New York Jets Must Make a Choice Between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow

Bob Cunningham@BCunningham215Senior Analyst ISeptember 4, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 10: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets looks at teammate Mark Sanchez #6 on the sideline against the Cincinnati Bengals during a preseason NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 10, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

There's an old NFL adage regarding quarterbacks: if you have two, you have none.

As of now, the New York Jets find themselves in that predicament. But instead of addressing what is an obvious issue, head coach Rex Ryan is making the head-scratching decision to embrace the two-quarterback system.

Ryan seems to believe that he can seamlessly transition from Mark Sanchez to Tim Tebow and back again depending on the situation, but even recent history would suggest that's not going to work.

Back in 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles made the stunning decision to sign Michael Vick after a two-year stint in federal prison. Vick was clearly not ready to be a full-time player and, even if he was, was certainly not going to overtake starting quarterback Donovan McNabb.

But head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, realizing the talent Vick still possessed, played around with the idea of getting him on the field in some Wildcat situations.

Unfortunately, that didn't sit well with McNabb, who said the back and forth disrupted the rhythm of the offense.

And if the rotation would bother an established veteran like McNabb, what's it going to do to Sanchez?

Sanchez is going to start pressing more than he does already. He can play the golden boy and the team guy right now and tell everyone he isn't bothered by the thought of losing reps to Tebow, but any guy with the smallest competitive spirit will do all he can to stay on the field.

If Sanchez knows Tebow will get to see the field on third down, odds are good Sanchez is going to press for that 10-yard pattern on 2nd and 9 rather than doing the smart thing and taking the guaranteed underneath pattern to set up a short third down.

If the Jets are on the opposing team's 21-yard line, who doesn't think Sanchez is going to force the ball into the endzone so Tebow is never needed?

That pressing is going to lead to a ton of mistakes from Sanchez and a lot of bad situations for the Jets offense.

Likewise, Tebow is going to feel pressured to make every play he can with limited chances. Instead of taking the check-down on third and short, he might try the long-ball and hope for the best. Instead of being happy with getting the first down with his feet, we could see him fight for more yards and put the ball on the turf in a few key spots.

The point?

This two-quarterback system having any real success is a pipe dream. I'm an outspoken supporter and fan of Ryan, but he's really playing with fire here. His bravado could prevent him from admitting when he gets burnt, and could turn a small blister into something fully fatal for the Jets' 2012 season.

The solution?

Pick one, Rex. My gut feeling is Rex wants nothing more than to simply start Tebow and move on from the Sanchez experiment, but feels as though he can oversee the exception to the old adage mentioned earlier.

Unfortunately, that will not be the issue. There is going to come a point where one guy clearly outplays the other and then Ryan and the Jets will be forced to deal with mounting pressure to pick one guy coming not only from the fans and media, but from inside the locker room.

Tebow better fits Ryan's personality. Sanchez is simply too shaky and untrustworthy to ride him any longer. Tebow, while certainly a product as far as becoming a complete quarterback goes, has proved he will win games in any way possible and matches the fire of Ryan.

I'm also a believer in Tebow. If a coaching staff will grab him, make him their guy, and work with him to undo years of learned bad habits, he could be broken down and turned into a quarterback while keeping that running ability, incredible desire to win and clutch factor.

Combining some real technical football ability with those intangibles and they could truly have something special.

But either way, regardless if it's Sanchez or Tebow, the Jets will be better off picking one quarterback and putting all their efforts into making that guy successful.

Without that level of commitment to one of those guys, 2012 could be a very long season for the Jets.