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

Mike CampanaroAug 28 09:13a

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro remains in the mix for a spot on the 53-man roster. If the team elects to keep just five receivers, he would be competing [ More ]

D. Heyward-BeyAug 28 09:10a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey appears to be in good shape for a roster spot, as the team will likely keep six receivers on the 53-man roster. WRs Antonio [ More ]

Cam NewtonAug 28 12:53a

Updating a previous report, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ribs) said Wednesday, Aug. 27, that he will be ready for the regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers [ More ]

Frankie HammondAug 27 10:42p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Frankie Hammond Jr. is likely to start in place of suspended WR Dwayne Bowe in Week 1.

Derek CarrAug 27 10:40p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr appears firmly entrenched as the primary backup quarterback behind starter QB Matt Schaub (elbow), even though QB Matt McGloin has posted the best numbers of the preseason.

Wes WelkerAug 27 10:31p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) made another positive step Tuesday, Aug. 26, in his recovery from another concussion, according to head coach John Fox. Welker has still not [ More ]

Matt SchaubAug 27 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub (elbow) will be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1 against the New York Jets assuming his elbow is better and he can get [ More ]

Timothy WrightAug 27 10:23p

The New England Patriots really like TE Timothy Wright, acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for OL Logan Mankins. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport even considers him as the team's 'new' [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIAug 27 09:43p

Washington Redskins QBs Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins aren't involved in any kind of quarterback controversy, according to head coach Jay Gruden. The first-team offense has yet to [ More ]

Nate FreeseAug 27 09:27p

Detroit Lions PK Nate Freese has won the kicker job, because the team has released PK Giorgio Tavecchio.

Kory SheetsAug 27 06:53p

Oakland Raiders FS Larry Asante (undisclosed), WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed) and RB Kory Sheets (undisclosed) all were placed on the team's Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 27.

John PotterAug 27 06:43p

The Miami Dolphins placed PK John Potter (hip) on the Reserved/Injured list Thursday, Aug. 27.

Matt JohnsonAug 27 06:33p

The Dallas Cowboys placed TE Jordan Najvar (undisclosed), S Matt Johnson (hamstring), CB Justin Green (undisclosed), LB DeVonte Holloman (neck) and CB Johnny X. Thomas (undisclosed) were all placed [ More ]

L. WestbrooksAug 27 06:23p

The Cincinnati Bengals placed LB J.K. Schaffer (concussion) and CB Lavelle Westbrooks (thumb) on the Reserve/Injured list.

D.C. JeffersonAug 27 06:23p

Carolina Panthers TE D.C. Jefferson (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Wes WelkerAug 27 06:03p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has been ruled out of the team's final preseason game Thursday, Aug. 27, but has been exercising and will travel with the team.

Tim BenfordAug 27 05:23p

Dallas Cowboys waived WR Tim Benford Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Wes WelkerAug 27 05:13p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has not been cleared to practice at this point but is making good progress.

Jemea ThomasAug 27 05:03p

The Dallas Cowboys claimed S Jemea Thomas (Patriots) off waivers Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Tandon DossAug 27 05:03p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Ace Sanders (personal) and WR Tandon Doss (ankle) may be able to play in the final preseason game after missing the first three preseason games. Head [ More ]

Josh ScobeeAug 27 04:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars PK Josh Scobee (quadriceps) said he is not sure if will be able to play Week 1 because of his quadriceps injury. PK Kasey Redfern may make [ More ]

D.J. HaydenAug 27 04:33p

Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden (foot) is considered a few weeks away from returning to practice, according to head coach Dennis Allen. Allen said he expects Hayden will be [ More ]

Richard MarshallAug 27 04:23p

San Diego Chargers CB Richard Marshall has been working at safety because of the injury to SS Jahleel Addae (hamstring). Marshall's versatility could help him make the final roster.

Ryan McBeanAug 27 03:53p

The Arizona Cardinals cut DE Ryan McBean Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Tommy KellyAug 27 03:43p

Arizona Cardinals DT Tommy Kelly agreed to terms on a one-year contract Wednesday, Aug. 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Josh GordonAug 27 03:03p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon's representatives are considering a lawsuit against the NFL which could seek an injunction to put the suspension on hold until the legal process takes [ More ]

Pierre DesirAug 27 02:43p

The Cleveland Browns may consider placing CB Pierre Desir (knee) on the Active/Reserve/Injured list, which would keep him out for at least eight weeks of the season.

Phillip TannerAug 27 01:53p

The Dallas Cowboys will sign free-agent RB Phillip Tanner (Colts), according to sources.

Josh GordonAug 27 01:43p

Updating previous reports, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be allowed to apply for reinstatement after the 2014 season and not after a full calendar year.

Josh GordonAug 27 01:23p

Updating previous reports, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not be allowed at the team's facility during his one-year suspension. The team hoped they would be able to work with him during the suspension.

Zach ErtzAug 27 01:13p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz is expected to be more involved in the passing game this season and has shown the confidence to be a solid pass catcher, according [ More ]

Josh GordonAug 27 01:03p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not be allowed to file for reinstatement during his one-year suspension, according to a source. His representatives will look [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group