Putting The Heath On Tebow To Start

NFL Network analyst Heath Evans believes the Jets “must” name Tim Tebow their starting quarterback so they can “win more than a handful of games.” Yet in the same breath, he admits playing Tebow “won’t win a Super Bowl” for the Jets.

Looks like former NFL fullback Heath Evans, to paraphrase Mark Sanchez, has been channeling his inner Boomer Esiason.

Currently on his second year as an NFL Network analyst, Evans earned a Super Bowl ring with the New Orleans Saints in 2009 (a ring he’s giving away for charitable purposes. by the way) and was a win away from collecting another ring to go with a perfect season with the New England Patriots. So with more Super Bowl experience than you or I, he has the right to make any argument about any team or any player, and offer advice on what they need to do if they want to own their own Lombardi Trophy.

Even if that player is Tim Tebow.

Evans penned a column for NFL.com suggesting not only will Tebow eventually upend Sanchez as the Jets’ starting quarterback, but he “must start for [the] New York Jets” – as in “right now.”

However, even Wayne Hunter might think Evans’ case might have holes in it.

For instance, at one point, he writes: “I’m not arguing that Tebow is a better quarterback than Sanchez.”

Ugh, yes, that pretty much is your argument. When you demand that a team start a backup quarterback “right now,” usually, the conclusion is that the backup quarterback is, well, better than the starter. Do you think the Seahawks would have banished Russell Wilson to the bench, despite his impressive preseason activity, because they believed that Matt Flynn, whom they paid $20 million to come to Seattle, was for all intents and purposes a “better quarterback” than Wilson?

Then again, Sanchez had been paid a pretty penny by Jets management right before they brought Tebow in.

But here’s what makes the Jets’ situation different from the Seahawks’ quarterback switch: it’s what Evans calls “Tebow Ball.” Yes, there’s the variable that will separate the average quarterbacks from the champions. I’d love to see Evans make this argument if Tebow ended up in, say, New England, whose quarterback has won multiple championships.

Anyway, Evans says the Jets partaking in “Tebow Ball” is “what’s best for this team, because it can help the Jets win more than a handful of games.”

Need I remind Evans of the armfuls of games the Jets won in 2009 and 2010 under Sanchez, enough to take them to the AFC title game those years.

But here’s where Evans’ campaigning for Tebow being the starter falls apart: In another part of the piece, he writes: “Gang Green won’t win a Super Bowl by playing ‘Tebow Ball,’ at least not with Tebow’s quarterbacking skills at such a low level.”

So you would give up a chance to return to the AFC Championship Game for just “more than a handful of games.” That makes sense, doesn’t it?

“Let’s face it,” Evans continues. “Miracles happen when No. 15 is in the game. I’ll bet that continues to be true in his tenure with the Jets.”

It’s as if ESPN has a spot waiting for him.

Give me a break: You’re basing Tebow’s heroics on a different team with a different defense last year on Tebow having a “miracle” season with a different defense and a completely different offense – one that Evans hints won’t be in Sanchez’s favor anyway since Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has been known for “the Wildcat formation and running the football.” So wouldn’t it equally not be to Tebow’s liking if he were the starter? Guess what: if Tebow had been the starting quarterback and they were running a Wildcat play, guess who might be involved? Yep, good ol’ No. 6 himself, Mark Sanchez.

And he also pointed out that the Jets didn’t score a touchdown in the preseason until the final game. Guess what: neither Sanchez nor Tebow got any reps in that final game.

While I respect Heath Evans as an analyst and a Super Bowl winner (and an all-around humanitarian, given his plans to donate his championship hardware), I’m having a hard time buying his argument that Tim Tebow should start “right now” for the New York Jets. Especially coming from an employee of NFL Network, which has continuously gone out of its way to stress that there is no “quarterback controversy” on the team. Evans’ “Tebow must start right now” manifesto coming three days before the Jets’ season opener makes him look like a rebel – or if you prefer, an ESPN talking head.

“I’m not arguing that Tebow is a better quarterback than Sanchez”… “I’m not suggesting Tebow is capable of leading an offense that could outscore Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady”… “If Sanchez continues to lead the Jets offense… the team will put the city that never sleeps to sleep.”

These are all actual quotes from Evans’ piece proclaiming that the Jets should just go all in on Tebow “right now”, and not even consider giving Sanchez a chance to screw himself out of the starting quarterback position on his own.

Strange to hear a Super Bowl champion speak of abandoning the one who brought you close to the promised land – in the name of “miracles.”

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