Tim Tebow won’t go away.
No matter what the New York Jets’ front office says in front of a microphone, the second-string quarterback will remain a threat to steal the starting job until Mark Sanchez shows the consistency of a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback. Key word: consistency.
Sanchez exploded in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, completing over 70 percent of his passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns. On Sunday vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, Eva Longoria’s new man completed just 10 of 27 passes (a rate which Tony Parker likely got a kick out of) for 138 yards and one score. And that was against a Troy Polamalu- and James Harrison-less defense.
The competition, Tebow, received less playing time than last week—and after Sanchez’s previous performance, that’s how it should’ve been—but he gained 22 yards on his lone carry.
To watch the run, fast forward the video to 1:23.
Buffalo shut down Tebow and allowed Sanchez to shine. And just when it looked like there was no QB competition after all, Pittsburgh smothered Sanchez’s success and surrendered the Jets’ third-longest play from scrimmage (the longest by a player not named Jeremy Kerley) to Tebow.
Sanchez should bounce back against the Miami Dolphins, who allowed Carson Palmer to pass for 373 yards, next Sunday. But what if he doesn’t? He’ll then go toe to toe with two of the NFL’s best defenses in the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans in back-to-back weeks.
Best-case scenario: Sanchez dominates the Dolphins and isn’t a complete liability vs. the 49ers and Texans. Worst-case scenario: his struggles continue in Miami before San Francisco and Houston pummels him.
And what if that happens? If the Jets lose at least two out of their next three games—an extremely likely scenario—and Sanchez sucks, how long before fans begin to cry for Tebow to save their collapsing club?
Sanchez is the more talented passer. But if he plans on being trusted as the team’s best quarterback, he had better prove this Sunday’s performance was a fluke, or doubts about his ability will ignite even further and fuel the Tebow-vs.-Sanchez fire.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.