Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets looks on from the sideline during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 30, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York.(Photo: Tom Szczerbowski, Getty Images)
Last month, in the final stages of his coaching career, retiring New
York Jets special-teams coordinator Mike Westhoff said he might
entertain the idea of being an NFL television analyst next season.
Well, he just aced the audition.
an interview with WQAM radio in Miami, Westhoff was brutally honest
about the Jets' past season, their current situation and their future
prospects. Most importantly for his prospects of getting a TV deal, he
made the headline-grabbing comment about the biggest hot-button issue in
the NFL - Tim Tebow.
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was a mess, it was an absolute mess. You can say whatever else you
want, it was really a mess," Westhoff told host Joe Rose. "I was very,
very disappointed. As an NFL quarterback, he's very limited in some
things. And 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."
USA TODAY Sports reported this week the Jets initially planned to use Tebow as a traditional tailback in some spots. Westhoff was under the impression that would happen, along with some other responsibilities.
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was expecting him to line up as, really in a couple of roles," Westhoff
told Rose, a former versatile player for the Miami Dolphins. "I'll give
you an example: Some of the roles that you played, an H-back, a tight
end, then all of a sudden there's Jim Jensen who's an H-back, a tight
end, a halfback, a fullback and then he's lined up at quarterback.
That's what I was expecting to see and we didn't do it."
added: "That was very disappointing why that didn't come about. To be
honest, I don't think anyone's really ever 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. It didn't happen and it's very
Westhoff didn't exactly confirm a report from
ESPNNewYork.com that indicated Tebow asked out of any Wildcat packages
when the Jets went with Greg McElroy instead of him to replace the
benched Mark Sanchez. But he did say Tebow's attitude was noticeably
different, starting with the cracked ribs in November that limited his
"That was tough. You could see that was painful for him, so
that kind of transitioned it," Westhoff said. "But it was a shame to see
him ... 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. Just a few things like that.
"Really, I didn't have much of a
role in it. I knew we weren't going to make a total change in offense.
... Just a drop-back guy? No. Multi-faceted? Yes."
"It was a distraction and a shame," Westhoff said of the whole Tebow situation, "because that was a hard-working young man."
What did Westhoff think about starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was benched, then returned as starter?
believe Mark was a manageable quarterback on a good football team. We
had a good defense, I had a good group on special teams, we ran the ball
well, we had a handful of receivers who could make big plays and Mark
was thrown into those ingredients.
"Then all of a sudden, the
burden was thrust on Mark, and that's just too much for him, in my
opinion. I think a whole offense needs to be designed around Mark. You
can say that it was, but there are some things he just doesn't do as
well. Plus, you still need a very good running game and special teams to
complement him. And we lost that, we all lost that."