Quarterback competitions are unfolding in multiple NFL cities. In New York/New Jersey, the Jets have a starting quarterback. But the backup quarterback seems to be reluctant to accept his role.
It’s not the first time Tim Tebow failed to embrace a spot other than No. 1 on the depth chart. And while every team should want every non-starter to aspire to be a starter, Tebow could go a long way toward taking the steam out of future controversies by telling anyone who will listen that Mark Sanchez is the starter and that Tebow is the backup and that he’ll do whatever else the team wants him to do.
But that’s not Tebow’s way. Tebow’s fellow quarterbacks in Denver reportedly fined him for remaining silent once billboards went up in 2011 calling for him to supplant Kyle Orton. If/when teammates and media and fans start calling for Tebow to take over for Sanchez, will Tebow publicly support Sanchez? Or will Tebow keep his mouth shut?
In New York/New Jersey, smiling and saying “I’m excited” will only go so far. At some point, Tebow will be asked a direct question regarding public or private efforts to pressure the Jets to put him ahead of Sanchez, and he won’t be able to evade it.
And as to anyone who believes that Tebow’s performance on Thursday at the team’s OTA session, which included a pair of interceptions, will cause him to slip farther behind Sanchez, keep in mind that Tebow has a longstanding reputation of being a poor practice player. He struggled at Florida. He struggled at Denver. He’ll struggle with the Jets. And he’ll struggle wherever he goes next.
But when he plays he plays well and when he plays well in New York/New Jersey and the clamoring begins for him to be the starter, the right thing for him to do will be to throw his support behind Sanchez.
Don’t count on that happening.