2015 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

Carlos HydeJul 29 11:13a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde is not believed to be injured and shouldn't be on the non-football injury list for long. Hyde suffered a calf injury during spring [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 09:23a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady posted on Facebook that he replaced his broken phone with a new one after his attorneys told the NFL 'my [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 01:53a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have had his suspended reduced based on a series of conditions. According to a source with knowledge of [ More ]

Eric BerryJul 29 01:43a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) has been cleared to take the practice field with the team Wednesday, July 29. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December [ More ]

Geno SmithJul 28 08:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith could be benched if he struggles early in the season, according to head coach Todd Bowles Tuesday, July 28. 'If you feel that [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, July 28.

Brodrick BunkleyJul 28 05:43p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (undisclosed) was released with a failed physical designation Tuesday, July 28.

James WrightJul 28 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR James Wright (knee) was waived with an injured designation Tuesday, July 28.

Darrin ReavesJul 28 05:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was waived Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 05:13p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is facing a four-game suspension, but the Patriots have done fairly well without him. In games Brady has missed since he became a [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 28 04:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has given permission to the NFL Players Association to appeal his case in federal court, according to a source. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell [ More ]

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:43p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller may see an increase in carries in 2015, according to head coach Joe Philbin. 'If he's cranking and he got it 24 times a [ More ]

Le'Veon BellJul 28 03:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell's original three-game suspension has been reduced to a two-game suspension Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 02:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, July 28.

Victor CruzJul 28 02:23p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) is supposedly faster now than he was before he tore his patellar tendon last season, according to teammate CB Prince Amukamara. Amukamara [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 11:53a

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was waived/injured Tuesday, July 28.

Josh FreemanJul 28 10:43a

Free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Dolphins) was re-signed by the Miami Dolphins Tuesday, July 28, according to his agent, Ron Freeman.

Tom BradyJul 28 10:13a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is expected to have his four-game suspension upheld, a source told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. Smith said on 'ESPN First Take' Tuesday, July [ More ]

Chris CooleyJul 27 10:42p

Free-agent TE Chris Cooley (Redskins) is still considering a comeback, although he said Monday, July 27, in a radio interview that he does not anticipate a team signing him [ More ]

Josh McCownJul 27 10:32p

Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown enters training camp as the team's starting signal caller, but head coach Mike Pettine said Monday, July 27, that McCown is not guaranteed of [ More ]

Markus WheatonJul 27 07:12p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton is believed to have performed the best among the wide receivers during offseason workouts.

Brandon LaFellJul 27 05:22p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Jadeveon ClowneyJul 27 05:12p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Kevin BrockJul 27 05:02p

Free-agent TE Kevin Brock (Bengals) signed with the New Orleans Saints Monday, July 27.

Matthew TuckerJul 27 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Matthew Tucker (undisclosed) was waived from the Non-Football Injury list Monday, July 27.

Da'Quan BowersJul 27 04:52p

Free-agent DE Da'Quan Bowers (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, July 27.

Jonathan MartinJul 27 03:02p

Carolina Panthers OT Jonathan Martin (back) has chosen to retire. Martin will need surgery on his injured back.

Tom BradyJul 27 02:02p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension still has not been announced, and the NFL is now open to talking with the NFL Players Association [ More ]

Doug MartinJul 27 12:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin could be in line for a big, bounce-back year, in the opinion of beat writer Roy Cummings.

Casey MatthewsJul 27 09:12a

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve due to a hip injury Sunday, July 26.

Casey MatthewsJul 26 02:52p

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) has been placed on injured reserve due to a hip injury that occurred during the team's offseason program.

Blair WalshJul 26 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings PK Blair Walsh signed a four-year contract extension Sunday, July 26, worth $14 million. The deal includes $5.25 million in guaranteed money.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group