Long after the ’this was dumb’ brigade malaise into ‘let’s see what happens’, long after the bi-polar Jets fan base who both love and hate the prospect of Tebow, as they both loved and hated the idea of adding Peyton Manning, take a step back and breathe our newest neophyte quarterback will take the field in the green and white and do so to a rapturous welcome.
With Tebow in the fold , we hear, the pressure on Mark Sanchez will be intolerable, Sanchez will crumble. With Tebow in the sub package Sanchez will suffer from having his rhythm broken. With Tebow in the locker room Sanchez will be unable to take control of and lead the team. With Tebow waiting in the wings Sanchez will find his days as the starting quarterback are numbered. Mark Sanchez, who has never risen higher than when the pressure has been at its greatest, faces a make or break season in any event and must rebound from a disappointing finish to 2011 to solidify his position as the starting quarterback on the Jets. The truth is that the knives will be out for Sanchez as soon as he looks shaky whether Tebow is on the team or not. The media will stir up a frenzy around Sanchez and the team whether Tebow is here or not. Number fifteen will simply be the newest blunt object used to beat the team and the quarterback, in the hope they will crack.
The bottom line is simple – if Sanchez cracks under the pressure of Tebow’s presence then Sanchez was never going to work out as the quarterback of the Jets. Finding that out now would be a positive for the organisation in the long run, but it simply will not happen. Mark Sanchez will show in 2012 that he is the once and future quarterback of the New York Jets, the quarterback we need, if not, perhaps, the one we deserve.
With Sanchez thriving thoughts can turn to the integration of Tim Tebow as an additional threat in our offensive sets. With Sanchez under center the intention is to return to a ground-and-pound themed system, with emphasis on Tony Sparano’s patented ‘chunk plays’, whether through vertical passing or yards after contact. Introducing Tebow to that equation allows the offense to be multiple and target different aspects of an opponent’s defense. With an offensive line who are used to running plays from unorthodox formations and Shonn Greene available to wear down a defensive front, Tebow’s introduction presents a range of opportunities for the team. Teams that could sell out against the run and rely on single coverage deep will find that they are not able to commit to that approach with Sanchez directing the base offense down the field. Teams that dare the Jets to run will find that not only can Tebow and Greene run, but Joe McKnight can too, not to mention Mark Sanchez in short yardage situations. Sanchez has been one of the league’s leading rushing touchdown scorers from the quarterback position during his time in the league.
In the passing game Chaz Schilens brings the deep threat that both Tebow and Sanchez can utilise if the defense over-commits to the run, with Jeremy Kerley, Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes in a position to capitalise on the space created in the intermediate range. Unlike last year when there was no running game to keep opponents honest, Sanchez should find renewed success in the play action game and if Tebow can move the ball on the ground he will find opportunities opening up in the passing game, though unlike last year there will be no pressure on him to pass particularly efficiently.
This co-operative approach will allow both men to deliver on the field at a high level. There will be distractions, there will be bad moments, but ultimately if the team is winning and staying successful then the players will buy in and the circus will die down as attention turns to playoff seedings, division titles and, hopefully, playoff victories.
The media circus around the Jets will always exist when the team is not successful. Taking steps to win games is of vital importance to all Jets fans and in adding Tim Tebow, Mike Tannenbaum and the Front Office have done just that.