New York Jets: 3 Reasons Tim Tebow Will Push Mark Sanchez for More Snaps
Let me be clear about one thing off the bat: I am not advocating for Tebow as the starting quarterback of the Jets.
In fact, I believe that barring an injury, Sanchez should remain the starter under all circumstances. The bottom line, however, is that Tebow's success in recent weeks, paired with Sanchez's failure to take the next step, should result in more opportunities for Tebow under center.
There seems to be a general consensus around the league that Tim Tebow will never be an effective passer in the NFL. Even those fans who believe that Tebow should be starting over Sanchez tend to cite Tebow's leadership and ability to spark the team as their rationale.
Surprisingly, however, Tebow's few throws this year have not looked bad at all.
Could he do it on a regular basis?
But could he do it more than he has thus far?
Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez has failed to show any real improvement in his game. His performances have fluctuated between pretty good, pretty bad and downright awful. That is not what the Jets were hoping for when they signed the young quarterback to an extension this offseason.
Sanchez has, by no means, played poorly enough to lose his job as the starter. He has, however, shown that he simply cannot provide the same spark to this offense that Tim Tebow can.
And it all starts with that simple fact...
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Fans of the New York Jets do not have any legitimate reasons to make Mark Sanchez into a villain.
In his first two seasons with the team, he took the Jets to two consecutive AFC Championship games. Don't tell me the defense was solely responsible; take a look at Mark Sanchez's playoff numbers.
In the last season and a half, however, Sanchez has appeared to be going backwards.
Apologists will say that he has a weak offensive line and no weapons. That may be true, but at some point, the quarterback has to take some responsibility for his play.
I'm not just talking about during postgame speeches, either.
Sanchez will never be one to make excuses for himself, and something must be said for that. At the same time though, if he ever wants to be considered a great quarterback in the NFL, he'll have to overcome the challenging situation that his own team has put him in.
So far, he has not been able to do that.
After the impressive team effort against Buffalo in Week 1, Sanchez failed to complete more than 50 percent of his passes in four consecutive weeks.
Furthermore, he has failed to throw for more than 150 yards three times this year.
That is equally as bad.
Last week, the Jets relied on the run, finally living up to their "ground-and-pound" mentality. Mark Sanchez finished with only 82 passing yards, but he did throw two very impressive touchdown passes.
But when the Jets have played defenses that stop the run, Sanchez has shown that he's not up to the task of winning games with his arm.
Despite his struggles to produce, it is important to note that Sanchez hasn't blown any games for the Jets. The only time his negative play may have directly affected the outcome of a game was his intercepted screen pass at the end of the first half against Houston.
That may have resulted in a 10-point swing—enough to change the outcome.
Otherwise, Sanchez hasn't personally lost any games for the team. He just hasn't been able to provide any real sparks.
You know who has...
Tim Tebow has not had as many opportunities as most believed he would when he came to the Jets last offseason.
When he has been on the field with the ball in his hands, he has made the most of his opportunities.
In the first three weeks of the season, Tebow didn't throw the ball once. He ran the ball seven times in those first three games and averaged about five and a half yards per carry. A 22 yard scramble against Pittsburgh brought that average up, but it appears now that his somewhat ineffective running was really build-up for bigger things.
In the past three games, Tebow has passed the ball three times.
He threw it once in the Jets' blowout loss to the 49ers; the pass went for nine yards before Dedrick Epps fumbled the ball after blowing out his knee. Against Houston, Tebow let off a beautiful pass, but wide receiver Jason Hill dropped the perfectly thrown ball.
Finally, last week against the Colts, Tebow completed a 23 yard pass on a fake punt.
On all three passes, the defense was clearly surprised when Tebow looked to throw. The more snaps Tebow gets, the defense will look less surprised when he drops back.
However, Tebow's passes have looked good enough to this point to give him some more shots. That is especially true when one considers that Sanchez isn't throwing the ball like Joe Montana to begin with.
Rex Ryan's Ego
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Tim Tebow will get more snaps at quarterback.
The performance on the field is only half of the reason why. The other half comes down to who's in charge of the New York Jets.
Over the past three and a half years, two things have become abundantly clear of head coach Rex Ryan: He loves to be loved and he loves to say, "I told you so."
These two facets of Ryan's personality tend to lead to poor decision making.
They lead to bold moves that backfire more often than not.
Sometimes, however, Rex will pull off a move that works. You don't get to two consecutive AFC Championships without being bold.
After the loss to San Francisco, the calls for Sanchez's benching reached a near fever pitch. After two weeks of solid team efforts, those cries have subsided. Rest assured, if the Jets look bad against New England, they will come right back.
If they lose again the following week to Miami at home, they'll be near post-San Francisco levels.
Rex is smart enough to know that benching Sanchez would be disastrous. Not only is Tebow no more suited to lead the Jets to glory than is Sanchez, but to bench Sanchez would be to effectively end his career in New York.
What Rex would do is give Tebow more opportunities under center. Forget about disrupting Sanchez's rhythm, because Sanchez hasn't been in a rhythm since the first week of the season.
Coach Ryan has said all along that he believes Tim Tebow is a good quarterback.
He would love to have Tebow go out and throw the ball a few more times a game for the opportunity to say, "I told you so."