FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- It doesn't look good for Tim Tebow suiting up Sunday. As for the starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez's position coach said that despite a couple of "boneheaded" plays, Sanchez still is improving and still the right man for the job for the struggling Jets.
First, the lightning rod: Tebow was limited in practice Friday and admitted that his fractured ribs have not allowed him to throw much or do much special-teams work this week. He suffered the injury in Seattle three weeks ago.
Add to that a pair of ESPN reports that Rex Ryan already has decided to sit Tebow for Sunday's game against the Cardinals, and Tebow (officially listed as questionable) seems very unlikely to even be in uniform.
"Hey, that could be true" was all Ryan would say about the reports. "I haven't made that decision or anybody else has made that decision. Whether there's speculation or not, that's a decision I haven't made."
Tebow said it's "in my nature" to not ask for rest and that he certainly wouldn't be asking out of the game despite still being in pain when he tries to run or throw. "You try to be smart and listen to wise counsel," he said, "but I guess sometimes that can be something I'm not the best at."
Sanchez hasn't been at his best at times this season, committing six red-zone turnovers. Quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh said a couple of the turnovers, particularly Sanchez's interception in the end zone in Seattle, were especially puzzling.
"That was, to me, just a real boneheaded play," Cavanaugh said during his session with reporters Friday. "You've got to experience all these setbacks, learn from your mistakes, and I think he's doing that. When the team's struggling, they become more glaring."
"It was one of those bloopers that people like to laugh about," Cavanaugh said. "He missed the handoff [and] he did what he's taught to do, run to the hole that was called, and he ran into his guard and the ball popped out. Now, I'm mad at him because as soon as he decided he messed something up, that ball should be high and tight."
But even with the mistakes, the rash of injuries on offense and the presence of Tebow, Cavanaugh said there are no excuses for Sanchez. "I've talked to him about this; without giving you all the details of what was said, to summarize it: It doesn't matter, Mark," Cavanaugh said. "You want to play quarterback in the NFL? It doesn't matter. Everything that's going on around you? Learn how to handle it. That's what great ones do.
"We're committed to him. He's the starting quarterback, we've said it all along, we believe it, and you've got to live with some of the mistakes he makes."
Notes & quotes: Neither G Matt Slauson nor backup Vlad Ducasse took issue with OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo's assessment that Ducasse is not quite ready for regular work. "We talk every day," Ducasse said, adding that he didn't think DeGuglielmo was criticizing his play. "That's the kind of coach you want." Slauson mostly declined to comment on the platoon. "If I get pulled for a series, so be it," he said. "I do what I'm told." . . . WR Clyde Gates (concussion) did not practice and is out.