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So, in case you have not heard, Tim Tebow is the back-up quarterback of the New York Jets now, and as you could imagine, it has been perceived as kind of a big deal. Unfortunately for the Jets, however, acquiring a player of Tebow’s stature has not put the spotlight on them for the most positive reasons thus far.
Since bringing in the former Broncos starter, whose miraculous and oftentimes Hollywood-like runs last season hit their ultimate peak with a 29-23 overtime victory against the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in a Wild Card playoff match-up, the Jets front office and coaching staff have been on the receiving end of extremely harsh, relentless, national media criticism.
While the Jets insist that Tebow’s acquisition was not a PR move and that he will only be used in Wildcat packages and as a second-string option, that is not how most people around the country are viewing it. To put it lightly, it is safe to say that a good number of experts were not exactly fond of the idea of trading for one of the most polarizing quarterbacks in recent memory, not when his presence could ultimately create a starting quarterback controversy somewhere down the line between him and three-year Jets starter Mark Sanchez.
Hold on, people. We have had a little over a week to digest this move, so let’s all just take a deep breath, and look at it rationally. That is the least we could do. Barring an injury to Sanchez, Tim Tebow will not start for the New York Jets at any point next season, and there is no reason to worry about any drama arising. Plain and simple. After admittedly pursuing, and shortly thereafter failing, to obtain longtime former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, the Jets proceeded to give Sanchez a three-year, $58.5 million contract extension to remain their starter under center.
Under his new deal, Sanchez will be owed a total of $20.5 million in guarantees over the next two seasons – a price that the Jets would not be willing to pay just to cut him or have him on the bench in order to throw Tebow out there. Of course, they could use that money to buy Sanchez his own personal gold-plated, diamond-encrusted bench if they were to sit him, but that does not seem very likely or practical in today’s salary cap era.
Before Sanchez signed the extension, he was still tied to the final two years of his rookie contract, which included no guaranteed money, meaning that the new deal displayed the Jets’ faith in him. With the loss of wide receiver and Wildcat quarterback Brad Smith in free agency last season to the Buffalo Bills – an AFC East division rival – the Jets all but abandoned the Wildcat, which had proved to be successful for them since drafting Smith out of Missouri back in 2006.
As a gifted runner with below-average talent as a passer, Smith was a stereotypical college quarterback at Mizzu. It is well-known from Tebow’s playing days at Florida and Denver that he has a very similar skill set, but with more build in his frame and more experience throwing the ball at the NFL level.
New York needs someone like Tebow to get their Wildcat back on track, especially with Sanchez’s occasional passing droughts and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano calling the plays. During his time as the Miami Dolphins head coach, Sparano’s Wildcat offense gave defenses a fit with running back Ronnie Brown taking direct snaps.
If you did not watch the games or highlights last year, Tebow needed things to go perfectly to win ball games. He only completed 46.5 percent of his passes in 2011 and was clearly the beneficiary of the league’s fifth best rushing offense and a defense that completely dominated teams, at times, during his 7-1 run at starter.
Sanchez may have had a completion percentage of just 56.7 a year ago, but he does not have the prolonged, troublesome throwing motion of Tebow and is expected to improve now that former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and his primarily horizontal passing attack have left for St. Louis.
Don’t worry about Tim Tebow or Mark Sanchez, it is a non-issue, period.