Former Jets coach Mike Westhoff: Tim Tebow situation was an absolute mess
Former New York Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff, who recently announced that he is retiring, was one of a number of people who had a first-hand look at the failure that was the Tim Tebow situation in New York this past season. On Friday morning, Westhoff appeared on WQAM Sports Radio in Miami and pulled no punches when discussing where it all went wrong.
“It was a mess, it was an absolute mess,” he said, via USA Today. “You can say whatever else you want, it was really a mess. 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.”
That’s obviously what the Jets planned to do, as evidenced by the recent revelation that the team intended to use Tebow as a running back in traditional formations. Westhoff said he expected to see Tebow line up at various positions all over the field but that it simply never happened — in practice or during a game.
“That was very disappointing why that didn’t come about,” he said. “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 disappointing.”
When we heard before the season that New York planned to use Tebow on special teams, we assumed that would merely be a fraction of his duties if the Jets intended to use him as an X-factor type player. Instead, that became his primary use. While Westhoff would not confirm that Tebow asked out of Wildcat packages toward the end of the season, he did say that the former Denver Broncos star’s demeanor changed after he injured his ribs in November.
“That was tough. You could see that was painful for him, so that kind of transitioned it,” Westhoff explained. “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.”
The opportunity never came and it likely never will — at least in New York. As expected, Tebow continued to say all the right things throughout the season and never let his frustrations show. And according to Westhoff, Tebow deserved more with how hard he worked.
“It was a distraction and a shame, because that was a hard-working young man,” he said.
In the end, Joe Namath’s prediction turned out to be right. Instead of finding a way for Tebow to help the Jets win games, he was a non-factor that still dominated the headlines week in and week out. Looking back, it couldn’t have gone much worse.
Here is the audio of the interview, courtesy of The Big Lead.