The New York Jets continue to bide their time with making a decision on Tim Tebow's status for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, but regardless, he will play no role in the game. What Tebow's rib injury will do is silence the calls for a change at quarterback, which is exactly what the Jets wanted all along.
When asked about Tebow's status, head coach Rex Ryan offered another ringing endorsement of his starter, Mark Sanchez. According to Jane McManus of ESPN, Ryan praised Sanchez's durability while referring to Tebow's role.
Based on Ryan's comments, Tebow looks to be out, insofar as he is the backup quarterback. Ryan noted, "With Tim, some of the things that he can do specifically in the Wildcat and as a personal protector, you're not asking him to go out and throw it 50 times a game. I think if that was the case, then I'm not sure he could do that."
Ryan's comments don't highlight anything not already known, but they do provide an insight into what the beleaguered Jets franchise is thinking regarding its quarterback situation.
At this point, Tebow is not the backup quarterback. Mark Sanchez is the starter, and behind him the situation is unclear—just what the Jets wanted.
Greg McElroy has been taking practice reps at backup, but the Jets do not want to keep three quarterbacks active in their game against the Cardinals. If Tebow suits up as the personal protector, McElroy is out and Jeremy Kerley becomes the emergency quarterback, according to McManus.
Sanchez might be durable, but does Ryan really think he's doing his team a service by making Jeremy Kerley an option at quarterback should Sanchez go down?
All Ryan is doing is going out of his way to belittle his backup situation. If he can convince the fans, and more importantly, Jets management, that his backup quarterback situation is a complete mess, Ryan will be given more freedom to stick with Sanchez at quarterback.
Ryan will continue to do just that, sticking with the 4-7 Sanchez. And that is really the only impact that Tebow's injury has on the Jets. It gives Sanchez a longer leash.
The Jets coaches might be misguided, but they aren't stupid. Where fans may think the pedestrian Greg McElroy would be an upgrade over Sanchez, ownership isn't sold on McElroy the way it is on Tebow. And the ownership certainly doesn't want to see Kerley at quarterback. Who does the quarterback throw to when the best receiver is playing quarterback?
Ultimately, whether Tebow plays or not doesn't matter. His injury guarantees that Tebow is not a viable option at quarterback, so whether he or McElroy suit up for today's game, Sanchez will have the longest leash he's had this season. The Jets can stick with their 4-7 quarterback, and that's what they've wanted all along.