By: Rob Johnson @RJ1452
It's finally here. The last game of the 2012 season for the Jaguars will occur in downtown Nashville on Sunday. All of the hope from training camp has faded into the stark reality of a team that is virtually locked into the second pick in the 2013 draft. Despite this one remaining game, the focus of most fans is already on what will happen off the field in the coming months.
Fans are anticipating, and many have demanded, a new general manager. That person will likely overhaul the entire scouting department, as the Jags refer to it on their website. As a side note, I'm not usually into titles, but the classifications that the Jaguars use within the organization reveal a lot about the current mentality and state of the franchise, which I hope is being dramatically transformed.
There are a lot of decisions to make for a new general manager. The Jags need almost a total turnover of the roster, and most of the team's weaknesses will not be significantly strengthened in time for training camp.
Unfortunately, an incredible amount of drama also hangs over the franchise. This drama is unlike any I have known in the NFL, and it's not going away soon. In fact, it may never go away. As Taylor Swift sings, "Like, Ever."
I write, of course, of Tim Tebow. I haven't made up my mind about him. His statistics, his mechanics and the lack of interest in him by NFL teams tell me that he will not have long-term success as a quarterback at the highest level of football.
Tebow's demeanor, drive and most importantly, the mystical things that happen when he's on the field, tell me otherwise. There's no way to logically explain how Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs last year, let alone how he made plays and a great throw in overtime to beat the Steelers in the opening round of those playoffs.
Two respected quarterback experts, George Whitfield, Jr. (guru to Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger) and Terry Shea (guru to RG3, Matthew Stafford and Josh Freeman), were subjects of an article that stated "Tebow is fixable." While these two men may be trying to generate business for themselves and Shea has worked with Blaine Gabbert (take that for what it's worth), it's still an interesting theory, and one that may deserve to be fully tested.
The question is: Will this happen in Jacksonville?
With the slow progress of Gabbert and the inability of Chad Henne to revive his career this season, the Jaguars have a huge question mark at quarterback. In addition, there is no obvious choice, if any, at quarterback in the 2013 draft nor are there any surefire free agents available.
Perhaps, it's time for the Jags to sign Tebow and put an end to this saga. Doing this will not be simple. It will prolong the story with an incredible amount of intensity and passion to a point that, some believe, will stifle the franchise.
However, the reality of Tebow is that his lore will hang over the Jaguars, even if he isn't in Jacksonville next year. Another losing season will add fuel to the fire for those that believe Tebow belongs on the Jags. Other than a dramatic turn-around that puts the Jaguars in playoff contention, nothing will silence the Tebow talk.
Bringing Tebow home will require a new head coach and a general manager willing to endure the process. That limits the legitimate possibilities, but it's not entirely absurd. The first choice to lead the Jags with Tebow at quarterback is Josh McDaniels. He drafted Tebow, so we know he thought, at one time, that Tebow could be a difference maker. Perhaps, McDaniels would like to redeem himself as a head coach and prove he could be right about Tebow.
If a McDaniels-Tebow reunion were to be made possible by Shahid Khan, that decision would likely be made prior to a general manager hire. This may not be the ideal situation for the Jaguars. However, staying the course with Gene Smith is worse.
With Tebow at quarterback, the on-field performance will be uncertain and unstable when the season begins. Maurice Jones-Drew will collect yards at his normal pace, but the real weapons (not the punter) of Cecil Shorts, Justin Blackmon and Marcedes Lewis will be in danger of not being used properly. Nevertheless, using those weapons to their maximum potential while not being a playoff contender is also a waste.
A decision by Mr. Khan to sign Tebow also has advantages beyond winning games. Tebow brings additional financial benefits to the organization from the United States and more importantly, the untapped market of Europe. Here's an article from Kristi Dosh about the Jags creating a real presence in London.
The sponsorship opportunities abroad provide an unlimited source of new revenue for the Jaguars that will make the franchise more valuable. Plus, a sustainable flow of cash could position the Jags for enduring the Tebow experiment should it not be successful. The team would have enough money to recruit any top coach and general manager in the Post-Tebow era.
If anyone doubts that a Tebow experiment would forever ruin the franchise, consider this: A blank check along with the assurance of having complete control of football decisions, will entice almost any coach and general manager.
Of all of the decisions Mr. Khan must make to improve the Jaguars, Tebow is his first and most important. I don't believe adding Tebow would be a disaster, and he may be considered a gamble worth taking by more people than we know. Beyond McDaniels, there could be aspiring head coaches, such as Kyle Shanahan, that may be willing to prove they can succeed with Tebow.
If a Tebow experiment fails, there will still be a financial upside. If a Tebow experiment succeeds, the saga of Tebow and the Jaguars will forever be etched in NFL history.
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