On Tuesday, a day after the Jets released Tim Tebow, coach Rex Ryan was again asked about the decision to bring the former Heisman Trophy winner to New York.
“When you look at it with the advantage of hindsight, obviously it wasn't a good situation for Tim," Ryan said during an appearance on ESPN Radio (via PFT). "It wasn't a good situation for the Jets or anything else. I looked at it like he would have had success and we were going to use him in a multiple of ways. Unfortunately that didn't happen … We really didn't take advantage, in my opinion, of his skill set. That's nobody's fault. Ultimately, it's my fault.”
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It's been 13 months since Ryan uttered these words about Tebow, recently acquired in a trade with the Broncos: "Tim is going to be a major contributor to our football team. With the wildcat specifically, the great thing is you don't know if we're going to run it one snap a game or 20 snaps a game -- you have no idea. Every week it could be different. That's some of the preparation problems he gives you."
Knowing what we now know, it's reasonable to wonder if Ryan was just being sarcastic. By the time the 2012 season was over, Tebow's numbers looked like this: 12 games, 6 for 8 passing for 39 yards, 2 sacks, 32 rushes for 102 yards and no touchdowns. Rock bottom came in Week 16 when Ryan benched Mark Sanchez for third-stringer Greg McElroy while a perfectly healthy Tebow watched from the sidelines.
And when McElroy went down with a concussion, Ryan turned to ... Sanchez, the guy he benched a few hours before.
"It was my decision to stay with Sanchez [once McElroy was out with a concussion]," Ryan said at the time. "I was the only one who made that decision. It's on me and, obviously, it didn't work out the way I wanted it to. … If I thought Tebow would have helped us win the game playing quarterback or defensive tackle, I would have played him."
Fast-forward to Tuesday's radio interview and it's not like Ryan didn't have the opportunity to use Tebow -- specifically, in that Week 16 game when he thought a former seventh-rounder gave the Jets a better chance to win.
But the coach can afford to make mistakes because, unlike everybody else on the roster -- from general manager to the backup quarterback/punt protector -- Ryan couldn't be fired this offseason, by decree of owner Woody Johnson.
As for what this new-fangled Jets offense will look like, here's how Ryan explained it back in January: "I want to be more of an attack-style of team, whether it's running the pistol or different types of offenses," he said. "As hard as we are to attack defensively, I want to be the same way on offense."
Speaking more generally, Ryan continued: "We are going to be a dangerous football team. I can promise you that. How many wins and all that, I don't know. But I'm gonna tell you: You're not gonna want to play the New York Jets."