(Long Island, N.Y.) Remaining unflappable, Tim Tebow stood at the podium with a wide smile on his face and answered every question from the throng of reporters in a script-like fashion. Everything seemed great and the use of the word ‘excited’ was plentiful. Tebow was excited to be a New York Jet, incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez was excited to have a new teammate playing the same position and it will be business as usual and not a distraction.
But while it is easy to see the differences between the two signal callers who will be vying for playing time, the fact of the matter is that human emotions may take over for one or both of them. Sanchez has to be questioning the move, if not publicly or to his coaches, then at least to himself. And Tebow, on the other hand, may be saying that he just wants to help the team win in any way he can, but he has also made it clear that quarterback is his preference.
“I’m a football player first and then a quarterback, although that is my dream, that’s what I want to be” said Tebow. “That’s what I believe I am, a quarterback.”
Yes, Tebow is willing to pull up his chin strap and do whatever it takes to make the team more successful, but even someone as noble as he has to desire the starting role. When asked if that is what he ultimately wants, Tebow sheepishly replied, “I think that everybody who puts on a uniform, you want to go out there and you want to play. That’s why you play the game of football.”
“Whatever my role is, however I can expand that role, I’m going to try to do that,” he continued. “Every day in practice I’m going to go out there and compete and try to get better as a quarterback, try to figure out any way possible to help this team any way that I can.”
It isn’t as if Sanchez has been a bust since being drafted fifth overall in 2009. He has been effective enough to lead the Jets to two conference championship games in his first two years in the league and even held the Jets from falling below .500 last year with a questionable running game and ineffective offensive line.
Two of his four road playoff wins have come against Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, the measuring stick for any signal-caller in the NFL. So Sanchez, while shaky at times, has actually exceeded some expectations throughout the first three years of his professional career.
So even if the front office and coaching staff all have good intentions and stick to their word that Sanchez is clearly the number one guy, it has to clearly be a distraction for him to keep looking over his shoulder when a Tebow-designed play is called. Sanchez may be getting into a rhythm during a game and suddenly be pulled for second and third down while the Wildcat formation trots onto the field.
Playing good soldier may only go so far, especially if Sanchez is having an off day and Tebow comes in and pulls out a fourth quarter victory. But Tebow sees all of this working out in the end.
“I think that we’ll have a great relationship and hopefully be able to thrive together.”