Can Tim Tebow Take the Starting Job in New York Before Opening Weekend?

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IAugust 13, 2012

Aug 10, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) hands a young fan his wrist band after the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals beat the Jets 17-6.   Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

After one preseason game, it's unreasonable to think Tim Tebow could take the New York Jets' starting quarterback job away from Mark Sanchez

But is it totally unfathomable that the most talked about backup quarterback in football will be Gang Green's starter for the season-opener against the Buffalo Bills

With the Jets, anything's possible, especially if it intensifies media attention. 

Tebow supplanting Sanchez prior to Week 1 would certainly garner some media attention, don't you think? 

Yes, it's a long shot, but not inconceivable, making it worth further examination. 

In the team's first preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, neither Sanchez nor Tebow was fantastic. Sanchez finished the evening 4-of-6 for 21 yards and took two sacks. Tebow was 4-of-8 for 27 yards with an interception and added 34 yards on four rushes. 

After an offseason in which head coach Rex Ryan stated and continually reiterated that Sanchez was the team's unchallenged starter, Tebow will clearly have to be drastically better than the incumbent in the final three preseason outings to force the coaching staff into an extremely crucial and controversial decision before the start of the season. 

Tebow, if nothing else, is a powerful runner, something that has to intrigue Ryan, as he wants to return to a "ground-and-pound" offense in 2012. Sanchez doesn't get the credit he deserves for his athleticism and scrambling ability, but he's no Tebow in the running department. 

Tebow worked with pitching guru Tom House this offseason, and ESPN's Ron Jaworski had this to say about the improvement of the southpaw's delivery (via

“The one thing I’ve noticed about Tim Tebow — and it’s a small sampling thus far — is his stroke is much better. It’s cleaner. It’s not as elongated. He’s not dropping the football. That means the ball will come out quicker.

While that might be a good sign for the Jets, it's hardly encouraging for Sanchez. He's a true pocket passer with fine mechanics and an adequate arm who has struggled with consistency and accuracy in his first three seasons in New Jersey. 

It's simple. 

If Tebow exhibits noticeable development as a thrower, so much so that the Jets coaching staff believes they can get as much aerial production out of him as they'd get from Sanchez with the added running dimension, they'd be much more inclined to name Tebow the starter earlier than anyone expected.

Why wouldn't they?

It's not as if they'd be asking Tebow to operate a New Orleans Saints-esque vertical passing offense. Quite the opposite, actually.  

Sure, naming Tebow the starter after preseason action wouldn't be fair to Sanchez, but, sometimes, the NFL isn't fair. 

If Ryan and Co. envision a catastrophic start to the season for their 2009 first-round pick, and a subsequent media firestorm, there's a chance they'll end the quarterback controversy before one precipitates. 

Yes, Sanchez will have to play rather poorly, and Tebow will have to shine through the air and on the ground for these circumstances to even have the chance to play out, but, hey, it could happen. 

If it does—just watch—the media and a large faction of Jets fans, fed up with the seemingly limited Sanchez, will be calling for Tebow before the team takes a truly meaningful snap. 

Would it be the correct decision? 

Who knows.

But it'd definitely keep the Jets on the front page of New York City newspapers, and, on the surface, that's important to Gang Green after the Giants won their second Super Bowl in five years a season ago. 

Tebow being named the Jets' starting quarterback on kickoff weekend is unlikely, but don't rule out the possibility yet, because with this team, you never know.