Here’s all you need to know about how badly things are mismanaged, misrepresented and miscommunicated inside the walls of the New York Jets’ facility: They got
And now, they need to let him go.
The Jets must cut Tebow loose. Today.
Tebow, the ultimate competitor, ultimate person and ultimate do-nothing-to-hurt-the-team guy, according to all previous reports and accounts, engaged in what could be construed as insubordination or conduct detrimental to the team, according to a report by ESPN — a report Ryan had plenty of chances to shoot down Monday but did not.
Per that report, Tebow was told he’d been jumped by Greg McElroy on the depth chart and basically said if he’s not under center for all of the plays, he doesn’t want to be on the field for any of them. Tebow asked to be taken out of all Wildcat packages.
“I’m not going to discuss private conversations, but I have discussions with players all the time,” Ryan told reporters on Monday. “I’m not going to get into what he said, this or that, timing of this. Everything I’ve mentioned before, I believe if his number was called, without question he would’ve gone in and played.”
Except Ryan did not call Tebow’s number. He dressed him but did not put him in the game, not for a Wildcat play, not as a quarterback, not as a running back and not as a personal punt protector. It was yet another day of mixed messages for Tebow, who is more confused than anyone about what’s going on.
Think about what’s going on here:
— On the one hand, Ryan has been talking up Tebow as the ultimate weapon, one that would keep defensive coordinators up at night. Yet, he and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano have barely used Tebow, nor have they ” in five months” devised a scheme to make him successful. (The self-proclaimed best defensive coach in the NFL and his offensive coordinator have failed to make Tebow even a shadow of what he was in Denver.)
— Ryan is saying Tebow still has cracked ribs, but he’s also claimed he’s healthy enough to play.
— Ryan says Tebow would’ve been ready to play if his number had been called, but declined to say Monday whether Tebow begged out of the Wildcat. Then, after refusing to shoot down the report, he had the gall to chide reporters for just assuming the initial report was true.
— Ryan believes Tebow is still a valuable part of the Jets’ roster. But when informed there were sources in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ organization saying it’s a lock Tebow is headed there next season, Ryan replied, “I’m not pulling the old tampering thing. Tim is under contract to us and that’s what I know about the situation.” Translation: They can have him in a week.
Talk about wasting a year of a guy’s career.
Tebow was the main topic of conversation on Ryan’s Monday conference call, though there was a quick shift toward a guest column written in Sunday’s New York Times by former Jets defensive end Trevor Pryce, who said Ryan might be too nice for his own good and is “loyal to the point of defiance, and he cares enormously about the people around him.”
This Tebow situation perfectly illustrates Pryce’s point.
If Tebow really told Ryan to yank him from the game plan and, as Tebow admitted to ESPN Monday, declined to talk to him for three days, Ryan should’ve acted right there. He should’ve deactivated or suspended Tebow. Think about the backlash if Santonio Holmes or Antonio Cromartie had acted the way Tebow did and Ryan did nothing about it.
“Am I loyal? Yeah, without question, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be a nice person,” Ryan said. “I think I’m plenty tough to making tough decisions and other things.”
He can prove it, by making the rather easy decision to let Tebow go. Get rid of the distraction now. What’s a week anyway?
That’s the best solution right now. The Jaguars are second in waiver priority, so just let them have Tebow now. Let him get into the facility, start working with the organization, get used to the playbook (if it and the coaches will remain the same in 2013, that is) and end this season with a smile on his face.
Because Ryan’s wavering is making the organization a laughingstock. Again.
It’s a confusing atmosphere for Tebow. And that means it’s bafflingly, maddeningly frustrating for many others.
Too nice? It’s tough to hammer anybody for that.
But too spineless? That’s a different take, especially in a football coach.
Ryan (who is represented by the same agent as Tebow) didn’t make his message clear to Tebow and, in Tebow’s estimation, they deceived him even if Tebow won’t say that actual word. And when Tebow acted up, they took no clear action to reprimand him or send a message such behavior won’t be tolerated, whether toward him or publicly.
All Tebow wants is a chance to play. Second on that list would be some clarity.
He can only hope the Jets give it to him. By letting him go. At this point, that would be the fair and — since you’re so interested, Rex — nice thing to do.