2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Column: If not now, when is 'Tebow Time?'

    2012-11-15 19:26

(Eds: Corrects Keller's first name to Dustin in seventh paragraph. With AP Photos.)
By JIM LITKE
AP Sports Columnist

Jets coach Rex Ryan is so competitive that he'd play Satan at quarterback if he was convinced the move would help his team win.

But for some reason, he's drawn the line at Tim Tebow.

On any other team, with any other backup waiting in the wings, there would be no quarterback controversy. The Jets are 3-6 coming off a bye week and in last place in the AFC East. They've scored a total of 16 points in their last two games, both losses, and the offense is ranked 30th out of 32 NFL teams. They can't run the ball effectively, and they're throwing it even worse. Only two quarterbacks who play regularly are rated lower than starter Mark Sanchez.

``We never brought him in to be the starting quarterback,'' Ryan said about Tebow for what seemed like the thousandth time this week. ``We never brought him in to be the starting quarterback. We already had a starting quarterback in Mark Sanchez. I thought I was clear on that from the day we brought Tim in here.''

But one thing Ryan has never clearly explained is why Tebow hasn't played more than seven or eight snaps a game, on average, even as the Jets kept sliding farther down a slippery slope.

On the one hand, it's easy to make the case that Sanchez hasn't had a fair shot. The personnel around him has changed with almost dizzying speed since his arrival in 2009 and revolving door is turning as fast as ever. His best receiver, Santonio Holmes, was lost to injury in the fourth game of the season, and his No. 2 target, tight end Dustin Keller, has been in and out of lineup with injuries for much of that time as well. Running back Shonn Greene has exactly one 100-yard rushing performance, working behind a patchwork quilt of an offensive line.

That said, the playoffs are a pipe dream and there's only so much left for the Jets to lose. If ever there was a time for Plan B, this is it. Yet Tebow sits, unable to answer the question why he isn't getting a shot, the same one that Ryan somehow manages to keep ducking. Maybe that's why a few teammates stepped into the void and said - anonymously - what Ryan is apparently thinking. A report in the Daily News on Wednesday said that more than a dozen players and members of the Jets' organization believe there's no chance Tebow could overtake Sanchez as the starter, one going so far as to say of Tebow: ``He's terrible.''

Ryan publicly ripped those unidentified detractors as ``cowardly.'' He keeps saying all the chaos and criticism that's resulted from his decision will make the Jets stronger, without explaining how. That burden has fallen, by default, to Tebow.

``I've had criticism somewhat my whole life playing football,'' Tebow said. ``You got to do your best at handling it. On one side, you try to make it motivate you. But at the same time, it always has somewhat of an effect on you. You're human. It's not always fun having people saying negative things about you, but you try to be stronger from it. It always has made me stronger in the past and it will continue to make me stronger.''

That doesn't quite answer the question, either, but it does tell us plenty about Tebow. He has said and done all the right things from the day he showed up, which is more than you can say about most of the rest of the people in the organization. If you were drawing up a list of people to shoulder the blame, you could start at the top with owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum for failing to bulk up the roster, move down to Ryan and the rest of the coaching staff for failing to develop most of the talent they've been handed, then finally down to the field, where the guys who actually the games have been underwhelming.

The strange thing about New York's Tebow obsession is now, a good eight months after it began, there's plenty of justification. But answers about why the Jets signed him, coming off an 11-5 season with a backup in place, still aren't forthcoming. It's hard to imagine that Sanchez's psyche is so fragile that he couldn't survive a turn on the bench. Or else Tebow hasn't grasped the Jets' schemes and been as unimpressive in practices as some of his anonymous critics told the newspaper.

Whatever it is, Ryan continues to keep his own counsel and vowed that at least for the foreseeable future, the rest of his team will, too.

``We never say that it always has to be a bed of roses,'' Ryan said. ``But again, put your name to it. I think people would respect you a lot more for it.''

So far, exactly one player on his team has faced all the questions, tried to answer each one and consistently put his name behind them. Fat lot of good that's done.

---

Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at http://Twitter.com/JimLitke

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

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The Arizona Cardinals have declared DL Alameda Ta'amu, OG Anthony Steen, WR Brittan Golden, SS Chris D. Clemons, QB Drew Stanton, OG Jonathan Cooper, DL Kareem Martin inactive for Week 16.

