Does Tim Tebow make the Jets offense more dangerous?

March 23, 2012

Tim Tebow’s trade to the New York Jets was completed late Tuesday night after contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos hit a snag. For the Jets, the arrival of Tebow puts their current quarterback, Mark Sanchez, in the spotlight. As Tracee Hamilton reported:

So the Denver Broncos have sent quarterback Tim Tebow to the New York Jets, which is akin to dropping the Christian among the lions. It would have been more merciful to send this particular Christian to those other Lions. Tebow in New York? There’s just something . . . off about that.

Tebow is already saying all the right things — he’s Tebowing, if you will — but I’m sure that somewhere deep down inside he’d like to send an Inedible Arrangement to Peyton Manning for putting this particular plan in motion. After listening to more hopefuls than “The Voice,” the quarterback without a team chose Denver, and John Elway, who never really bought into Tebowmania even after last season’s playoff win, saw his chance to jettison the fan favorite.

After the Jets’ promising 2011 season ended without a playoff berth, some teammates criticized starter Mark Sanchez, off the record, saying he was lazy. Other teammates rushed to his defense, but clearly there was a rift in the locker room. Then the team made eyes at Manning before giving Sanchez a $40 million extension. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum said Wednesday night that “Mark Sanchez is, has been and will be our starting quarterback.” Those ringing endorsements are often anything but.

So it would hardly be surprising if Sanchez is confused about the signing of Tebow, who certainly would be more of a threat for the job than would be former backup Drew Stanton, who was signed to an extension last week and is now asking for a trade or release.

The Jets intend to use Tebow’s more mobile game to complement Sanchez’s less mobile game. That’s an interesting plan even if it stops right there, because rotating quarterbacks is not the usual route to the Super Bowl. (Sure, the Dolphins made it with that whole “Wood-strock” thing, but I’m not seeing Te-Chez working out so well.)

But it won’t stop there. Some New York fans have been impatient with Sanchez’s development, and it might not take many mistakes by the incumbent before Jets fans begin the “Te-bow, Te-bow” chants. After all, Tebow was basically foisted on Denver management by angry Broncos fans, and he took them to the playoffs. Sanchez and angry Jets fans watched the playoffs on TV, all the way to the Super Bowl, when that other New York team won the Lombardi Trophy.

The Jets backup quarterback before the Tebow trade, Drew Stanton, quickly made it clear he would seek a trade. As Cindy Boren explained:

Something already doesn’t fit in the Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow-Drew Stanton quarterback triangle and Stanton says it’s him.

Signed less than a week ago by the New York Jets to back up Sanchez, Stanton would like to be traded or released after the team’s trade for Tebow on Wednesday night dropped him to the No. 3 spot. The New York Daily News reports that Stanton, a former backup in Detroit who signed a one-year, $1.25-million deal, would prefer to be released but would take a trade.

“When we signed Drew, obviously this was not contemplated in that decision,” Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum said Wednesday night. “When you get an unexpected opportunity to add a player like Tim, you have to take advantage of that.”

Tannenbaum said the team has not decided the fate of Stanton or Greg McElroy (the former No. 3 quarterback who grabbed headlines last year by blasting the Jets’ “corrupt mindset”). The Jets could, Tannenbaum said, carry four QBs.

Some see the addition of Tebow to the Jets offense as beneficial if Rex Ryan can balance the strengths of each quarterback in his arsenal. As AP reported:

Each time Tim Tebow steps on the field for the New York Jets, defenses will know what to expect.

Well, the unexpected, of course.

The versatile and elusive quarterback with the flair for comeback victories was acquired Wednesday from the Denver Broncos and will give the Jets’ offense a boost — for at least a few snaps a game.

He won’t start as he did in Denver, not with New York committed to Mark Sanchez. But Tebow gives the Jets the option to run the wildcat offense and provides an intriguing presence when games are on the line.

General manager Mike Tannenbaum says there’s no doubt Sanchez is still “our guy,” and coach Rex Ryan says “there will be no problem at all” having the quarterbacks co-exist.

More from Washington Post Sports:

Tebow traded

Tebow trade hits snag

Video: Jets fans on Tim Tebow trade: Just a publicity stunt

Tim Tebow and the Redskins: Five reasons it would have worked

Hard Hits: Why doesn’t Tebow get another chance?

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