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Friday, January 20, 2012

Trading Places – The Tim Tebow Edition

As a blogger, I have a duty to keep you, the reader, informed and entertained. I have to give you what you want. Also as a blogger, I have to have an intimate relationship with statistics for search terms relevant to the Hat Trick and my subject matter. One fact that is crystal clear to me: readers want more Tim Tebow.

So how do I give you more Tebow? His team is out of the playoffs! Since this Sunday will bring us the NFC and AFC Championship games, with the winners advancing to the Super Bowl, I thought it would be interesting to speculate on what would happen to the Broncos and the corresponding team if Timothy Richard were to trade places with the starting quarterback of each of the four remaining teams in the playoffs.

Trading Places – Tim Tebow with Tom Brady

Trading a future Hall of Famer with a second year QB still developing his mechanics is like trading frozen cube steak for a Ruth’s Chris Porterhouse. The Patriots have a mediocre running attack and a Swiss cheese defense that firms up when defending the red zone and can force turnovers. The signal caller for the 2011 Pats has to be someone who can put points on the board in bunches.

The Broncos have a very strong running game, but in part due to Tebow’s ability to break containment, improvise, and take off running. They have a Jekyll and Hyde defense: when they are good, they are really good; when they are not good, they often get torched. The receivers have talent, but are relatively unknown and less tested than most receiving counterparts on other teams.

Results: The Patriots would go down in a ball of flames by swapping Brady for Tebow. Trading Brady for anyone not named Brees, Rodgers, Manning, Roethlisberger, or Rivers, considering the makeup of the team, would likely result in a very sharp decline. But given Tebow’s and the Patriots’ strengths and weaknesses, the Pats would be lucky to win 6 games in the regular season, let alone reach the AFC Championship Game.

The Broncos, on the other hand, with a Tebow for Brady swap, may very well be in the position that the Pats are in now: hosting the conference title game. What the Broncos would lose from Tebow’s running would be picked up, twofold, from Brady’s ability to get the ball to guys who can make plays. At times, Denver’s defense is reminiscent of the Patriots defense from the earlier 2000s, which carried the team to its first Super Bowl title. During the times when Denver’s defense looks not-so-great, Brady’s play making ability would likely keep them in every game.

Post-swap Advantage: Broncos

Any questions? 1

Trading Places – Tim Tebow with Joe Flacco

There are some similarities between Flacco and Tebow. Both have issues with accuracy (Flacco at times and Tebow all of the time). Both have their fair share of critics. Both have won playoff games that they were not expected to win. Tebow is a far superior runner and Flacco is a superior passer. What would happen if they were switched?

Results: The Ravens are a hard running ground game and a stingy defense. In the NFL, passing is needed to win. But, with the Ravens, there is only so much passing necessary. The Ravens are already efficient at controlling the clock. Tebow is not going to hurt that cause. He is a good runner and does not turn the ball over. The Ravens, conceivably, could be in the same position they are in now with Tebow and I think they certainly reach the playoffs.

Joe Flacco would not be a bad edition to the Denver Broncos either. Flacco would give the Broncos a better short and intermediate passing threat and involve the receivers more in the offense. What the Broncos would lose in running from the QB position and “Tebow Time”, they would gain, more so, from the passing game and not having to trail late in the first place.

Post-swap Advantage: Broncos

Flacco, left and Tebow, right 2
Trading Places – Tim Tebow with Eli Manning

Manning, a Super Bowl Champion in the 2007 season, is having the best season of his career, passing for just under 5,000 yards. Tim Tebow is one of the least accurate quarterbacks in football. The Giants have inconsistencies on defense, often struggle with the run, but have one of the best passing attacks in football.

Results: The Giants were able to win the NFC East on the final day of the regular season by going 9-7 on the strength of Eli Manning picking up his team when they weren’t always at their best. Their only stand out strong suit in the regular season was the passing game. The Giants’ season would go up in smoke and Coach Tom Coughlin would be on the unemployment line if Eli were swapped out for Tebow in New York.

The Broncos might be one game away from the Super Bowl if Manning were their quarterback. Receiver Demaryius Thomas demonstrated potential as a deep threat during the season and fellow Broncos wideout Eric Decker has demonstrated the making of a quality possession receiver. The Broncos defense, at its worst, would be “good enough” for Eli to give the Broncos a chance to win.

Post-swap Advantage: Broncos

Could Tebow do better? 3
Trading Places – Tim Tebow with Alex Smith

Alex Smith is a late bloomer in the NFL by any standard, even for a quarterback. The first pick in the 2005 NFL Draft has struggled with annual coaching changes, often incompetent teammates, and his own shortage of confidence. With the arrival of 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, Smith was able to find a comfort zone and play more efficient, relatively mistake-free football. The strength of the Niners running game and defense combined with Smith’s game management has the 49ers one win away from the Super Bowl.

Results: Tim Tebow suffers from serious accuracy issues but, like Smith, does not turn the ball over and is modestly efficient in the passing game because of his ability to connect on deep passes. Tebow also is a problem for defenses because of his running ability, an asset that Smith does not possess to the same degree as Tebow.

Because the 49ers running game is strong and defense is very strong, I think the 49ers probably would have still made the playoffs had they swapped Alex Smith and Tim Tebow. I do not think they would have clinched the #2 seed and, for that reason, I think they would have been eliminated from the playoffs.

The Broncos, I think may lose a little in a Smith for Tebow swap. Tebow’s running loosened up defenses and often left receivers in man coverage, with no safety help, and set up downfield passes. Lacking that threat, Smith would not have that advantage and while the aforementioned receivers, Decker and Thomas, are talented, they are not in the same class of pass receivers as 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and wide receiver Michael Crabtree. I think both teams would lose a little in a swap.

Post-swap Advantage: Push

Could "Tebow Magic" work at Candlestick? 4

So Tebow fans, while your man’s future may be bright and he and his team exceeded expectations this season, none of the final four teams in the NFL playoffs would switch places with the Broncos at quarterback. Of course, this is only my opinion. Tebow Mania is so big that I have no doubt that many of you will disagree, in spite of the lack of facts to back it up. That’s okay. It is what makes America great and Tebow fun to write about!

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