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

A.J. GreenSep 21 11:52a

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) is active against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Sept. 21.

Anthony SpencerSep 21 11:52a

The Dallas Cowboys have declared DL Anthony Spencer, DL Davon Coleman, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, LB Justin Durant, LB Rolando McClain, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 3.

Bryce BrownSep 21 11:52a

The Buffalo Bills have declared RB Bryce Brown, TE Chris Gragg, OG Cyril Richardson, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, LB Keith Rivers, LB Randell Johnson, CB Ross Cockrell inactive for Week 3.

Aaron DobsonSep 21 11:52a

New England Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins is active for the Week 3 game Sunday, Sept. 21. WR Aaron Dobson is a healthy scratch for the game.

Aaron DobsonSep 21 11:52a

The New England Patriots have declared WR Aaron Dobson, CB Don Jones, RB James White, OL Josh Kline, DL Michael Buchanan, C Ryan Wendell, DE Zach Moore inactive for Week 3.

Akeem JordanSep 21 11:42a

The Washington Redskins have declared LB Akeem Jordan, TE Jordan Reed, DL Kedric Golston, OT Morgan Moses, QB Robert Griffin III, WR Santana Moss, CB Tracy Porter inactive for Week 3.

Brandon WattsSep 21 11:42a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared LB Brandon Watts, WR Charles X. Johnson, QB Christian Ponder, OG David Yankey, WR Rodney Smith, DL Scott Crichton, CB Shaun Prater inactive for Week 3.

Arthur JonesSep 21 11:42a

The Indianapolis Colts have declared DL Arthur Jones, LB Chris Carter, WR Da'Rick Rogers, LB Jerrell Freeman, OL Joe Reitz, C Khaled Holmes, OG Lance Louis inactive for Week 3.

Brandon ThompsonSep 21 11:42a

The Cincinnati Bengals have declared DL Brandon Thompson, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, OG Kevin Zeitler, WR Marvin Jones, RB Rex Burkhead, LB Sean Porter, LB Vontaze Burfict inactive for Week 3.

Ben TateSep 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared RB Ben Tate, DL Eric Martin, TE Gerell Robinson, DL Ish Kitchen, WR LaRon Byrd, CB Pierre Desir, DB Robert Nelson inactive for Week 3.

David HawthorneSep 21 11:42a

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB David Hawthorne, FB Erik Lorig, DL John Jenkins, SS Marcus Ball, RB Mark Ingram, WR Nick Toon, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 3.

Justin ForsettSep 21 11:39a

Forsett will start the Week 3 game for the Ravens. Bernard Pierce is out.

Bernard PierceSep 21 11:39a

Baltimore Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh) is inactive Sunday, Sept. 21, for the Week 3 game. RB Justin Forsett will start.

Akeem AyersSep 21 11:32a

The Tennessee Titans have declared LB Akeem Ayers, OL Byron Stingily, DT DaQuan Jones, WR Kris Durham, DL Mike Martin, WR T.J. Graham, QB Zach Mettenberger inactive for Week 3.

Charles BrownSep 21 11:32a

The New York Giants have declared OT Charles Brown, DL Devon Kennard, OT James Brewer, DL Jay Bromley, LB Jon Beason, DT Kerry Wynn, WR Odell Beckham Jr. inactive for Week 3.

Arian FosterSep 21 11:32a

The Houston Texans have declared RB Arian Foster, WR DeVier Posey, LB Jadeveon Clowney, OT Jeff Adams, DL Louis Nix, SS Shiloh Keo, QB Tom Savage inactive for Week 3.

Jordan CameronSep 21 11:32a

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) is active for the Week 3 game Sunday, Sept. 21.

Arian FosterSep 21 11:32a

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (hamstring) is inactive for the Week 3 game Sunday, Sept. 21. RB Alfred Blue is expected to start.

Arthur BrownSep 21 11:32a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, RB Bernard Pierce, OT Jah Reid, OG John Urschel, WR Michael Campanaro, FS Terrence Brooks, DL Timmy Jernigan inactive for Week 3.

Earl WolffSep 21 11:32a

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared SS Earl Wolff, WR Josh Huff, OT Kevin Graf, OG Matt Tobin, QB Matt Barkley, LB Mychal Kendricks, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 3.

Dontrelle InmanSep 21 11:32a

The San Diego Chargers have declared CB Chris Davis, WR Dontrelle Inman, DL Ricardo Mathews, RB Ryan Mathews, DT Ryan Carrethers, CB Steve Williams inactive for Week 3.

Zach ErtzSep 21 11:22a

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz has seven receptions on the season, and six of them have gone for 20 or more yards. He's second in the league in that category.

Shaun HillSep 21 11:22a

St. Louis Rams QB Austin Davis is likely to start Sunday, Sept. 21, against the Dallas Cowboys. QB Shaun Hill (thigh) is likely out.

DeSean JacksonSep 21 11:22a

Washington Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder) will play Sunday, Sept. 21, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Alshon JefferySep 21 11:12a

Chicago Bears WR Alshon Jeffery (ankle) is expected to play Monday, Sept. 22.

Brandon MarshallSep 21 11:12a

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall (ankle) is expected to play Monday, Sept. 22.

Shane VereenSep 21 11:02a

New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen (shoulder) is likely to play Sunday, Sept. 21.

Justin ForsettSep 21 10:32a

Updating an earlier report, Baltimore Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh) has a 5 percent chance to play Sunday, Sept. 21, according to a team source. RB Justin Forsett is likely to start.

Jordan CameronSep 21 10:22a

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) is expected to play Sunday, Sept. 21.

Vernon DavisSep 21 10:22a

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (ankle) is doubtful to play Sunday, Sept. 21, and was on crutches until Thursday, Sept. 18. TE Derek Carrier would start in his place.

Jamaal CharlesSep 21 10:15a

Updating an earlier report, Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (ankle) is not expecting to play Sunday, Sept. 21, but he will test his ankle on in pre-game warm-ups. [ More ]

Bernard PierceSep 21 10:15a

Baltimore Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh) is in serious doubt to play Sunday, Sept. 21, in Week 3. He'll be a game-time decision. RB Justin Forsett would start.

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