By Jeff Capellini, WFAN.com
NEW YORK (WFAN) — If you are Tim Tebow, the man who practices the power of positive thinking, the guy who finds the good in most everything when the rest of us see nothing but stupidity, the ultimate team player who’d bite his tongue in the face of a firing squad, what exactly are you thinking about right now?
I have to ask that question, because while the Jets fan is euphoric now that the Mark Sanchez era appears to be over, one has to wonder how Tebow fits into this franchise’s future equation, if at all.
This might not be the fairest analogy and this doesn’t imply that Tebow is in any way weak minded or has a damaged heart, but in the Jets’ world of the surreal, right now he’s Fredo Corleone.
Yup, he was passed over.
Rex Ryan probably never wanted this for Greg McElroy, but Sanchez pushed his hand with his actions during Sunday’s nearly forgettable 7-6 win over Arizona and ended up on the causeway. A lot of people will say Ryan should have pulled the plug on Sanchez literally months ago, but now that he’s out the majority of fans will have short memories. In the end, those fans will forgive Rex for taking his sweet time coming to the final conclusion they came to ages ago, at least in the interim.
But more on that in a bit.
Despite the largely overwhelming support for Ryan’s move, there remains a faction of fans, a very large faction, mind you, that won’t forgive Rex, or the Jets, for Sunday’s decision.
Tebow is Fredo because he was the rightful heir and got pushed aside when the going got tough.
And now the tough’s gotta get going.
I told the world months ago Tebow would never be the starting quarterback here. I told the masses weeks ago that if Tebow has half a brain, which I’m sure he does, he should find a way to pressure the Jets for a trade as far away from the Tri-State Area as humanly possible this offseason. My opinion has not changed. Barring Tebow unzipping himself and stepping out as the player that fits the prototypical description of an NFL quarterback, he’ll never play meaningful snaps here.
Tebow was inactive for Sunday’s “win” due to his lingering rib injury. Could he have played? I mean, could he have gotten his three snaps designed to make him try to run into Brandon Moore’s backside, or to make sure punter Robert Malone didn’t get mauled? If you ask Tebow, probably. If you ask the Jets to tell you the truth, well, let’s not go there because truth and the Jets rarely collide in the same sentence.
McElroy is the man now, even if Rex has implied he’ll wait until Wednesday before naming his starter for next weekend’s game at the lowly Jaguars. And that in itself is ironic because Jacksonville isn’t all that far away from Gainesville, home of the University of Florida, and the place where Tebow had arguably one of the greatest careers in college football history.
The guy is an absolute legend down there. Jacksonville was the place he should have chosen, if indeed he was given that option when both the Jaguars and Jets told the Denver Broncos they had interest. Next Sunday could have been a coronation for Tebow, a way to show his legions of fans in the South that, yes, he did defy the odds and made it in the unforgiving madhouse that is New York.
Well, this isn’t Hollywood.
Barring a miracle, Tebow is going to be sitting on the sideline next Sunday completely anonymous, which is a far cry from what the Jets told him he’d be this season.
If indeed Tebow is the “backup” quarterback, you know, the guy next in line, as Ryan and the Jets’ front office have stated repeatedly, then it stands to reason the old sports adage should shine through here, the one that says a player shouldn’t lose his position due to injury. Of course that’s naive thinking in today’s day and age, but when it comes to the Jets it just goes to show and prove once more that they lied to Tebow and to you. And while a large percentage of you look at it more as a harmless white lie because you don’t like Tebow or believe in his abilities, the Jets still lied. And it begs the question: what else are they lying about?
Tebow not only was never going to be the starter for the Jets, and that includes a truly fair quarterback competition in training camp, he was also never, ever going to be the backup for the Jets, that is if and when the Jets have three healthy quarterbacks.
I promise you this: if McElroy gets injured next weekend, Sanchez will be the first in line off the bench.
And when this nightmare of a season finally comes to an end, which should happen in exactly four weeks, barring McElroy playing completely out of his mind, Sanchez will go into the offseason as the odds-on favorite to claim the starting job next season. The Jets simply have too much money invested in him and will likely feed you the old song and dance that they can coach anyone, meaning come hell or high water they will coach Sanchez into becoming the player they think he can be.
I’d take them at their word, but, you know …
Let’s not get crazy with this whole McElroy experiment. Yes, the move needed to be made, but the guy threw for all of 29 yards on Sunday. The Jets’ offensive line, running backs and defense won that game. McElroy threw a 1-yard pass to a tight end who might as well have been standing in the middle of the MetLife parking lot on a Tuesday.
From what we’ve seen, we know this about McElroy: He’s very intelligent; he’s adept at the ball fake; he’s smart with his throws, as in putting them in spots where only his receivers can get them.
Right now, he’s basically Chad Pennington with a slightly stronger arm.
And as we know from years of witnessing it ourselves, as great a guy as Pennington was, the Jets weren’t winning anything substantial with him. McElroy will have a month to show he can do more than manage the clock and throw for 115 yards without turning the ball over. The Jets, it seems, have always settled for this kind of quarterback under Ryan, and that in itself should tell you all you need to know. While the other 31 teams try to air things out in this pass-happy league, the Jets seem content on having the most important position on the field be the least impactful.
So let’s chill on McElroy a little until we see something that tells us he can put points on the board on a consistent basis.
By Wednesday Rex will name the seventh-round selection out of Alabama the new starting quarterback. A lot of fans will be expecting a new era of Jets football. Sanchez will be waiting in the wings, because he, in the Jets’ eyes remains their best option.
Tebow will be in hot pursuit of a time machine, while wishing to his God he just had a little more guidance back at the time the worst decision of his life was made. All the marketability in the world matters little with this franchise.
A man isn’t as good as his word. When it comes to the Jets, get everything in writing.
Or you’ll end up cast out, left fishing for your future.
Read more columns by Jeff Capellini and follow him on Twitter at @GreenLanternJet
Do you think Tebow was wronged here? Did the Jets lie to him? Or is what he has experienced with this franchise just the price of doing business in the NFL? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …