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When Tim Tebow officially got a spot on the 90-man roster in Jacksonville, many said it won’t last. Quickly, many of those many have realized that, with the man who hired Tebow in the first place being the same man who will decide whether Tebow makes the team, the chances of Tebow having a spot on the roster come September are far greater than they would be for the usual last man in.
On PFT Live in the days before Tebow finally was signed, Simms and I said (partially in jest) that it was just a matter of time before coach Urban Meyer found a way to get Tebow on the field, as a quarterback.
It’s now looking like it’s no joke. And it’s easy to say, “Well, the Saints have done it with Taysom Hill for the past few years” to justify the Jaguars doing it with Tebow. Indeed, the fact that Saints coach Sean Payton didn’t bat an eye about taking the ball out of Drew Brees’ hands has undercut the long-held belief that gadget plays should be used only rarely when a true franchise quarterback is on the team. So if Brees could stand down for Hill, Trevor Lawrence should have no qualms about periodically splitting wide or leaving the field for Tebow to take a snap in shotgun formation to run it, hand it off, or throw it.
Frankly, it seems inevitable at this point. Inevitable that Tebow will make the team, either as a member of the 53-man roster or as a participant on the practice squad, getting called up to the game-day roster as part of the rule that allows two of the extra players to be promoted each week.
That said, Tebow isn’t close to being as skilled as Hill, who is now part of the competition to become the starting quarterback in New Orleans. Hill is much faster than Tebow ever was. Hill is a more accurate passer than Tebow ever was or will be. Hill, unlike Tebow, doesn’t have a release that conjures memories of the gradual cranking of a catapult.
None of that matters. If Meyer wants it, Meyer gets it. And if Meyer uses it at the right time (like from the one-yard line) and Tebow powers his way into the end zone with the Hulk Hogan-style 24-inch pythons he has sprouted on his upper arms, Meyer will be justified for showing faith in a man who football had forgotten.
That won’t change the fundamental nature of the exercise. It’s a Refrigerator Perry-style gimmick. But if the gimmick passes the eyeball test, the gimmick will draw even more eyeballs, and dollars, to Jaguars games.