Guerry Clegg commentary: Tebowmania the key to Tim Tebow's downfall

sports@ledger-enquirer.comApril 30, 2013 

Normally, I like to keep the focus here on local matters. But today's column will be an exception due to the scarcity of Tim Tebow coverage.

So Tebowmania never caught on in New York. Wow, didn't see that one coming, did we? Having Tebow looking over the shoulder of a former first-round draft choice with a clown as a head coach and more media scrutiny than the Royal Family was about as good of a fit as Nick Saban speaking at an Auburn booster dinner.

The Jets waived him after taking Geno Smith of West Virginia in the second round of the NFL draft last week. Actually, that simply provided a convenient alibi for John Idzik, the Jets' new general manager who must have listed "Nuclear Waste Custodian" on his Monster.com resume. It was clear last season when Greg McIlroy leap-frogged Tebow when Sanchez was benched.

Thus, the Jets placed Tebow on waivers, making him an unrestricted free agent.

So what now?

Who would dare volunteer for the circus that Tebow brings?

Jacksonville? On the surface, that might have some merit. The Jaguars are at least two or three years away from contending. Blaine Gabbert, another first-round bust, is not the answer. At least Tebow would rouse the interest of Gator fans in Jacksonville.

But in fact, that would be one of the worst fits. First of all, not all Jag fans are Florida fans. Many are Florida State fans. More important than selling tickets is the fact that the Jaguars are rebuilding. Playing a quarterback with limited abilities in an offense for which he's ill-suited would only impede their progress.

If there's a place for Tebow -- and that's an enormous "if" -- it would be somewhere that would employ the read-option offense, as Seattle, San Francisco and Washington did last year with Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III. Whether the read-option will remain a viable offense or will be rendered obsolete after a full offseason of study by defensive coordinators is something not even NFL coaches are sure of yet. But it does seem like Tebow could be a serviceable backup in that offense. He could back up Cam Newton at Carolina, a bit of role reversal from their days together at Florida.

It's also undeniably clear that he's inadequate as a conventional drop-back passer. Yeah, it worked briefly in Denver two seasons ago. But that's because all the Broncos needed was someone who knew how to win, and Tebow knows winning the way Simon Cowell knows singing talent. They caught a depleted Pittsburgh team in the first round of the playoffs, and Tebow managed one more rabbit trick.

Tebow might even be better than some conventional back-ups right now. I couldn't even tell you Tony Romo's understudy in Dallas without the aid of Google. (How's this for coincidence? It's Kyle Orton,

the guy Tebow beat out in Denver.)

Romo and Tebow in Jerryville. Now there's a thought.

Seriously, Tebow could back up Carson Palmer in Arizona or Matt Flynn in Oakland or Ryan Tannehill in Miami or Jake Locker in Tennessee, and he'd be just another second-string quarterback.

He's a hard worker, fierce competitor, great teammate -- all the intangibles you could want.

Except for one thing.

Wherever Tebow goes, Tebowmania will follow.

And that's why Tebow is probably done as an NFL quarterback.

-- Guerry Clegg is an independent correspondent. Write to him at sports@ledger-enquirer.com.

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