Tebow Time in Jacksonville or even possibly Tampa. Make a move.