Four points on Tim Tebow's arrival in New York:
1. In a strict football sense, Tebow as a Jet makes sense. He allows a risk-taking coach, Rex Ryan, and his Wildcat-loving offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano, to experiment with different ways to use Tebow. Wildcat quarterback. Spreading the field on the two-point conversion. Maybe even the personal protector on the punt team where imaginative special teams coach Mike Westhoff can throw some changeups at the defense. But it's not always about football with Tebow.
On Saturday, he went to a Broadway play. The New York Daily News put Tebow's attendance at the play on the front page of the Sunday paper. As of Sunday, he'd been on the front or back page of at least one of the two tabloids every day since the trade. This is a backup quarterback we're talking about -- at least now it is. I think Tebow's potentially a good asset to a struggling offense. I just don't know if the accompanying headaches will make it a plus overall for the Jets, never mind what it does to the psyche of the starter. I don't care what Mark Sanchez says publicly. This ticks him off.
2. Tebow and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, absolutely had a choice on where the Broncos would trade Tebow, despite Tebow's statement that only Denver controlled that. The Jags had a better fourth-round pick on the table than the Jets were offering -- by seven draft slots. The Jags were offering $500,000 more than the Jets in compensation for the advances paid on his contract. But Denver was willing to deal Tebow to either team. And it was a very difficult choice for the young quarterback, because he is from Jacksonville. But the decision made sense. The Jets wanted him more, and would use him more, ostensibly. It's simple.
3. One Jag quarterback point: the leash will be short on Blaine Gabbert this year, and Chad Henne will be the quarterback at some point if Gabbert is as bad as he was last fall. Why would Tebow want to be a third-string quarterback, with coaches who aren't big fans of the gimmicky stuff the way the Jets are? It would have made no sense, regionalism notwithstanding, for Tebow to go to Jacksonville.
4. I will be shocked if, one day before the end of his career, Tebow is not a member of the Jaguars -- assuming the Jags remain in Jacksonville long-term. When? I don't know. But unless he establishes a solid starting beachhead in New Jersey or elsewhere soon, he'll be a Jag one of these days. Just makes too much sense for a franchise that needs the juice of Tebow.
Message from Manning.
I completed a story for Sports Illustrated on Peyton Manning's weird two-week free-agency journey earlier this morning. One thing worth noting that didn't fit:
"The NFL's in really good shape with these good young offensive minds,'' Manning said from Denver late last night. "I've got to say that's one thing that impressed me as I went from team to team, especially meeting a lot of guys I either didn't know or didn't know very well. Smart guys. I was really impressed.''
Manning's got a knack for remembering names, but this was impressive. As he went team by team, he picked out young coaches he liked. "Tennessee's got a good up-and-coming young quarterback coach, Dowell Loggains,'' he said. "Chris Palmer [Titans offensive coordinator] I know and really like, and Munch [coach Mike Munchak] ... I really like Mike. A lot. I would have loved to play there. Seriously, I would have loved to play at a lot of these places. Arizona's got a good young offensive coordinator, Mike Miller, who impressed me. Good quarterback coach, Mike McNulty. [Line coach] Russ Grimm and Whiz [coach Ken Whisenhunt], I love those guys. Mike Sherman and Joe Philbin were great when I talked to the Dolphins. And I just texted [49ers offensive coordinator] Greg Roman today. That guy's sharp now. And coach [Jim] Harbaugh is so sharp. That would have been a great place.
"But I'm really happy about Denver. Mike McCoy [offensive coordinator] is really flexible and smart. We'll work well together. [Quarterback coach] Adam Gase, I look forward to working with him. Seems really smart.''
After we finished talking, Manning sent an email about his mentor from the University of Tennessee, current Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who's been spearheading Manning's workouts and throwing program this winter on the Duke campus.
"Last thing,'' he wrote. "Cutcliffe is the best coach of quarterbacks in America right now, college and pro. I can't thank him enough for all he has done to help me during this time.''
The recall Manning has -- and I mean about every coach he was met with over two weeks -- is remarkable.
RIP, Ron Erhardt.
The former Patriots head coach and Giants and Steelers offensive coordinator died in Florida Wednesday at 80. I'll always remember him for the great coaching job he did in Super Bowl XXV as the Giants' offensive strategist, one of the great game-planning and play-calling days I've seen in the years I've covered the NFL.
That season, 1990, there wasn't an off-week between the championship games and the Super Bowl. In the AFC title game, Buffalo steamrolled Oakland 51-3. In the NFC title game, the Giants, heavy underdogs, got five field goals from Matt Bahr at San Francisco and won 15-13. Forget the later heroics against the superior Niners. Now the Giants had to figure some way to stop the Buffalo offensive avalanche. When Bill Parcells got on the team bus at Candlestick Park after the game, he saw Erhardt and said three words: "Shorten the game.''
Keep the ball in Jeff Hostetler's hands and away from Jim Kelly. Play power football. Power football wins, the Giants preached all week. Snap the ball at the end of the play clock. Stay inbounds. Run the clock. Erhardt kept the plan simple. He didn't ask his backup quarterback to do too much, preferring to let his big back, Ottis Anderson, execute the Giants' elementary plays in the running game.
The Giants were so brute-force in that game that bruising Buffalo linebacker Shane Conlan had his facemask snapped on a running play. "That never happened to me before,'' he said after the game. New York had scoring drives of 11, 10, 14 and 14 plays. The Giants held the ball for 40 minutes and 33 seconds. The Bills, of course, were mashed up by a physical Giants defense and missed the field goal at the end of the game that would have won it. The Giants survived 20-19.
The other day, after Erhardt died, I asked Parcells about "Shorten the game.'' How big of a reason was it in the outcome of the game?
"It wasn't a reason,'' Parcells said the other day. "It was the reason. Ron had a terrific plan that day. He was a great football coach.''
Postscript: When Dick Vermeil took the Chiefs coaching job in 2001, he brought in one offensive coach to talk offensive philosophy to his staff and his team: Erhardt. "I loved the way he coached basic offensive football, done right all the time,'' Vermeil said.
From knowing him, I can tell you Erhardt would love that to be his legacy.
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