The Jets still can’t score. Well, that’s not totally accurate – they did score some points against the Panthers in their 17-12 preseason loss last night, but they never got the ball into the end zone – something they’d also failed to do in their previous two preseason games.
12 straight quarters without a touchdown speaks to something wrong with the entire team. No one’s playing well. Offensive lineman Wayne Hunter’s struggles are well-documented. Last night was the first game of the preseason the Jets threw for over 100 yards. Yes – 100 yards as a team. The ground game was half decent last night (133 yards on 30 attempts), but not nearly enough to make up for the anemic passing. And if the yards don’t lead to enough points, then what does it matter? Yes, despite the team publicly playing it cool, the Jets aren’t functioning, and it’s bigger than any one person’s struggles.
But man, was Tim Tebow off last night.
Now, in addition to the fact that no one’s playing especially well, it’s worth noting that Tebow’s running ability is one of the few things that’s allowing the Jets to move the chains at all (he carried five times for 45 yards last night). But… he’s a quarterback. Quarterbacks throw the ball. And last night, when Tebow threw the ball…
… things like that happened. He was 4-for-14 for 55 yards and an interception in all, making him 13-for-36 passing overall this preseason. Again: 13 for 36. (For comparison, Sanchez was an unremarkable 11-for-18 for 123 yards and a pick against the Panthers – along with, of course, no touchdowns.) And about that interception Tebow threw last night:
Tebow: hard worker. Great teammate. Excellent athlete who could be a force for the right team in the right situation (you can bet Belichick would find a way to make him a weapon). Yet, despite all that: still a bad thrower of footballs.
This isn’t to say all is lost for Tebow, or the Jets in general: as it’s been pointed out elsewhere, the last team that failed to score a touchdown over its first three preseason games was the 1977 Falcons, who wound up 7-7. The Jets aren’t doomed to completely suck. But what’s also worth noting: the 1977 Falcons had a terrible offense and stupidly good defense. The Jets might well have to rely on that same formula to even be respectable this year.
Still, it’s too early to know exactly how the Jets’ season will play out. But here’s what I do know: I’ve been skeptical about the prediction some have made that Tebow will start a game for the Jets at some point this season. Sanchez is the Jets’ guy. But the Jets’ guy hasn’t been helping them score nearly enough points, and if that continues into the season, Rex Ryan is going to have almost no choice but to give Tebow a shot. And if that ends in Tebow playing like he has so far this preseason, this Jet season is going to turn pretty damn ugly, pretty damn fast.
Gif by CJ Fogler.