It’s the question that is on the mind of every Jets fan, follower and detractor.
Will Tim Tebow ultimately replace Mark Sanchez as New York’s starting quarterback?
This evolving issue is causing a great deal of uneasiness in the land of Green-and-White. Sanchez is slated as the opening day starter, but things could certainly change at the drop of a hat. While neither Tebow nor Sanchez have been models of consistency during their young careers, they’ve both embraced leadership roles and given coaches and teammates reason for optimism.
Tebow is coming off a breakout 2011 campaign in which he led the Denver Broncos to an AFC West title and a berth in the divisional round of the playoffs. Sanchez on the contrary, is fresh off mistake-laden season and missed the playoffs for the first time in his professional career.
Two quarterbacks juxtaposed in the same city, both craving their first championship.
There’s only one conundrum.
Is New York big enough for both quarterbacks?
Jets head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano seem to think so. New York’s front office is convinced that the Sanchez-Tebow quarterback experiment will yield incredible results. Most others outside the organization are not as optimistic.
Dual quarterback systems have rarely been employed in the NFL with even moderate success.
Gang Green will have an immense challenge ahead of them as they are tasked with not only managing personnel, but the egos of their star players. Sanchez expressed frustration after Ryan gave former-backup quarterback Mark Brunell snaps with the starting team during practice. Imagine Sanchez’s reaction when’s he’s pulled from an offensive series during the regular season in favor of Tebow time.
There’s a distinct possibility that this growing quarterback controversy could spell disaster for the Jets.
On the other hand, both Tebow and Sanchez have a vested interest in winning games while both have gone on the record and expressed their willingness to sacrifice in order to do so.
And sacrifice they must.
Sparano has carved out a role for Tebow as the WildCat quarterback while special teams coach Mike Westhoff is eager to make use of No. 15’s blocking skills as a punt protector. New York is tinkering with the idea of utilizing Tebow as a fullback, tight end and wide receiving option in certain offensive packages.
Given Tebow’s versatility, Sparano’s options are limitless. For Sanchez, his biggest adjustment will come during short-yardage and goal-to-go situations where the Jets will opt for Tebow and his power running style to move the chains and find the end zone.
As the quarterback debate rages on, the Jets playoffs hopes won’t rest solely on the shoulder of one quarterback, rather on the ability of Tebow and Sanchez to coexist in New York.
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
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