Some in the media believe that Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez should have responded to the trade for Tim Tebow by launching into a public temper tantrum.
He definitely shouldn’t. The back pages of the New York tabloids would take Tebowmania to a new level if/when Sanchez says or does anything to show that he doesn’t like the move. Headlines like “Go to Hell: Sanchez won’t bow to Tebow” would appear on a daily basis if Sanchez starts firing off while Tebow repeatedly turns the other cheek.
And so the smart move for Sanchez is to do exactly what he’s saying and doing right now.
That’s not to say Sanchez shouldn’t be upset. But he should handle it quietly, using it as motivation to finally perform in the regular season the way that he did in four postseason road wins in 2009 and 2010. As we’ve been saying, the Jets likely acquired Tebow in part to finally bring Sanchez’s situation to a head. If he’s ever going to become a great quarterback and/or a great leader, now is the time for it to happen.
The Jets have tried to tiptoe around Sanchez for three years, most recently giving him a glorified restructuring that will pay him a couple of extra million over the next two years and guaranteed his 2012 and 2013 income. In response to that gesture, he foolishly declared that the “lipstick and powder” contract proves that he’s the leader of the team.
This time around, he smartly has made no declarations. Privately, however, he needs to respond by getting pissed, Rocky Balboa-style. “Mark is a better player right now and that’s it,” Hall of Famer Joe Montana told the New York Daily News. “As long as Mark believes in himself and plays, it’s not an issue.”
The problem is that Sanchez hasn’t shown that he believes in himself. If he wants to keep Tebow on the bench, Sanchez had better start believing, now.