Tim Tebow can fill the Jets' wildcat gap

AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Last season, Tim Tebow beat the Jets on the ground with a game-winning 20-yard touchdown run.

Much has been made in this space about Tim Tebow’s numbers and how bad some of them have been in his first two years in the NFL.

However, Tebow showed last season that he could lead the Denver Broncos to come-from-behind wins, so he had to be doing something right.

Tebow’s ability to throw the ball has been questioned, but no one doubts what he can do as a runner, which could be one reason the New York Jets traded for Tebow.

The Jets have their starting quarterback in Mark Sanchez, signed Drew Stanton this offseason and also have Greg McElroy.

Perhaps Tebow fills the void that was left when Brad Smith signed with the Buffalo Bills last offseason. Since 2009, the Jets have run the third-most wildcat plays in the NFL. They averaged 6.5 yards per rush with Smith and 4.1 without him last season.

Most Yds Per Rush, 2009-11
From Wildcat Formations

Last season, the Broncos called 84 designed rushes for Tebow, most among quarterbacks. He averaged 4.3 yards per rush with five touchdowns on those designed plays.

Tebow’s 12 rushing touchdowns also are the third-most by a QB in his first two seasons.

Tebow also proved in 2011 that he can finish drives. In 70 red zone plays with Tebow at quarterback last season, the Broncos scored 20 touchdowns. That was the highest TD percentage (28.6) of any quarterback with as many plays over the last two seasons.

Tebow's 27.2 Total QBR last season was the third worst among qualifiers, but he had his moments -- particularly late in games.

Including the wild card win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tebow had six game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime last season. He posted the third-best Total QBR in the final 9:00 minutes of the fourth quarter last season -- better than Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Eli Manning in such situations.