Jets' Tim Tebow Meets the Press

Tim Tebow survived his first press conference in New York on Monday. Bringing the Jets a Super Bowl will probably be an easier task for the guy.

Whether this trade was for football reasons or to grab the local back pages doesn’t matter anymore. Tim Tebow is officially a New York Jet.

Various media outlets have reported on Tebow’s first weekend in New York (he saw a musical and had a sandwich named after him), his billboard by the Lincoln Tunnel (a Jockey underwear ad), and one outlet is even reporting on/ripping on the clothing he wore to the press conference. Stay classy, New York Post. Yes, the circus is in full swing.

[caption id="attachment_558" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Tim Tebow address the New York media for the first time on March 26 // Photo by Jeff Zelesvanskey, Getty Images North America."][/caption]

For what it’s worth, Tebow said all the right things at his first meeting with the New York media, and the media really tried to lead him astray – talk about your religion, Tim. Say something nasty about Mark Sanchez, Tim. They really, really tried to get him to badmouth Mark Sanchez.

He didn’t. He kept it all about the Jets. He didn’t talk about his religious views very much, although he was given the opportunity. He said that he’d play any position the Jets wanted him to play…which is very encouraging. He was also smart enough to point out that he can't control what billboards his sponsors put up and that the Jets' front office wanted him to do the press conference, making him look better to anonymous teammates, who may be miffed that a backup quarterback warrants this much attention.

He also said he was excited to be a Jet, and told Jeane Coakley on SNY that he was honored to be a Jet, which, even if it makes him sound like he’s out of his mind, is the right thing to say if he wants to win over a doubtful Jets fanbase. Judging by talk radio and internet forums, reaction to the Tebow trade has been mixed thus far.

There isn’t much to walk away with from a media meet-and-greet during which Tim Tebow talked about how excited he was to be in New York. He continuously stated that he was thrilled to work with Sanchez and that he and Sanchez were good friends, with their relationship going back a number of years.

But while he kept stating that he and Mark Sanchez have a great relationship, it’s clear after this press conference that Tebow want to fit in and wants to play and work hard. And he believes that he was brought in to play quarterback. Is it safe to assume he thinks he can compete for the starting position?

Multiple sources have reported that Tebow picked the Jets over his hometown Jaguars. Why? Logically, Tebow may think that he has the best chance to win the starting quarterback job in New York. Mark Sanchez is coming off a weak season, and in spite of the fact that the Jets keep saying Sanchez is the guy, this move can be read as undermining him.

Getting a backup QB to push Sanchez is a smart move. Even if Sanchez was coming off an amazing season, there were a couple of moments there late in the year where he got hit and it looked like he might not be coming back into the game. With Wayne Hunter and Vlad Ducasse supposedly battling it out this summer for the starting right tackle spot, it’s not exactly unwise to get a backup who can take over if need be.

[caption id="attachment_559" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Embattled Jets' Quarterback Mark Sanchez // Photo credit unknown."][/caption]

That said, the Jets could have brought in Chad Henne or Jason Campbell this offseason. They brought in Drew Stanton and then traded him to Indy after the Tebow trade. With any of those other guys, the Jets would have all the benefits of a backup quarterback and none of the madness that comes with having Tim Tebow as the backup quarterback.

Tebow comes off as a guy who was a Labrador in a past life. He’s all goofy and sincere and fun loving and hard working, but underneath all those folksy y’alls and the thousand watt smile, he’s incredibly media and people savvy as well. He knows that after last season, Sanchez is on a short leash both with media and Jets fans. The minute Sanchez has a bad pass, an element of the fanbase (and the Tebow-maniacs) will be calling for Tebow to start. If Sanchez is really the man, wouldn’t you want to give him the best possible chance to succeed?

It’s not that Sanchez shouldn’t be able to shrug off the jeers, come back after a bad pass and play well, but this move doesn’t make it feel like the Jets really want to help him do that, either.

Even if the Jets don’t have confidence in Mark Sanchez anymore, the move is still baffling because guys like Henne, Stanton, or Campbell might be able to throw the ball at least as well as Sanchez does. Right now, Tim Tebow’s numbers don’t indicate he’s any more effective than Sanchez at passing the ball.

Tebow will be a terrific asset to the Jets’ running game, whether he’s used as a halfback or a quarterback in the wildcat packages. Rex Ryan has said he’ll be more than just a backup quarterback, and Tebow stated his willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team win.

But Tebow believes the Jets brought him in to play quarterback. And while he says that he and Sanchez will be better together than they are apart, his dream is to be a quarterback. He’s a competitor, and he’s smart. He knows that if the team struggles again – if Sanchez struggles again – the Jets might pull the trigger sooner rather than later and give him the starting job.

The day of the trade, Joe Namath told Michael Kay and Don La Greca on 1050 ESPN Radio New York that Mark Sanchez should be angry about this. Mike Greenberg of Mike and Mike in the Morning, also on ESPN radio, also said on The Michael Kay Show that Sanchez must hate this move no matter what he says publicly.

Weren’t the Jets looking to tone down the drama in 2012? Tim Tebow is in New York to play quarterback. The only person with the power to stop him is Mark Sanchez. Forget toning down the drama. They’re scripting it.

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