Chris MatthewsDec 21 07:32p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared WR Chris Matthews, DL Demarcus Dobbs, WR Kevin Norwood, C Max Unger, OT Russell Okung, TE Tony Moeaki, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 16.

Ahmad DixonDec 21 11:52a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Ahmad Dixon, LB Anthony Barr, OT Carter Bykowski, OG Charlie Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, CB Shaun Prater, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 16.

Devier PoseyDec 21 11:52a

The Houston Texans have declared WR DeVier Posey, TE Garrett Graham, LB Jason Ankrah, S Josh Aubrey, LB Mike Mohamed, QB Tom Savage, OG Xavier Su'a-Filo inactive for Week 16.

A.J. KleinDec 21 11:52a

The Carolina Panthers have declared LB A.J. Klein, OG Amini Silatolu, CB Carrington Byndom, OT David Foucault, RB DeAngelo Williams, DL Kyle Love, SS Robert Lester inactive for Week 16.

Charles GodfreyDec 21 11:52a

The Atlanta Falcons have declared CB Charles Godfrey, LB James Anderson, OG Jon Asamoah, CB Ricardo Allen, QB Sean Renfree, DL Stansly Maponga, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 16.

Jamarca SanfordDec 21 11:52a

The New Orleans Saints have declared SS Jamarca Sanford, DL Lawrence Virgil, LB Moise Fokou, WR Seantavius Jones, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, OT Terron Armstead, RB Travaris Cadet inactive for Week 16.

Justin BrownDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Clifton GeathersDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Carl BradfordDec 21 11:42a

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Davon House, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo, QB Scott Tolzien inactive for Week 16.

Chris McCainDec 21 11:42a

The Miami Dolphins have declared LB Chris McCain, OT Dallas Thomas, RB Daniel Thomas, CB Don Jones, WR Matt Hazel, OG Nate Garner, WR Rishard Matthews inactive for Week 16.

Arthur BrownDec 21 11:42a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, DL Casey Walker, CB Chris Greenwood, C Gino Gradkowski, WR Michael Campanaro, OG Ryan Jensen, DL Terrence Cody inactive for Week 16.

Aaron MurrayDec 21 11:42a

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, RB Charcandrick West, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, CB Marcus Cooper, DL Nick X. Williams inactive for Week 16.

Gary BarnidgeDec 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared OT Andrew McDonald, TE Gary Barnidge, RB Glenn Winston, CB Joe Haden, DB K'Waun Williams, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 16.

Chris ConteDec 21 11:42a

The Chicago Bears have declared FS Chris Conte, QB David Fales, OG Kyle Long, PK Robbie Gould, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott, DL Will Sutton inactive for Week 16.

Dakota DozierDec 21 11:33a

The New York Jets have declared OL Dakota Dozier, SS Jaiquawn Jarrett, QB Matt Simms, FS Rontez Miles, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 16.

Alfonzo DennardDec 21 11:33a

The New England Patriots have declared CB Alfonzo Dennard, OG Dan Connolly, RB James White, OT Jordan Devey, WR Julian Edelman, CB Kyle Arrington, RB LeGarrette Blount inactive for Week 16.

Anthony CollinsDec 21 11:32a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared OT Anthony Collins, FB Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, DL Lawrence Sidbury, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron, WR Solomon Patton inactive for Week 16.

Kelvin BenjaminDec 21 11:22a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin won't face Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) Sunday, Dec. 21, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Joe HadenDec 21 11:22a

Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) is out Sunday, Dec. 21.

Julio JonesDec 21 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is active Sunday, Dec. 21.

Jay CutlerDec 21 10:22a

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T Y HiltonDec 21 10:22a

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DeMarco MurrayDec 21 10:12a

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Zach ErtzDec 20 07:42p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz had 15 catches for 115 yards Saturday, Dec. 20. Both of which are career highs.

Philip RiversDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20.

Ahmad BrooksDec 20 07:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, OG Andrew Tiller, RB Carlos Hyde, OG Joe Looney, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 16.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 20 06:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) will be a game-time decision Sunday, Dec. 21, after not practicing all week.

Julian EdelmanDec 20 06:02p

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (concussion) has been ruled out for Week 16. Edelman didn't receive final clearance from the concussion protocol to play Sunday, Dec. 21.

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