With Tebow, Jets risking QB controversy
The Jets insist it's going to work, doing their best to make it clear that Sanchez is the starter and that both players have been briefed on their duties.
Rex Ryan, speaking Thursday at LSU's pro day in Baton Rouge, La., said he's not worried about the mental state of his franchise quarterback after Wednesday's stunning trade for Tebow.
Asked if there will be a competition between Tebow and Sanchez at any point, Ryan said: "I look at it this way. We're incredibly fortunate to have a couple of quarterbacks with playoff wins. Obviously, both have been fairly successful . . .
"I think [Sanchez] is going to be a tremendous quarterback. He is our quarterback. What Tim gives us is another great competitor."
Tebow arrived in the metropolitan area shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday at Morristown (N.J.) Municipal Airport. He was in the front passenger seat of a black Nissan Armada when it reached the Florham Park practice facility at approximately 5:15. He waved to fans and reporters camped out on Jets Drive, which leads directly into the complex.
That kind of turnout shows the magnitude of the decision to bring Tebow here. People flock to him, but he also draws strong criticism because he's not a traditional dropback quarterback. Yet Tebow has found ways to win games, going 8-5 as a starter last season, including an overtime playoff victory over the Steelers.
So should Sanchez struggle, Tebow's cult-like following could make Jets fans clamor for coaches to put him in, thinking he's the answer. But like Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum said Thursday he's sure there won't be any kind of quarterback controversy.
But Tannenbaum might have left the door ajar for just that with something he said on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning."
While discussing Tebow's ability to run the Wildcat effectively, the GM said: "If our offense is sputtering and we have, say, three three-and-outs, and we roll this out there, and it's successful, who knows? I think it will just depend on the game and the situation."
Such a statement makes Joe Namath believe Sanchez should have "doubts" about the Jets' plans, particularly because Tebow's competitive nature will drive him to want to be a starting quarterback.
"I know Mark's going to be the good soldier," the Hall of Fame quarterback told Newsday in a telephone interview. "He's going to do the right things and say the right things. I believe he's got to have some doubts about what he's been told by various principals with the Jets. I mean, you've got to question -- at least I would.
"I don't know if you can trust everything you hear from your people when you're working for them. It's awkward."
As for Tebow giving the Jets a potentially potent Wildcat presence, Namath contends teams with potent offenses don't use the scheme.
"The only reason that thing's used is because the regular offense isn't good enough," said Namath, who discusses Jets news on his website, www.broadwayjoe.tv.
"You don't see good teams utilizing it or teams that have quality offenses. Not one championship team that I'm aware of has utilized it.
"Can you imagine taking Tom Brady off the field? Really? Or Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers or [Ben] Roethlisberger? I mean, come on. And yet they're going to take their quarterback off the field. That's telling him they have something better than him. Now Mark's got to prove that they shouldn't get to that point."
Former Jets offensive lineman Damien Woody is sure Sanchez and Tebow are going to be immersed in a quarterback controversy.
"You are bringing in arguably the most popular player in the National Football League," Woody, an ESPN analyst, told Newsday. "Now I'm not saying he deserves to be the most popular player because of his play. But with everything he's about, he's the most popular player in the National Football League. The minute Mark starts struggling, man, it's going to be 'Tebow! Tebow!' And it's going to be crazy."