Tim Tebow Outplays Mark Sanchez in New York Jets' First Preseason Game
Throughout the offseason, many so-called "experts" criticized the New York Jets' offense for its inability to move the ball down the field on a consistent basis in 2011. Since the inception of the Mark Sanchez era, the offense has been centered around a consistent, yet steady gauntlet of rushing plays complemented by play-action passes over the middle of the field.
However, the team's lack of a feature running back a year ago exposed that style of play as ineffective in today's NFL.
In Gang Green's first preseason game today, the team did little to quiet its critics.
Although Mark Sanchez completed four of his six passes, they only garnered gains of 21 yards for an average of just over five yards per completion.
He did little to dispel the notion that he does not possess the arm strength down the field to jump-start the Jets offense.
In short, Sanchez showed little progress from the end of last season to the start of this year.
Furthermore, the Jets offensive line did not help Sanchez' cause. The fourth-year quarterback out of USC was sacked twice on only eight pass attempts.
Overall, the offense looked stagnant in the early goings.
However, although Tim Tebow had his own issues getting the ball down the field, his ability to run with the ball seemed to have a positive effect on the Jets offense.
He completed just four of eight passing attempts for 27 yards. However, he gained 34 yards on the ground with just four attempts.
"I liked the poise he showed," coach Rex Ryan said of Tebow. "Obviously, [he] made some big runs and that's what we say he can do. If you want to come after him, you better get to him. In time, he'll kill you running and that's what he did."
Although Mark Sanchez will most likely prove to be the team's most talented quarterback, the Jets offensive line may seriously inhibit his production as the year progresses.
As a pocket passer, Sanchez struggles mightily under pressure. A year ago, he completed a mere 36.1 percent of passes for an average of 3.4 yards per attempt while under pressure.
It's hard to win consistently with a quarterback that has no ability to operate when things don't go as planned.
However, Tim Tebow has the ability to be mobile and extend the play. While his accuracy and arm strength have understandably been questioned throughout his career, his athleticism has not.
In his first game as a member of the Jets, Tebow averaged 8.5 yards per carry on the ground.
If the Jets offensive line cannot prove their ability to protect the quarterback as the season progresses, Tim Tebow could be the team's best chance for success. He is not better than Sanchez talent-wise, but his skill set would enable him to cover up the Jets' inability to pass protect.
Furthermore, his rushing ability could open up the field for Santonio Holmes, who has always been a big play threat.
All that being said, this was just the first contest of the preseason. The team, and its quarterbacks, both have a long way to go before the games start to count.
However, the next preseason game now looks to be that much more interesting as this quarterback controversy continues to develop.
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