Two things are readily apparent after Tim Tebow‘s first three years in the NFL. First, he is not ever going to be a good traditional quarterback. Second, he does not want to — or cannot — be used primarily as an option player, such as in wildcat sets.
But what is still undetermined is whether Tebow can be a good, run-oriented quarterback if given the right offense.
Former Florida coach Urban Meyer, who led Tebow to Heisman and national championship glory in college, says he thinks Tebow still has plenty of room to succeed in the NFL — and it doesn’t require a one-of-a-kind situation. Meyer says several other NFL teams are already using systems that could make the most of Tebow’s unique skills, and that Tebow’s success depends on the next team he plays for taking advantage of such an approach.
“We watched [Robert Griffin III] at the Washington Redskins, [Russell] Wilson at the Seahawks, the new quarterback [Colin Kaepernick] at the 49ers, and Carolina [with Cam Newton], and they are actually running a spread offense in the NFL,” Meyer said on Mike and Mike in the Morning. “So my hope is, and I’m sure Tim feels the same way, is to go play in one of those systems where they let him play.”
A spread offense lets an athletic, run-oriented quarterback work out of the shotgun, running the usual pass plays, handing off or making rushes of his own, which has been Tebow’s strength. The quarterbacks Meyer mentioned have all excelled in the setup this year. Newton and Griffin have especially been able to gain yardage with their feet as well as rack up the passing yards, a feat that usually doesn’t transition from college to the pro game.
The one catch, though, is that all the quarterbacks Meyer mentioned have one distinct advantage over Tebow: They can throw. Tebow still struggles with his accuracy and release time, which was a serious impediment for him even in Denver, where the Broncos reshaped the offense to better suit Tebow’s skills. Tebow was also a great runner in college because of his size more than his strength, whereas Newton, Griffin, Wilson and Kaepernick are faster, more athletic quarterbacks.
Tebow is almost definitely headed to a new team after the Jets failed to find a way to use him in their offense this season. A major factor in where he lands will be whether the new team is prepared to use him from the quarterback spot, where Tebow says he wants to play (rather than as a halfback, tight end or special teams option).
At least, Meyers appears to be saying, it can be done.