Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills signal-caller Jim Kelly told the NFL Network on Thursday that the New York Jets quarterback contest between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow will likely create turmoil and unneeded pressure.
In a somewhat shocking move this past March, the Jets inked the 25-year-old Sanchez, who head coach Rex Ryan handpicked with the fifth overall choice in 2009 out of the University of Southern California (USC), to a three-year extension for $40.5 million through the 2016 season.
Mere weeks later, Gang Green acquired Tebow and a seventh-round pick from the Denver Broncos for a fourth and sixth-round selection in this April’s draft.
“The job security is a little shaky,” said Kelly, 52, a four-time Pro Bowler who established the Bills career record for passing yards with 35,467. “I hope there’s so much turmoil during training camp, I hope Tebow plays great, he pushes (Mark) Sanchez, and all of a sudden the locker room is coming apart.”
Although Kelly believes Sanchez is loaded with potential and possesses the necessary skills to perform beautifully in the swamps of Jersey, the four-time AFC champion isn’t sold that the Mexican-American from Long Beach (CA) can deal with the fishbowl that is Gotham.
“I thought Sanchez is a very good quarterback coming on,” said Kelly, who initially played for the Houston Gamblers of the USFL rather than the Bill’s because of the organization’s struggles and Buffalo’s hideous weather conditions. “Mark Sanchez is a quarterback now that is going to be sitting there every single game if he plays bad — number one, you know Jets fans, they’re going to start booing. A lot of pressure is on Sanchez to not only start off hot, but continue game after game after game playing steady. If he doesn’t, you know you’re going to hear the boo birds, you’re going to have people wanting Tim Tebow in there.”
The former University of Miami superstar, who threw 237 touchdowns, in comparison to 175 interceptions, playing for the Bills from 1986-1996, contends the Jets should have jettisoned Sanchez when they dealt for Tebow.
“If I was a general manager or a president or the owner of a team, I would not have done that unless I would have gotten rid of Sanchez,” said Kelly, who past Indianapolis Colts quarterback, and current San Francisco 49ers head coach, Jim Harbaugh punched in the face at a hotel in October 1997. “But he’s a good enough quarterback to be there and Tim Tebow is a great athlete. He’s going to be a big plus for somebody, but in New York I’m not sure.”
Tebow, 24, who the Broncos took out of the University of Florida with the 25th overall pick in the 2010 draft, became expendable this spring when former Colts icon Peyton Manning signed a five-year contract worth $96 million to perform in “The Mile-High City.”
Despite throwing like a glorified version of Corky Thatcher, the winner of the 2007 Heisman Trophy led Denver to a 7-4 record under center and propelled the team to a stunning 29-23 victory in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs.
Tebow, a southpaw who completed a paltry 46.5 percent of his 271 pass attempts in 2011, is a polarizing presence whose overwhelming godliness, and lack of conventional abilities, has chapped the ass of fans nationwide.
Conversely, Sanchez, who has tossed 55 touchdowns, in contrast to 51 interceptions, for 9,209 yards in 47 games, must progress in the pocket and show more than sporadic flashes of brilliance.
Sanchez played a pivotal role in guiding the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in the 2009 and 2010 seasons and the third-year passer is seemingly capable of leading Gang Green to their first title since 1969.
Nevertheless, Kate Upton’s reported banging companion, who earned the 2009 Rose Bowl Most Valuable Player award as a Trojan, has long been perceived as coddled and competition in the form of Tebow will prove to be healthy.
Ideally for the Jets, Sanchez, who has completed a substandard 55.3% of his 1,414 attempts, will hone his quarterbacking talents and Tebow will effectively be utilized in the wildcat formation installed by new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.
Players almost always decide the outcome of games and it’s the responsibility of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow to develop into productive NFL passers.
Nevertheless, for a change, much of the Jets success will be determined on the sidelines.
Sparano will be the man primarily responsible for preventing “turmoil during training camp” and “the locker room (from) coming apart.”
Ultimately, Tony Sparano, his temperament, clipboard and schemes, will be the person who makes the Jets fly or crash this autumn in East Rutherford.by