Tim Tebow: Activating Backup QB Only Creates Additional Confusion for Jets

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 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

Just in case there was not enough controversy surrounding the New York Jets and their quarterback situation, head coach Rex Ryan did everything he could to create more.

Throughout the 49-19 drubbing at the hands of the New England Patriots, Tim Tebow was not-so-quietly sitting in uniform on the sidelines.

The popular quarterback did not play because he was injured. According to Rich Cimini of ESPN, Tebow broke two ribs in the team's Week 10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Tebow was obviously able to play through the injury against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, but by Thanksgiving it was apparent that he could not stay on the field. Cimini quotes Ryan's comments in the post-game press conference:

We knew he had sore ribs, but I don't think anybody knew the extent of it. Understand, players can play with cracked ribs. A lot will take (pain-killing) shots to numb it. I absolutely didn't want us to do that.

So this injury was severe enough that he should not play. However, it somehow was also not bad enough to deactivate him prior to the game.

This does not make much sense for a team trying to stay competitive. Starting quarterback Mark Sanchez was noticeably injured at times late in the game. If Tebow was healthy, would he have replaced Sanchez on the field?

Rex Ryan defended his decision to keep his quarterback on the active roster (via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News):

If we absolutely 100% had to have him, then I would have played him. I’m not a doctor but I’m a human. And that’s why I felt for him, but it was to the point where when the doctors are telling you he can play, the young man’s telling you he can play and knowing he was going to be in the role he was as the backup quarterback … that was why I had him active.

Therefore, Tebow was healthy enough to play in a true backup role, but not as a wildcat.

This says more about third-string quarterback Greg McElroy than it does about Tebow. He apparently is a worse quarterback than Tebow with two broken ribs—a player not even considered a quarterback by anonymous teammates a week ago (via Mehta).

Sanchez has remained the starter throughout the season, despite the fact that he is ranked 31st in the NFL with a 32.8 Total QBR, a rating system out of 100 based on everything a quarterback does to help the team win. Only Brandon Weeden and John Skelton are ranked lower among qualified players.

However, the head coach still believes that this player is so much better than Tebow that it is not worth even giving him a shot at the starting job, regardless of the 4-7 record. Yet, Tebow with two broken ribs is still better than McElroy.

All of this adds up to a bleak future for the New York Jets. Quarterback is arguably is the most important position in football, but the team is incredible insecure at that spot for the near future.

To make matters worse, the upcoming draft class does not have any marquee prospects like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. 

It seems like it is about time to clear the roster at quarterback and start finding new options to lead the team. Based on what we have seen so far this season, the Jets have nowhere to go but up.