Phil Simms has concerns about Sanchez-Tebow dynamic
Bob GlauberBob Glauber
Glauber has been Newsday's national football columnist since 1992. He
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Sanchez initially was quiet about the trade and has since gone out of his way to welcome his new teammate and potential competitor for the No. 1 job, but Simms might have reacted differently.
"If I was Mark Sanchez, I might not have been as quiet about it and as politically correct as he was," the former Giants quarterback said Wednesday during a visit to his old team's training site in East Rutherford, N.J. "Mark Sanchez is in a situation now that a good veteran quarterback is in when the football team drafts a first-round quarterback. To me, it's a very touchy situation. It's right up there on the fence, and we're all waiting to see which way it falls."
Not an easy proposition, Simms said. And it only figures to get harder -- and much, much more intense -- in the weeks and months ahead. As big a deal as the Tebow acquisition has been so far, Simms said you haven't seen anything yet. And if the former Super Bowl MVP and current CBS commentator's hunch is correct, the odds of the arrangement succeeding aren't in Sanchez's favor.
"You read articles now, and nobody wants to hear about Mark Sanchez," Simms said. "Everybody wants to hear about Tim Tebow. Look how big it is now. It's nothing. What's it going to be like in training camp? The preseason? When the season starts, it's going to be huge."
There's only one way for Sanchez to stick as the No. 1 quarterback.
"You have to play extremely well, put up numbers, and you have to win," he said. "And if that whole scenario is not happening, then not only the fans of Tebow, but the people in the media, we want the next thing. Everybody wants the next thing, no matter what."
Can Sanchez do it?
"He can only win it by working hard, winning football games, and putting up big numbers. That's an easy thing to do in the NFL, right?" Simms said, laughing at his question. "And that's on an offense that's not going to be designed around the quarterback to be the superstar."
But as much pressure as there is on Sanchez, Simms believes there's just as much pressure on coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano to manage the quarterback situation. Both men insist that Sanchez is the starter and that Tebow is the backup and in charge of wildcat packages. Can they stay the course when the going gets tough?
"All the focus and the responsibility is on the coaching staff because they've got to make it work for the team, for the players," Simms said.
Unlike the Giants, who have a clear-cut starter in Eli Manning, the Jets -- who recently signed Simms' son, Matt, another quarterback, to a free-agent contract -- might not have the luxury of riding out tough times.
"It's the NFL, so it never goes as planned," Simms said. "The whole damn thing is about adversity. Practice, games, one series to the next, what's going to go wrong, because it goes wrong. Look at all that went wrong last year for the Giants. But they were fortunate and smart. They can stay the course . . . It's not the same situation with the Jets."
Simms' three words of advice to Sanchez and Tebow: Good luck, fellas.