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jets season preview

Jets’ Burning Question: When’s Tebow Taking Over?

The Jets' season begins Sunday at home against the Buffalo Bills. Until then, you should read our big Tebow-Sanchez package. And you should also stay here as we look at the Jets' biggest concerns heading into the season. Today: Okay, more on Tebow and Sanchez.

Mark Sanchez made some news yesterday when he joked that Jets owner Woody Johnson had traded for Tim Tebow because he was "selling seats, man." But this is neither untrue — though we would have included "selling jerseys, man" — nor different than the way Sanchez has acted toward Tebow's presence all summer. He's respectful of the guy and praises him like he's supposed to, but it's obvious he doesn't consider Tebow a quarterback in the way he is a quarterback. Our mag story touched on this. Here's a section about Sanchez cut from the final piece for space:

Sanchez talks about the quarterback controversy as if it is pretty much the stupidest thing he’s ever heard of. He is obviously the quarterback of this team and, well, duh. When asked about Tebow after the first day of Jets’ camp, he smiled and said, “He was just sprinting down on the special teams like a monster. It was awesome.” Tebow constantly reminds you he’s a quarterback who’s just helping out on special teams; Sanchez constantly reminds you that Tebow’s a special teams guy who’s helping out at quarterback. Each of them says each of these things with a “no big deal, it’s just football” cadence, but the idea that the Jets’ quarterback controversy is some sort of media creation is bullocks. These are two highly competitive men who have aren’t accustomed to backing up anybody and are absolutely certain they are the best quarterback on the team. They’re being nice about it, but don’t kid yourself: Each of them wants to beat the other one’s ass. As Coach Ryan says, “You never want a player who doesn’t want to be the guy. They both want to be the guy. That’s terrific.”

It is an article of faith that, at some point this season, Tim Tebow is going to start a game at quarterback for the Jets. This presumes either a Sanchez injury or a losing streak (or both), which is something many people are presuming for the Jets this season. At this point, it would be a major upset if Sanchez doesn't lose the job at some point. But that, in Sanchez's eyes, is the dumbest thing imaginable. Sanchez is the only person, including Tebow, who doesn't think he's involved in a quarterback controversy.

The only way he'll be proven right is if he wins. Regardless of Tebow's presence, Sanchez was going to have to win this year, or the Jets were gonna have to go another direction anyway. (Presumably, though the Jets' patience with Sanchez sometimes knows no bounds.) So this season shouldn't be more different for Sanchez than any other. But it is — oh, it is. Because if Tim Tebow ends up starting a game, for whatever reason, and wins it, particularly in comeback fashion ... well, people will forget Mark Sanchez was ever the quarterback.

Sanchez does probably know this. Which is why he'll be doing everything in his power not to lose the job in the first place.

Photo: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images