With the New York Jets offense falling on hard times, don't expect their backup quarterback to hang his head or succumb to outside pressure. As his team prepares for its final preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night, Tim Tebow is maintaining a positive outlook and using this week's practice sessions to encourage his teammates.
"I honestly try to not think about it," mentioned Tebow of the Jets' touchdown drought. "I try to keep an inside perspective and look at it from our point of view."
The Jets were the NFL's top red zone scoring offense a season ago, but have failed to produce a single touchdown on five trips inside the 20-yard line this preseason. In Tebow's mind, there's little doubt as to what area the offense needs to improve in time for the regular season.
"I just think it's about scoring once we get in the red zone," noted Tebow of the offense's struggles. "If (we) had done that the other night, we would have had quite a few touchdowns."
The Jets are under the microscope following a 2011 campaign that began with a Super Bowl promise, but came to an end without so much as a playoff berth. Enter Tebow, a franchise savior in Denver last year, jettisoned from the Mile High City this offseason and into the laps of general manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan in New York.
With Tebow in the mix offensively, speculation is growing that a quarterback controversy could be on the horizon in the Big Apple. So far Tebow and incumbent starter Mark Sanchez have coexisted just fine albeit it's just the preseason period.
"Hopefully we have learned things from each other," remarked Tebow of his collaboration with Sanchez. "I think we've both learned different things about this offense, kind of learning it together."
In his first year as the Jets' offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano is trying to strike a balance by designating Tebow as New York's Wildcat specialist and leaving the majority of conventional pocket passing up to Sanchez. While each player brings a unique skill set to the table, the two gunslingers have demonstrated a mutual respect and admiration for one another.
"I will tell you that we have definitely gotten closer through this process and just hanging out outside, of here and supporting each other, being friends," commented Tebow on his friendship with Sanchez. "I've gotten to know his family, they're everywhere and they're great. I have a great time with him."
While New York's two quarterbacks appear to be on the same wavelength, Tebow's preseason statistics have been far from impressive. Through parts of three preseason games Tebow has completed 13 of 36 pass attempts for 153 yards, tossing two interceptions and zero touchdowns. The former Heisman Trophy winner isn't wrapped up in statistics or quarterback metrics; instead his sole focus is getting New York's offense back on track.
"Honestly, it's not about the percentages," said Tebow of his quarterback numbers. "It's about just trying to get your team in the end zone and obviously that's something we have to do a better job (of)."
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
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