Today: Jun 18, 2024

Duel Quarterbacks

Andrew AnastasioSports Reporter –
One of the more interesting transactions in the NFL this past offseason was the New York Jets acquiring third year quarterback Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos. The Broncos, who finished last season at a record of 8-8, were eliminated in the AFC Divisional round last year against the New England Patriots.

What made this acquisition interesting was the Broncos willingness to give Tebow up even though he had saved their season a year ago. Before Tebow took over the starting quarterback job, the Broncos started their season at a dismal 1-4 record. First-year head coach John Fox replaced incumbent Kyle Orton with Tebow, and since the switch Tebow proceeded to lead the team to victory in seven of the next 11 games and march the Broncos into postseason contention.

Although the Broncos didn’t get very far in the playoffs under Tebow’s command, the man endured tremendous amounts of criticism on how he could never be an NFL quarterback and how his skill set wasn’t up to par with other NFL quarterbacks. He even took scrutiny to switch positions if he wished to pursue an NFL career.

Well, Tebow proved his critics wrong in 2011. In 11 games started, Tebow completed 47% of his passes for a total of 1,729 yards thrown and complemented those numbers with 12 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. He also rushed for 660 yards and six touchdowns.

Joining the Jets means that Tebow has to compete with fourth-year quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sanchez, who had an average season at best last year, passed for 3,474 yards with 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Regardless of statistics, the media dramatized the Tebow signing into a proverbial war between Sanchez and Tebow. In recent interviews with the two, both expressed gratitude and respect toward one another. Sanchez even invited Tebow to the quarterback camp in California that he holds every summer.

Any Jets fan knows the relationship between Sanchez and head coach Rex Ryan. Ryan has supported and defended Sanchez from the brutal New York media since he landed with the Jets in 2010. Sanchez even shared Thanksgiving dinner with the Ryan family last year. That alone should speak volumes to the type of relationship Ryan and Sanchez have.

The media speculated a “quarterback controversy,” by questioning who will receive the starting job, which created an uproar in New York. But from the looks of it now, there isn’t any controversy at all. The Jets have already told Tebow that he’s going to be starting on special teams defending punts. Barring any injuries to Sanchez or any inconsistent performances, Sanchez should receive the starting job without a doubt. Training camp has alluded this to the public anyway. Tebow has reportedly struggled with the first team offense. To his defense, he is still in the midst of learning a new system.

If anyone disagrees with “learning the offense” as an excuse then compare the same situation with Sanchez. Last year’s offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was fired by the organization in the offseason. Under Schottenheimer, the Jets offensively ranked 21st in passing yards and 22nd in rushing. Here’s a team that has a “run first” mentality and dropped from the number one rushing team in the league all the way down to 22nd. With Schottenheimer out, the Jets hired ex-Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano. Not only does Tebow need to learn a new system, but Sanchez technically does as well.

The Jets are planning on using a dual-quarterback system by shuffling Sanchez and Tebow in and out for certain plays. Whether this is going to work or not, only time will tell. Players such as wide receiver Santonio Holmes are already skeptical, yet the Jets thus far are sticking to that plan. Regardless of any performance issues, Sanchez should be the starter. However, this doesn’t mean “Tebow Time” won’t become a reality in New York.

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