The Sniping Begins

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

Let’s admit it.  When the Jets traded for Tim Tebow, we knew that the day would come when the Jets players would start anonymously sniping about the quarterback position … but little did we think that the bullets would be aimed at Tebow.

Everyone knew that Manish Mehta was the man to do the job of getting those quotes, and he didn’t disappoint with a series of anonymous quotes from players about the quarterback position — and Tim Tebow specifically.

Here’s a few from his MUST READ article in the Daily News…

The prevailing thought in the organization is that Tebow is nothing more than a gimmick.

“He’s terrible,” a defensive starter told the Daily News.

That player is right.  He is terrible.  We watched just a few practices this summer in Cortland, but it was clear that he is in fact a terrible quarterback.   He’s slow to release the ball, his motion is too loopy, his passes loft too high even on short passes and his passes are routinely snickered at and referred to among the press pool as “hospital balls.”

He is a bad quarterback, end of story.

Of course, the barbs directed at Tebow are also meant as a backhanded endorsement of Mark Sanchez … but it’s hard to say if players are just endorsing him solely because he is their best worst option … which I absolutely think is what most of the players think.

While many players were unwilling to go on the record, Matt Slauson did, to his eternal credit.

Left guard Matt Slauson, who has repeatedly supported Sanchez, made it clear that the fourth-year signal caller is the Jets’ best quarterback.

“It’s not even close,” Slauson said. “All the other quarterbacks know it. I have all the confidence in Mark. We don’t really have a choice.”

When asked about the team’s two other quarterbacks on the depth chart as possible alternatives — Tebow and Greg McElroy — Slauson clarified that the Jets really have only one other quarterback.

“We have Greg . . . and we have an athlete,” Slauson said.

We have to think that that is exactly how Rex Ryan thinks about the situation.  He has Mark Sanchez, then he has an athlete occupying his active game day roster spot that he can nominally use out of the Wildcat, then he has Greg McElroy, a player who mouthed off about the toxic environment of last year’s locker room.

With that in mind, many of your readers have asked the extremely logical question, why not give Greg McElroy a chance then if they’re going to move on from Sanchez?  I think there’s a simple and elegant logic in it, but if the Jets are chasing headlines in bringing a player like Tebow in, then they are just as afraid of the headlines if they pass him over in favor of a 7th rounder who is best known for speaking frankly about the team.

Even the non-answers about Tebow are — forgive me — damning.

But could the Jets win with Tebow as the No. 1 quarterback?

“Do I have to answer that question?” a veteran starter said, shaking his head.

The truth is that the Jets have been hoisted by their own very unstable and also highly explosive petard.  The Jets have drafted poorly on offense for years, extended Sanchez’s contract, courted Drew Stanton and told him he had a shot at playing and then days later probably made the exact same pitch to Tim Tebow.  Mike Tannenbaum is nothing if not a slave to tropes that work the first time and to imagine a world in which Tanny didn’t promise Tebow a legit shot at starting seems unthinkable.  The Jets used up whatever money they might have on a bad Tebow contract and then the rest of the money on the wrong free agents and had too many holes left to realistically fill by the draft and too many late picks to make a real impact on the 2012 team.

So here they sit.

Now, their starter is faltering badly and they have no legitimate order of succession if it does to that.  The Jets have put themselves into this position, now all that remains is to figure out who is going to lead them out of it, on and off the field.