By Kristian Dyer
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The Jets are now in a lose-lose situation with their quarterbacks.
Given the events of this past week, where an unnamed Jets player called Tim Tebow “terrible” in a tabloid report, there is no good way for the situation to play out under center in this Sunday’s game in St. Louis. If they include Tebow in more packages and give him a greater role in the offense, then they risk undermining the already fragile confidence of starter Mark Sanchez, who has severely regressed this season. In the first year of a five-year contract extension signed this past March, that might be too big of a risk to take.
But to not give Tebow enough of the ball and enough chances to make a difference — and suddenly the Jets lose a nice offensive weapon (if used properly) — only serves to reinforce the comments made by the anonymous source, that Tebow is in fact “terrible.”
Yes, that is a lose-lose situation.
Of course this was all the Jets’ own doing, as they decided to make the mid-March trade with the Broncos to acquire Tebow. It was their decision to bring in a quarterback with starting ambitions to compete with Sanchez, and it was their decision to create a quarterback controversy even before the first snap of minicamp. It has also been their choice to stand with Sanchez and not increase Tebow’s role as the losses continue to mount. Remember, this team has lost four of their last five games.
Now the Jets have to decide how to play it this week.
The truth is that if they expand Tebow’s role — a move that their 3-6 record and the play of their current starter should dictate — then Sanchez could well check out of this situation.
After all, he was gift-wrapped the starting position in 2009 after being the team’s top pick. And despite mediocre play, he hasn’t faced a real challenge for that starting job yet. But this year has seen him regress to that rookie level, and make throws such as his four red zone interceptions that are costing the Jets points and wins.
Making matters worse, he’s nearly untradeable since he still has four years left on his extension and oodles — yes oodles — of guaranteed money remaining under that deal. What team would want Sanchez, with the No. 32 quarterbacking rating according to ESPN.com — as their starter at this point in his professional development?
So giving Tebow a larger role in the offense could damage the viability of Sanchez, a player that the Jets are likely tied to for the next four years.
But ignoring Tebow this weekend is equally as bad.
For Tebow brings the unknown every week and has shown glimpses of a more finished, more well-rounded player. He also can make the best out of broken plays, and his ability to play impromptu football is an asset for a team where blocking has been an issue. The fact that he can take off with his feet and do damage is only a bonus to what is his improving accuracy and mechanics.
It would also seem that after a week where he endured speculation about dissent in the Jets’ very own locker room concerning his abilities, the coaching staff might want to feature him more, if only to prove their faith in him. The problem is that if he succeeds, the chants for Tebow to start will only get louder from a fan base sour on Sanchez.
It is a situation that must be handled delicately and with great care. If not, the Jets proclaimed “franchise quarterback” could pack it in, or the man who should be their starting quarterback could be further marginalized.
No one wins in this little game.
Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and can be followed on Twitter here for news, insight, snarky comments and breaking Jets news.
Who should get the nod on Sunday — Sanchez or Tebow? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below…