Tim Tebow: New York Jets Appear Ready to Change Quarterback Depth Chart

Adam WaksmanCorrespondent IIIOctober 19, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 09:  Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets sits on the bench during their season opener against the Buffalo Bills  at MetLife Stadium on September 9, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The New York Jets are apparently ready to finally change their quarterback situation. It appears imminent that Tim Tebow will no longer be the No. 2 quarterback. He will move...

to No. 3.

There is strong evidence that beginning this weekend Tebow will be downgraded to the No. 3 quarterback while simultaneously being promoted to an active running back.


The Evidence

According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, head coach Rex Ryan said of Tebow playing running back this weekend, "The answer is yes." Tebow will also presumably continue his season-long duties as punt protector and go-to fake punt playmaker.

It has been suggested by many that third-string quarterback Greg McElroy will now be promoted to second-string, and this appears to be the truth. With Tebow getting carries in the running game and playing on special teams, the Jets need a quarterback on the sidelines who is not likely to be in harm's way.

McElroy is also a better conventional quarterback than Tebow and was given the opportunity to start a game in the preseason instead of Tebow.

The final piece of evidence that makes the conclusion obvious is that the Jets have brought in Kevin O'Connell and are considering putting him back on the roster. This likely means that O'Connell will be signed as the third-string quarterback, and Tebow will either be fourth-string or simply off the quarterback depth chart all together.


The Reasoning

Rex Ryan has made it clear that he never considered Tebow a possible option at quarterback. He has made that clear since the day Tebow was traded for.

As Ryan said and has always said about Mark Sanchez being his starting quarterback, "Yeah, no question."

The real question is not whether Tebow should compete for the starting job. The question is how he can best serve the team in other ways. The Jets have demonstrated that he can serve a purpose, most notably on the punt unit. 

With a streak of successful fake punts, the Jets are changing not only how opponents approach punts but also how they approach third-down situations.

Now Rex hopes that Tebow can help the team further by being an active running back. With Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell both injured, the Jets have no proven backup for starter Shonn Greene.

The Jets can hope for production from undrafted rookie Jonathan Grimes in his first NFL action. However, having a power back in Tebow to complement the smaller-sized Grimes will help to take the load off of Greene.



Inconvenient Conclusions

There are a few conclusions that some in the media and many fans of Tebow will not be happy about.

Whatever little scrap of a quarterback controversy was left in New York is now completely gone. There is no real chance at all of Tebow being the quarterback for the Jets this season. Many fans will continue to view Tebow as an option. Nevertheless, Rex Ryan has made it abundantly clear that his mind is 100 percent made up.

Furthermore, McElroy is the next man up. Generally the Jets like to keep one inactive quarterback, and it looks more and more like that role is going to belong to O'Connell. McElroy will be on the active roster—either this weekend or soon after. Even if Sanchez gets inured, it will be McElroy who leads the offense, not Tebow.


This of course puts owner Woody Johnson's recent remarks about Tebow in a strange light:

Are we going to keep Tebow? Absolutely. He'll be with us for three years. I think he's going to be a real valuable asset in terms of helping us win games.

After being on the Jets roster for potentially three years, who knows what position Tebow will be playing? Running back, special teams, tight end, some combination?

One thing is for sure. We are entering the seventh weekend of the 2012 season, and Sanchez's hold on the starting job is stronger than ever.

The biggest quarterback competition that never really was may finally be over. It was won by the guy who is actually a quarterback.


Adam Waksman is a featured columnist for the Bleacher Report New York Jets community. Be sure to follow Adam on Twitter to receive updates right away.