If Mark Sanchez didn’t realize what kind of spotlight Tim Tebow can bring to your team, he certainly does by now. For the past week the trading of Tebow from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets has been one of the most discussed topics in the NFL.
Several hours after Tebow was officially introduced by the Jets, Sanchez spoke for the first time since the trade was made last week.
“We’re adding another player and were not replacing anybody,” Sanchez said during a conference call from California. “I mean, he’s here to help us and I’m confident in my abilities. I know the team feels the same way about me. They have belief in me. … I’m not worried about losing my spot.”
Sanchez said he wasn’t watching Tebow’s introduction to the Big Apple. Instead, he was working out and throwing balls.
The Jets have stated on numerous occasions that Sanchez is their no. 1 quarterback, and Tim Tebow is will serve as the back-up and see plenty of playing time playing other roles on the team. Sanchez says he doesn’t think that having one of the most popular players in the league waiting in the wings behind him will cause a distraction. He also confronted the issue of the fans chanting for Tebow when Sanchez is struggling.
“That stuff happens whether you’re Tim Tebow or not,” Sanchez said. “They call for the backup any time you’re not playing to your potential, so that’s just part of the job if you’re not playing well.”
Well Sanchez hasn’t been playing well at all lately. After leading the Jets to consecutive AFC title games his first two seasons, Sanchez didn’t progress as much as many expected in 2011 and finished with as many touchdown passes as turnovers: 26. His leadership skills and confidence were called into question by teammates quoted anonymously in newspaper reports.
They even contemplated the idea of bringing in Peyton Manning until it was obvious that there was no mutual interest. Denver ended up signing Manning which led to Tebow being traded to the Jets, a move that seemed to slide right under the nose of Sanchez.
Sanchez hosted Tebow on his recruiting trip to Southern California a few years ago, and they’ve been friends since. He thinks that, plus the fact Tebow will be able to “add a new wrinkle to our offense,” makes the move a “plus for us.”
Tebow is expected to be running the Wildcat Offense in New York as well as play other roles for the team. Sanchez, who is neither experienced nor fond of the Wildcat but is comfortable with the idea, had this to say:
“That’s just how I’m programmed and any quarterback is programmed like that,” Sanchez said. “The way I feel about the wildcat really is secondary. Our team goal is what’s the most important, and that’s winning.”