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The Redzone: Tebow is not a long-term option

The option offence may have worked for Denver in the last two games but, as Steven O’Rourke will show, it’s not a long-term solution to the Broncos’ problems.

Tim Tebow has come under criticism for his recent performances.
Tim Tebow has come under criticism for his recent performances.

New York Jets (5-4) @ Denver Broncos (4-5)

TIM TEBOW MAY have a 3-1 record since he became a starter for the Denver Broncos but there’s an argument that he might just be the worst quarterback to ever play in the NFL.

Last Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, Tebow threw just eight passes, completing only two. To put this in perspective, Drew Brees threw 43 times in the New Orleans Saints win over the Atlanta Falcons, completing 30 passes.

Tebow’s limited pass production is primarily due to the fact he can’t throw the ball with any accuracy but also because the Broncos are running the option offence.

Now, there are volumes of coaching manuals on the option offence but, basically, it gives the quarterback three options, based on the coverage he sees, when he receives the snap.

Firstly, he can hold on to the ball himself and scramble for yards. His second option is to hand off to one of his running backs. Finally, he can throw the ball downfield.

The option offence is relatively popular in college football – Tebow himself excelled at it while playing with Florida – and I’ve even been known to run it with Tullamore Phoenix on the odd occasion.

However, I’ve only ever run it when our quarterback has been injured and unable to throw the ball deep. It is not a long-term solution for any team for a number of reasons.

For a start, your quarterback is going to get hurt. It doesn’t matter how big or strong he is, taking ten or 15 hits in a game – especially from NFL linebackers – is going to make anyone bruise.

There’s also the personnel problem. When you run the option offence you don’t need tight ends, full backs or half the number of receivers that most NFL teams have on their depth chart.

When, like the Broncos, you choose to run the option for an extended period of time, you’re paying guys to sit on the bench. When you then change from the option, they’re either too rusty or too disheartened to put in a performance.

However, the biggest problem with running the option is that it becomes very predictable. If you don’t have a genuine passing quarterback, and I’ve seen better passers in the Irish American Football League than Tebow, cornerbacks and safetys can forget about deep threats and fill the gaps at the line of scrimmage.

Tebow may be 3-1 but his last two victories came against the teams ranked 25th and 26th against the run in the NFL while his first came thanks to a Miami Dolphins collapse in the last five minutes of a game in which he was awful for 55 minutes.

Verdict: Tebow might be terrible and running an option offence with no long term future but the Jets are coming off a short week and an emotionally draining loss to their biggest rivals. Broncos by 6+ but football, not the Jets, will be the real loser.

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) @ Baltimore Ravens (6-3)

Following losses for both teams last weekend – the Ravens surprisingly succumbing to the Seattle Seahawks – this game has massive implications in the AFC North.

If the Ravens win, they will go top of the division thanks to their two wins over the Steelers this season. However, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will have to involve Ray Rice more than he did last week if they’ve to have any chance.

The Bengals ran the Steelers close last Sunday but, with AJ Green limping off the field in that game and doubtful for this weekend, their offensive weapons are seriously limited.

Verdict: Joe Flacco’s record against the Bengals is two touchdowns, nine interceptions and 11 sacks in his last four games. For that reason, Bengals by 3+

Tennessee Titans (5-4) @ Atlanta Falcons (5-4)

This one might not be as high profile as the Chargers/Bears game this weekend but it is, without doubt, a playoff elimination game for both teams.

Titans’ running back Chris Johnson is coming off his best performance of the season and Tennessee must hand him the ball again this week as they are 3-0 when CJ2K has carried the ball 15 times or more in a game this year.

Falcons fans will know their team haven’t lost two in a row this season but are still reeling from Mike Smith’s unsuccessful decision to go for it on fourth and one in their overtime loss to the Saints last week.

Verdict: Unusually for the Falcons, they have been better on the road than in the Georgia Dome this season. However, they should still have enough for the Titans. Falcons by 3+

Full fixtures and predictions:

  • New York Jets @ Denver Broncos – Broncos
  • Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens – Bengals
  • Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cleveland Browns – Browns
  • Carolina Panthers @ Detroit Lions – Lions
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers – Packers
  • Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins – Dolphins
  • Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota Vikings – Raiders
  • Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins – Cowboys
  • Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers – 49ers
  • Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams – Rams
  • Tennessee Titans @ Atlanta Falcons – Falcons
  • San Diego Chargers @ Chicago Bears – Bears
  • Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants – Giants
  • Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots – Patriots

Steven O’Rourke is the Offensive Co-ordinator of Tullamore Phoenix American Football Club, winners of the IAFL DV8s national title in 2010 and 2011. Tullamore are always recruiting new players so, if you’d like to play football and not just read about it, Steven would love to hear from you.

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Steven O'Rourke

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