Here's a long-winded post, so I apologize in advance, but I'll summarize by breaking down how the team(s) that may/may not inherit Tebow can win with him...
fun gus wrote:
Pudge, could you clarify? Do you mean 'starting QB' or 'starting fill in the blank'?
He's not your traditional QB, but this goes back to the issue I think far too many teams suffer from in the NFL, and it's the hardest aspect of personnel/talent evaluation because so many teams do a poor job of it...
(A) Knowing what you are, (B) knowing what you want to be, and then (C) figuring what are the steps to bridge the two.
The problem is that you can't get to C unless you know what A and B are. This is the biggest weakness IMO of Dimitroff as a GM, but he's probably a lot better than many GMs.
To me, the prime examples of teams that have figured this our are NE and SF. I think the 2-TE offense is really good here because it gives you that formation variability. You can run/pass out of it equally as well because both teams have a very good "traditional" Y tight end (Gronk & Davis) and then a H-back that is capable of performing several different roles (Hernandez and Delanie Walker), both of whom are basically oversized WRs, but can also play FB, H-back, TE, WR, etc. It challenges defenses to figure how are you going to defend them. Do you put a LB, S, or CB on them? How do you treat them? As WRs? Then you gotta play nickel or dime. As TEs? Then you need to play your base personnel. It's going to be interesting in 2013 to see how the Falcons/Nolan will handle this since we'll play them both. It gives you that ability to do a lot of things, such as run power football if the opposing teams tries to go nickel. If they go base, then you can create mismatches when you pass. Unless you have great personnel, then it's nearly impossible to defend.
I'm not super high on Kaepernick's QB ability, but I do think the 49ers have built the ideal environment suited towards his skills. He's a vertical passer, not your typical dropback pocket dinker and dunker that can drive a team down the field. He'll live and die by his ability to challenge downfield. So what do the 49ers do this off-season? We already know with Gore and that O-line, they have a strong run game. You have one of the most explosive TEs in the league in Davis, and Walker is not exactly a slouch either. You go out and get Randy Moss, A.J. Jenkins, Mario Manningham, to add to Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn, and Kyle WIlliams. Besides Crabtree, what do all of those players have in common? They are fast and at their best when it comes to stretching the field, which plays perfectly into Kaepernick's strengths.
That's a perfect illustration of A, B, and C. When they drafted Kaepernick in the 2nd round, I thought it was a reach. But it's clear that they had the vision that he could/would bring the tools to the table that would fit very well, which is a play-action based vertical offense.
Now, going back to Tebow. And I'll bring up a similar player in Vick. Vick is not a great passer. He's poor at reading defenses and handling blitzes, he's not a consistent pocket passer, or decision maker. He's not that accurate, as he plays with poor anticipation. Knowing these things about him, trying to become a traditional dropback passing attack with him as your QB makes very little sense. Because at a certian point these weaknesses will get exposed as they have in Philly this year.
The problem is that most people in the NFL lack imagination. They want a Brady or Manning or Brees at QB, but have yet to realize that those guys are very few and far between. You could be searching for another 10 years, and there may be only 1 guy that fits that description. And frankly, you have essentially a 1 in 320 chance of getting that guy.
So teams look at a Vick/Tebow, and see they aren't what they want, and say screw that. They aren't going to be championship-caliber QBs. But we can win games with them, which keeps the fans and my owner happy (thus keeps me employed), and hopefully that will buy me enough time in this "Not For Long" league that maybe, just maybe I hit the lottery and find that Andrew Luck or RG3 "savior of the franchise."
So how do I win with Vick/Tebow? Well, I gotta gear my personnel towards him. So I need WRs that can consistently create separation so that the passing windows are wide open for him. In Philly they had that with Jackson & Maclin. Or they need to be really big guys that can go and get the ball like Tebow had in Denver with Demaryius THomas & Eric Decker. If he's not lightning quick or 6-3 at WR, then I don't want his ass. And they need to be able to make big plays, either after the catch (like say Brandon Marshall) or by getting vertical and taking the top off a defense (like Jackson), because our offense is going to be DEVOTED to running the ball. And we need to POUND THE ROCK so that we can get 8 and 9-man boxes, so that Demaryius Thomas/DeSean Jackson can get 1 on 1 opportunities on the outside.
We're going to shorten the game with our ground attack. So I need a good back, preferably several, because you don't want to get into a situation where Willis McGahee gets hurt, and you have to turn to Knowshon Moreno. You want something like Carolina has with Williams/Stewart/Tolbert.
And I gotta have BEEF up front. I need an O-line that can CONSISTENTLY control the line of scrimmage. For a team like Philly, if they get Jason Peters back, move Todd Herremans back to LG, and use your top 5 pick on somebody that can play RT. Atlanta's line ain't gonna cut it. If there's a Justin Blalock on that starting 5, then he better be the 4th or 5th best guy. He can't be the 1st or 2nd best guy, otherwise we're screwed.
And you gotta have a defense that is good enough that you can hold opportunities to under 20 points. We can win 20-17 ball games. But if we have to get to 24 or more points to win, then we're probably screwed.
And so for any team that isn't prepared to do those things, then they have no business going after players like Vick or Tebow.
And the problem that occurred in NY is that they had most of these ingredients, and refused to take advantage of it.