Inside the Jets Red Zone Numbers

This whole idea of the Jets wanting to use Tebow in the Red Zone has gotten a lot of attention the past few days and Pat Kirwan wrote a very detailed article about Sanchez, Tebow, the Jets offense and how they compare to the rest of the league when it comes to the Red Zone.  It’s definitely worth the read, but might bring up more questions than answers.

At the beginning of the article, Kirwan notes that if most defenses saw Tebow, they would just drop a man from the coverage group to compensate for the extra potential runner.  So with three defensive backs, would this then be called a “penny” package?


Pat Kirwan gets waaaaaaay inside the numbers, after the jump.

During his career inside the 10, Sanchez has rushed 15 times for 11 touchdowns. Tim Tebow has rushed 11 times for 9 touchdowns.

So is there really enough difference to take the starting quarterback out of the game every time it’s a red zone situation?

All this is not to say there aren’t times to use Tim Tebow in the Wildcat (when the Jets have a fourth-quarter lead and want to eat up the clock). But Sanchez was tied for the fifth most productive red zone QB in the NFL last year and had an 89.1 passer rating.


Do the Jets want to give up that dimension of their game to get an extra blocker in the Wildcat? Or do you think it’s more likely that AFC East opponents would actually rather to see Tebow instead of Sanchez in the red zone?

I see Kirwan’s point and I get why teams would consider dropping a man from the coverage, especially inside the red zone where it’s going to be harder to throw the ball to a receiver like Stephen Hill.  Still, I think that moving a man down from the defensive back group or even off the field altogether invites a huge hole into that logic.

From a probability perspective, we all know Tebow is not a regular Roger Staubach who can really whizz that thing (NSFW language), but he can still throw a pass better than most running backs in the NFL, so if the Jets are going to put Tebow on the field and an opposing defense is going to give them a shot at the end zone in the air, then in theory the Jets percentages at scoring a passing touchdown probably just went up.

Of course, the threat of having Tebow throw a pass has to be real … the Jets have to be willing to swing that hammer.  If they aren’t, then they traded for him for no good reason.  It stands to reason that the Jets have already thought this through and are willing to take what their opponents are going to give them.