It is well known to football fans and decent people everywhere that the loathsome jets have become a den of iniquity under the tutelage of Rex Ryan. Now added to this menagerie is the bright, shiny countenance of one Timothy Richard Tebow. That young Mr. Tebow must consort with this collection of recidivists, reprobates and sexual deviates is proof positive that God (or whoever is in charge around here) has a keen sense of irony, or at least a penchant for pulling the occasional practical joke just for the hell of it.
The calliope music that serves as a backdrop for the genius jet brain trust remains - as ever - turned up to full blast. You might recall the off-season’s manic-depressive machinations over the jets’ QB situation, revealing a massively dysfunctional management team with the attention span of a mosquito and the business acumen of a hubcap.
The hot pursuit of Peyton Manning quickly gave way to the contract extension to the profoundly mediocre Mark Sanchez. Then came the signing of Drew Stanton, who was promised that he alone would back up Sanchez. Seemingly seconds later, the jets acquired Tebow. Stanton, jilted as quickly as he had been wooed, was summarily dispatched to Indianapolis.
In the intervening months, Tebow has been proclaimed:
- faithful back-up QB
- Wildcat change of pace plaything for new jet offensive coordinator Tony Sparano
- competitor for the starting QB slot
- muscle-bound punt protector/special teams gladiator.
This all leaves the increasingly skittish Sanchez hanging indelicately in the wind. Were one to write the definitive biography of Sanchez, an apt title would be: Insecure, Immature, Incomplete and Intercepted
. His weird penchant for dating teenagers is testimony to his continued reluctance to relinquish adolescence (although his recent dalliance with Ms. Longoria may be evidence of newly emerging pathology which common decency would demand we not discuss here).
As it stands, Sanchez faces the prospect of being booed off the field virtually any time he throws an incomplete pass and publicly flogged by Fireman Ed any time he throws an interception. Thus far in his career, he has handled such adversity with the steely resolve of a poodle.
Tebow, the World’s Most Overhyped Athlete, is in so many respects the polar opposite of Sanchez. The Tebow led passing attack is far from aesthetically pleasing, a grab-bag of poor reads, hideously thrown passes, broken plays and madcap improvisation. On the other hand, he is fearless, relentlessly determined, a fiery competitor and a leader.
(I suppose an interesting subplot in this drama is how much energy the devout Tebow will expend attempting to reform his wayward teammates. Might we see a humble Rex, a contrite Bart Scott, a remotely civilized Santonio Holmes? Might Antonio Cromartie petition the league and the NFLPA to retroactively reinstate his virginity?)
Tebow will say and do all
the right things as a teammate and back-up to Sanchez. But know this – Tim Tebow the competitor is coming steal Mark Sanchez’ lunch money and
his job as starter.
The jets’ unwillingness to deal with their myriad offensive personnel problems has pretty much pushed Sanchez out to sea, alone on a barge. With that
offensive line and those
receivers, how does Sanchez even stand a chance? The helter-skelter but more resourceful Tebow is far better equipped to withstand the jets’ offensive shortcomings.
It is all but inevitable that Tebow takes over at some point during 2012.
This is make or break time for Mark Sanchez. Either he will grow up and rise to the challenge, playing at a level he has yet to display so far in his NFL career, or he will succumb to the pressure and be forced to watch the Tim Tebow show from the sidelines. Once there, Sanchez’ career with the jets will be effectively over and his viability as a competent NFL starter will have proven to be an illusion all along.