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Schwartz: Mark It Down, Sanchez Will Stay Jets’ Starting QB

Tim Tebow (L) and Mark Sanchez at OTAs. (credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Tim Tebow (L) and Mark Sanchez at OTAs. (credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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By Peter Schwartz
» More Columns

If there’s one thing about the Jets that we’ve come to understand over the years, it’s that they don’t always give you the complete truth.

Sometimes, they skirt around an issue. They’ve been known to backtrack on what they’ve said and later change their position. One might even speculate that the Jets are habitual liars!

But let me tell you that there’s one thing they’re not lying about: Mark Sanchez is the Jets’ starting quarterback. He will be the starter through the offseason, through training camp and in the season opener against the Bills on September 9 at MetLife Stadium.

And write this down…

In my opinion, barring an injury, Sanchez will be the Jets’ starting quarterback throughout the 2012 season. It’s just that Tim Tebow is not nearly as good a quarterback as Sanchez.

And he never will be.

Tebow is a great athlete and if he’s used correctly he’ll be a terrific weapon for the Jets. However, this notion that he will unseat Sanchez by Week 6 or 7 is utter nonsense. After watching Thursday’s OTA session at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, nothing changed that would leave me to believe Tebow is going to become this great NFL signal caller.

He was very inconsistent, something that he’s been very consistent at doing. During 7-on-7 drills, he was picked off by Bart Scott and Yeremiah Bell.

“It is definitely frustrating,” said Tebow. “But it is 7-on-7. Both of those plays, (it) was the first time I ran them. So I will learn from it and that is it. It won’t bother me again. When you make a bad play, just put it behind you and move on. I feel like I did. I went out there the next team period and felt like I did OK.”

Tebow is NOT an NFL starting quarterback. He may not be a good backup either.

But to be fair, he’s a great athlete and his abilities will help the Jets win games. But if you’re looking for someone to be a threat to Sanchez, it’s not going to be Tebow.

I’d have more confidence in the team’s seventh-round pick from 2011, Greg McElroy, who is back after missing all of last season with an injured thumb.

If you’re a Jets fan, don’t be afraid to go out and buy a Sanchez jersey. He’s not going anywhere. In fact, I thought — and remember these were just OTAs — that he was pretty sharp on Thursday, especially on that 75-yard touchdown pass to second-round pick Stephen Hill.

“I felt good,” said Sanchez. “Everybody’s demeanor today was competitive. It was good to see that vibe and talking to guys, guys were pushing and competing to the very last second with everything they have and then they pull up at the last second to protect the other guy on the other side of the ball. So that’s good. I think we have great competition going on offense and defense, it’s good for us.”

It’s also okay to buy a Tim Tebow jersey. You’ll help make it the highest selling jersey ever for a backup quarterback/wildcat specialist/special teamer.

GET WELL SOON WESTY!

Best wishes go out to Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff, who is recovering from surgery on his leg. During a recent trip to Indiana to visit his son, the graph in Westhoff’s left leg broke and had to be replaced. Westhoff has been through a lot. While he was coaching with the Dolphins, he was diagnosed with bone cancer back in 1988.

He is expected to return before the start of training camp. Until his return, assistant Ben Kotwica will run the special teams.

OTA ODDS AND ENDS

At Thursday’s OTA session, I was a little surprised how crisp the play was on both sides of the ball. Sure, there were plenty of mistakes, but for the first week of OTAs, a new offensive system being implemented, and a bunch of new players, I was impressed with what I saw.

So was Jets head coach Rex Ryan.

“The tempo is the first thing that jumps out at me,” said Ryan. “Here you put in a brand new system on offense, sometimes there are growing pains, just like there was when we put a brand new system in on defense, and you kind of slow things down. We’re not working at that pace. We’re working at a fast pace. I just love the temperament our guys are playing with. They’re flying around, enjoying it, and going against each other. You see a lot of smiles on faces, and guys are excited. Both sides of the ball are excited.”

Speaking of that new offense, it’s being run by new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. The former Dolphins head coach is a passionate and loud presence on the practice field. He was all business during Thursday’s OTA session as he gave Tebow the business after both interceptions. He also took his offense to task early in the session when they had some issues getting things going.

“Break the god darn huddle,” said Sparano. “It’s not that hard.”

It’s quite the change from former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, so it takes a little getting used to.

“He doesn’t smile too often,” said Sanchez. “If you catch one, you better save it. They’re few and far between. Sometimes it’s not a smile, it’s a smirk. You never know. But he’s tough on us, he’s fair, he’s an old school guy and he wants things done right and that’s exactly what we need. But he’s been great. He puts a lot of pressure on the coaches, he puts a lot of pressure on his players to do it right. That’s what we need. We need that extra emphasis on the little things.”

There was a special guest at Jets OTAs on Wednesday and Thursday. Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer was on hand where he had the chance to take a look and visit with Tim Tebow, his former quarterback at the University of Florida.

The Jets’ new backup signal caller was happy to see his former mentor.

“It was fun having him here,” said Tebow. “(I went) to dinner with him last night and (he was) at both practices to watch me and to also encourage me and hangout. To just be able to hang with someone that I am very close with – a father figure. And also coach Mickey (Marotti), my strength coach at Florida, is here as well. That was fun to see him. I know they had a good time talking to the Jets coaching staff.”

There was a lot going on in Florham Park this week and it will continue next week with round two of OTAs.

TEBOWING… IT’S IN THE GAME!

When the Madden 13 game comes out this year, it will certainly be realistic. EA Sports has always done a great job of making sports games true to life, but this year they are showing a special attention to detail. If you are playing a game as the Jets and Tim Tebow scores a touchdown, guess what happens?

That’s right, No. 15 will “Tebow”!



CBSSPORTS.com has a complete story about EA Sports’ announcement here…

I guess my son will have me running out to the video game store at midnight on whatever day the game comes out!

DO YOU HAVE A JET-SIZED APPETITE?

The annual Jets’ annual “Taste of the NFL” will take place on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at Cipriani in Manhattan. It’s an event that helps raise money to tackle hunger.

taste of the nfl 150x150 Schwartz: Mark It Down, Sanchez Will Stay Jets Starting QB

(credit: NFL)

The hosts of the event will be Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold. You will be able to meet current players, taste food from New York and New Jersey’s finest restaurants, sip wine, and take part in an auction for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

For more information, call 973-549-4654 or email taste@newyorkjets.com.

That’s all for now everyone. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @pschwartzwfan.

Your take on the Jets’ QB situation? Is Sanchez far and away the better player? Sound off in the comments below…