Has anything been written about Tim Tebow in the last few days? Even I, one of the biggest Jet fans around, has grown a little tired of Tebow-mania (ESPN.com alone had TWELVE Tebow posts today). That said, man is this guy likeable. I (sadly) watched much of today’s press conference, and all I could think was, “I really like this guy.” (even my Dad, the world’s biggest Jets doubter, likes him) He’s humble, self-aware and maybe even more dreamy than Tom Brady. And just for a few moments, I thought to myself….wow, this really could work.
Come here often, Tim?
But then reality set in and I thought – what if Mark Sanchez gets hurt? It’s the question that nobody is asking. Everyone has been so focused on Tebow supplanting Sanchez as the starter or how they will use Tebow as a complement, but what we should be asking is: What the heck happens if the Sanchise goes down? Last year, Denver Coach John Fox said that they would be “screwed” if Tebow were forced to run a “pro” style offense. If Sanchez gets hurt, that is exactly the predicament that the Jets would find themselves in. No time to install a Tebow-friendly offense. They will have an option-style QB running a pro-style offense. In other words: EPIC FAILURE.
This is my biggest fear – not how Sanchez will co-exist, or how the rest of the team will react or how they will use Tebow, but rather what happens if they HAVE to use Tebow?
The Jets better hope that Tebow saves a few prayers for Mark Sanchez.
Meet Your New "Back-up" QB
So around 4:30pm UK time my computer screen lit up. WIthin a span of about 10 minutes, I received 6 separate gmail chats and 8 separate emails. And no, this had nothing to do with Jeremy Lin, or Romney romping in Illinois, or anything of any real importance. This was all due to Tebow. The man who needs no first name – he’s kind of like Pele, or Prince or Beyonce. Okay, maybe not Beyonce. I even had wives of friends emailing me about Tebow. I was blown away by the near instant reaction and the incredibly polarizing effect that this guy has on even the most casual of sports fan. I can’t remember anyone else who has had the same effect. Wild.
Upon first look, this deal makes little sense. You’ve just handed your franchise quarterback a 3 year extension and signed a capable no. 2 (grand total of emails I received when they signed Drew Stanton = 0). You’ve just put out one QB controversy and publicly affirmed that Sanchez is your man. You’ve approached the offseason very conservatively, preferring to rely on the draft rather than splashy free agents (Hello New York Giants). But now this. Tebow. Teeeeeeeebbboooooowwwwww.
If you look at it from a purely football point of view, it’s not a terrible move. Tebow adds a dynamic dimension to an offense that was lackluster. He’s not coming to New York to replace Sanchez – Rex & Tannenbaum are not that stupid (despite current opinion) – but rather to complement him. They just hired the Offensive Coordinator who brought the wildcat to the NFL. He’s a guy who can handle media scrutiny to the nth degree (once again, Joe Namath is the prophet we turn to for an opinion. Seriously? No disrespect, but I liked him a lot better when he was drunk and not shooting his mouth off on all things Jets. Go away Joe. Your services are no longer needed). In many ways, the Jets are built for Tebow. ESPN has had some great coverage of this story, both pro and con.
But did they really need him? Does he really add that much, especially for the price of 2 draft picks and valuable salary cap space? Well, we may never know. The deal is now being held up due to salary complications (how could the Jets not know this before announcing the deal? Someone should lose their job over that). And even if the deal goes through, some of have already predicted that the Jets will eventually package him in another trade. I don’t see that happening, but you never know with Gang Green. And in regards to Sanchez, let’s give this guy some credit – he can handle just about anything. The media loves making him out to be this sheltered, fragile bystander who can’t fend for himself. He will be fine, people. He’s just earned himself another $20MM. He’s been on the cover of GQ for god sake. I think he can deal with this.
Did you really think the Jets would go quietly in this offseason? Not a chance.
God Bless Teberica.
So clearly Mike Tannenbaum reads my blog. How else do you explain Sanchez’s extension just hours after my post? Whatever the reason, I applaud the decision.
A lot has been written on this extension – the amount, the timing, the message it sends, etc. But if you really look into it, it was an incredibly savvy move. The Jets gave themselves major upside with minimal downside. By extending Sanchez now, they freed up significant cap room in 2012, allowing them to go out and sign some of the players that will be needed to make Sanchez successful (i.e. a downfield threat, a right tackle and another quality RB). Yes, they are committed to him in 2013, so if he totally fails in 2012, they will be screwed for a year. But, if he progresses like so many other 4th year QBs have (Elway, the Mannings, even Namath), then they will have one of the best QB bargains in the NFL. I thought the NY Daily News had the most unbiased and informed analysis.
By all accounts, Sanchez is a model teammate. He works hard, stays out of trouble, and supports the coaching staff. He’s admired by those players that really matter (LT, Mangold, Brick, Revis and Pouha have all been big supporters) and is built to handle the New York media hype. This extension sends a message to the team that they are committed to him and will continue to build around him.
And then today, the Jets have followed up by re-signing the one guy they couldn’t lose, Sione Pouha. He’s one of the best run stoppers in the league and one of the unheralded leaders in the locker room. Another great message to send to the team on the eve of free agency.
So…great work Jets. Now the real fun begins. Free Agency starts in t minus 22 hours with a lot of roster holes to fill before the draft. In some ways, this might be the most challenging and important off-seasons of Tannenbaum’s career. Good luck.
It’s been awhile since I felt the need to comment on anything Jets. Since my last post, the Giants won the Super Bowl, Jeremy Lin took over Manhattan, pitchers and catchers reported, and Peyton Manning became the most coveted free agent in NFL history.
Of course, the Jets are interested. Mike Tannenbaum and company can’t help themselves. And the press is loving this story – Manning to the Jets? The older brother comes to New York to prove that he’s better than his younger brother. To save the other New York franchise. To secure his fate as the greatest QB in NFL history. It’s all there.
But here’s hoping it doesn’t happen. A departure from Sanchez would prove that this organization has no idea what it’s doing. No program, no consistency, no faith. They’ve invested a lot in Sanchez – a QB who is 11 years younger, and by the way, has more playoff victories at this point in this career than Peyton (and Eli) did at the same point. Now, nobody is comparing Sanchez to either Manning, but give the guy a chance.
A lot has been written on the topic this week. ESPN has two great stories from Ian O’Connor and Rich Cimini who think the Jets are sending Sanchez a mixed message. While I don’t necessarily agree with Cimini’s analysis of the fallout, I agree with the authors on one thing – Don’t get Manning. Build around your QB. Give him the protections, weapons, system and consistency he needs to be great. Have faith.
Just another boring Jets offseason…