Tim Tebow Must Remain on Jets' Bench to Benefit Team and Popular QB

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 11:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets warms up prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 11, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The recent anonymous comments concerning Tim Tebow from players on the New York Jets are despicable, but it does not mean they are incorrect.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported quotes from the team saying that "he's terrible," and that Mark Sanchez should remain a starter because "we don't have a choice."

This type of discussion should not leave a locker room, but this is nothing new with the Jets. The media keeps looking for controversial quotes, and the players never disappoint.

However, the sentiment from the quoted players is correct. This team will not do any better with Tebow at quarterback. 

Sanchez is currently last in the NFL among qualified players with a 52 percent completion rate. While this is bad, replacing him with Tebow would only be worse. He finished last in the league a year ago when he completed only 46.5 percent of his passes.

Although the backup has completed five of his six attempts this season, most have been on short passes to receivers on screens. It is obvious that the coaching staff does not trust him to throw the ball deep.

Tebow has not been too much better as a runner this season. In 27 rushing attempts, the quarterback has only managed 92 yards for an average of 3.4 per carry. This is much worse than his 5.4 career yards per carry entering the season.

He has also failed to get into the end zone, despite a number of attempts close to the goal line.

Those that support Tebow believe that statistics are not as important as wins, and the quarterback was instrumental in late comebacks last season for the Denver Broncos.

However, the game has to be close for that magic to occur. Denver's defense only allowed 17 points per game during its six-game winning streak in the middle of last season. 

The Jets are currently No. 24 in the league, allowing 25.3 points per game. They have allowed at least 28 points in each of the last three games. 

It is unlikely a switch to Tebow as the starting quarterback will make any change in the roster.

On the other side, it might be just as beneficial to the young player to remain on the bench for the time being.

The team's problems go deeper than the quarterback position. Besides the defense's inability to keep opponents off the board, the Jets cannot move the football on the ground and the receivers can't catch the ball.

Only five teams in the NFL are less efficient on the ground than the Jets at only 3.8 yards per carry. This means the passing game is getting little help when things go awry. 

In addition, the receivers on the roster are largely inexperienced and simply below par for an NFL team. Once Santonio Holmes went down for the year, not a single player remained with more than 1,100 yards in his career.

If Tebow came in as a full-time starter, the players on the field would make him look even worse than he is, and the aura and mystique of the player would be all gone. So would the value he could provide another team in the future.

The former Florida star should spend his time on the bench, playing only sparingly for the rest of the season. At that point, he needs to find a way to get to a team that does not discredit him anonymously in a newspaper.

Tebow is very headstrong, so he does not need to worry about the comments getting him down. He has already told the media how he will respond to this situation (via Matt Ehalt of ESPN):

It's never fun to hear criticism, but at the same time, it's something I've always used as motivation, and you try to get stronger from it. That's how I approach it. I always find the good and the positive from every situation. The positive from this is (I've) got to work a little bit harder and improve and build better relationships with your teammates.

He has the motivation to improve, and this year he has the time to do that away from the spotlight (well, as far away as the New York media can get). If he can find a new opportunity next season, he will be better because of it.

The only reason Rex Ryan and the Jets have to make a quarterback change is to please the naysayers. This would only lead to a lot of people yelling, "I told you so," on one side or another.

It will not make for a better football team in the long term, and it will not help Tebow have a successful career.

Both sides need to remain status quo and accept that the current situation is the best thing for everyone.