Despite the 200 media members who turned out for his introductory press conference, Tim Tebow is still the Jets backup quarterback according to head coach Rex Ryan and two of his newest teammates.
The Jets returned to their training facility on Monday for the first day of involuntary workouts and the focus was pinned on the arrival of Tebow to the team and the impact that might be felt on incumbent starter Mark Sanchez. A quarterback controversy is being played up in the headlines despite the Jets’ assurance that he is not here to supplant Sanchez.
Sanchez, set to enter his fourth season with the Jets, signed a five-year extension with the team just two weeks before the Tebow trade was made.
“Of course Mark’s the starter, there’s no question about it,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “That’s how we look at it. But we know Tim can help us to; there’s no doubt. He’s an outstanding football player.”
Last year, during an 8-8 season, Sanchez was plagued with inconsistencies and the offense’s anemic showing helped create a divide locker room filled with finger-pointing and plenty of gripes. At the center of that situation was wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who publicly let his emotions known that he wasn’t pleased with the direction of the offense. With the Jets saying they will implement the Wildcat more to utilize Tebow’s unique skillset, Holmes and the wide receivers might have more reason to be disgruntled as passes might be at a premium.
Tebow completed just 46.5 percent of his passes last year, while Sanchez completed 56.7 percent. Despite this low completion percentage, Holmes didn’t indicate any dismay that the Jets made the trade. He said he was surprised that the Broncos traded a former first-round pick who had just completed his second year in the league.
“For my take, bringing him on board, I think he’s going to do some great things for our team this year,” Holmes said.
“He’s going to be a guy that we can depend when situations come about and when he gets on the field he’s going to prove that he’s a playmaker and willing to help the team win at any means.”
Center Nick Mangold, who has taken to Twitter during the offseason to defend Sanchez, made it clear that Tebow can add a lot to the Jets as a “backup” quarterback.
Twice in his March 26 conference call with the media, Sanchez referred to his new backup as a “wrinkle.”
When asked if Tebow creates a controversy in the locker room, Mangold didn’t see it that way, even if their new backup quarterback comes with a huge national following.
“I don’t think so. Just as any other backup quarterback comes in it wouldn’t change my perception of Mark and his abilities and what he means to this team,”Mangold said. “Just with Tim you get a different set of skills that you can use in a non-traditional backup quarterback role. I don’t think it affects anything with Mark. I think Mark’s going to be the same player. He’s going to continue to work his butt off.”
“Tim’s going to add a new dynamic to our offense that should spice things up a little bit.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.