The tale of the 2012 New York Jets and quarterback Tim Tebow is well-known.
He was supposed to be used at a variety of positions in a set package of plays. Instead, he ran straight into the line of scrimmage on offense. He was going to be a rare participant on special teams to potentially hit of a fake play and loosen coverages. Instead, he spent most of his time on the field playing on that unit.
Yet while most of the news coming out of New York about Tebow up to this point has been centered on “sources” speaking behind his or the team’s back, someone within the organization during the season finally decided to speak on the record Friday.
That person was special teams coach Mike Westhoff, a veteran assistant who spent the last 27 years coaching in the NFL and saw Tebow every single day during practice this past year. Westhoff was interviewed Friday morning by Joe Rose on 560 WQAM and spoke open and honestly about the Tebow situation this season.
“It was a mess. It was an absolute mess,” he said. “You can say it however else you want: It was really a mess. I was very, very disappointed. There are things that Tim Tebow, as an NFL quarterback, he’s very limited in some things. If you throw him right in the middle of a drop-back passing offense, he will look very, very average at best. But if you incorporate him in different facets of your offense, I think he can be a factor. That’s what I felt we were going to do, but we never did it. We would put him into a play and… I was expecting to see him line up as an H-back, a tight end. … And then he’s lined up at quarterback. That’s what I was expecting to see and we didn’t do it.
“My role with him was really only going to be like one percent. That’s all I was thinking. Then when Eric Smith got hurt, I had to use him full time and I didn’t have anyone. I was stuck because I lot two guys. … Most of the stuff that he did for me, he did outstanding, but it was supposed to only be a fraction and it ended up being his only role.
“That was very disappointing – why that didn’t come about. To be honest, I don’t think anyone’s really answered that question. Why didn’t we do it? I honestly don’t know. I know we didn’t practice it. We didn’t practice it in training camp. We were going to unveil it, well, I’m still waiting for the unveiling and it didn’t happen. It was very disappointing.
“But again, if you just say, ‘This is a quintessential NFL drop-back quarterback.’ No, he’s not. He’s just not. But can you use him a lot of different facets? In my opinion, I think he’s outstanding if you do that. But we didn’t do it. It was a distraction and really a shame, because that’s a hard-working young man if you’ve ever saw one, believe me.”
Westhoff continued, “It was a shame. You saw a demeanor change. You saw that swagger that got out of him a little bit. And that was very disheartening to see that. I would just encourage him to keep his head up and that his opportunity would come and a few things like that.”
While fans sat at home wondering why Tebow was not in the game and if the team ever really had plans for him, Westhoff was apparently thinking the exact same thing while standing next to the player on the sidelines.