NFL stars: Tim Tebow will be after Mark Sanchez's job
VideosJets introduce Tim Tebow
Tim Tebow has yet to throw a pass for the Jets, or even practice. But some of the biggest names in football are convinced it's just a matter of time before he takes over the starting quarterback job from Mark Sanchez.
"I feel bad for him," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said of Sanchez, who is in the unenviable and tenuous position of playing ahead of perhaps the most popular quarterback in the league.
The prominent players were in Brooklyn Tuesday for the launch of the new Nike uniforms for the NFL. Although there was plenty to talk about, the topic inevitably turned back to Tebow.
Roethlisberger was asked when he thinks fans will begin clamoring for Tebow to replace Sanchez. His answer: the first preseason game.
The Jets have been adamant that Sanchez is their starter and Tebow will be used for a handful of plays each game in a Wildcat or spread package. The players who spoke Tuesday practically laughed at that notion.
Champ Bailey was a teammate of Tebow's last season, and the 13-year cornerback said he'd never seen anything like Tebow's fan base and the media that follows him. "And I played with Deion Sanders," he said.
He said Tebow will handle playing as a backup well, but he will not accept it. "He's going to challenge him, absolutely," Bailey said. "Sanchez can't be too comfortable in his seat . . . If he doesn't play well, we all know what's going to happen next."
Bailey saw it happen in Denver. His advice for the Jets, who must deal with Tebowmania, was simple. "Just roll with it," he said. "It's going to happen, you can't stop it, just roll with it."
Patriots receiver Wes Welker said he wasn't sure if it would disrupt an offense to have quarterbacks shuffled in and out with separate plays for each. "I think it all depends what you think you need to do to win the game," Welker said. "I'm sure that's what they'll do, but I don't know if it would be disruptive or not."
Would the Patriots consider such a system with Tom Brady? "I don't think you want to take him out of the game to run some of that stuff," Welker said.
But that's what the Jets plan to do with Tebow and Sanchez. At least, the players think, until Tebow's snaps start to grow and overtake Sanchez's.
"If anybody thinks he's going to come in and not compete to start, they're crazy," Bailey said. "And his fans are going to keep chanting his name. There's going to be a lot of pressure."