Who doesn’t love a good quarterback controversy this time of year?
Intended or not, when the New York Jets traded for Tim Tebow, that’s precisely what they got. And while the team maintains incumbent Mark Sanchez will remain its starting quarterback, the coaching staff can’t stop gushing about the new guy behind him.
Thursday it was new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s turn. He spoke to reporters for the first time since his hire.
“Fundamentally, Tim has gotten much better,” Sparano said of the player he last coached in the Senior Bowl. “You could see the amount of time he spent at it... He’s completely different now than he was when he came out of college.”
Not surprisingly, Sparano also said he was “completely on board” with the decision to trade for Tebow. And let’s be honest — what offensive coordinator doesn’t want to have two capable QBs?
“I’m not concerned about that, honestly,” Sparano said. “At the end of this whole thing, it’s about trying to find good football players. Mark Sanchez is one hell of a player ... and Tim Tebow is a good football player, too.
“When you put both of those guys in a room, if they’re playing checkers, they’re going to compete and they’re going to go like heck to win. I think the more of these people you can get around your football team, the better off your team is going to be ... I don’t think there will be a problem managing it.”
That all sounds well and good, and it also directly contrasts the decision the Broncos made to cut Tebow loose when they signed Peyton Manning. Tebow could have been “a good football player” in Denver, too, but he also would have been huge distraction for a franchise banking on Manning’s ability to return to his elite level of play.
Rex Ryan initially said the Jets planned to use Tebow in the wildcat formation for as many as 20 players per game. Sparano was more discreet.
“Obviously, our first goal here is to turn Tim into ... uh, to continue to work with him and have him mature as a quarterback,” he said, pausing to stop himself from defining a specific role.
So far, Sparano seems pleased with just about every player at his disposal — which is hardly surprising since he came from a Miami team that averaged three fewer points per contest and had its own issues at quarterback. Still, the Jets need better play at the quarterback position to make another postseason run this fall and if Sanchez can’t get the job done, you have to figure Sparano won’t hesitate too long before giving Tebow a shot.