TOJ 12 Pack: Under The Radar New York Jets

TOJ with a look at 12 critical players to the New York Jets upcoming season who aren’t receiving much press

A quick hitting 12 pack for your Friday afternoon, focusing on twelve New York Jets who will be critical to the team’s success in 2012 but aren’t receiving the same media adoration of Tim Tebow or media scorn of Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes.

1. Muhammad Wilkerson – Last year’s first round pick, who had a good not great rookie season. Wilkerson is steady against the run and showed flashes of being able to get after the passer. If he takes advantage of his first full off-season, the Jets pass rush will receive a needed boost in 2012.

2. Joe McKnight – A player who could be a huge factor on offense if used properly. We saw Reggie Bush flourish last year in Miami under Tony Sparano and McKnight has a similar skill set. He could also take advantage of the Jets using the Wildcat with Tim Tebow by having the speed to make plays on the edge of the defense.

3. Jeremy Kerley – Should be given the opportunity to flourish as the team’s slot receiver. Kerley has excellent quickness and began to come on strong at the end of his rookie season.

4. Austin Howard – Who? A guy who could be given the opportunity to become the starting right tackle if Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse play like they did last season.

5. Bilal Powell – If the Jets are going to be as run heavy as they indicate, there should be a role for Powell. The Jets spent a 4th round pick on him last season, so they might as well give him a chance. He didn’t look impressive at all when given a chance last season but maybe with a full off-season under his belt he could improve.

6. Josh Mauga – Even if Bart Scott hangs on to the starting inside linebacker job, Mauga will likely see time on passing downs. The Jets need to find a long term answer opposite David Harris. Can Mauga give any indications this year that he could be that guy?

7. Kenrick Ellis – He basically had a red shirt rookie season, if he can’t become a part of the regular defensive line rotation in 2012, it is certainly going to look like he was a wasted third round pick.

8. John Conner – You don’t hear much about The Terminator these days. It would be nice to see him become a consistent short yardage threat and a more reliable receiver out of the backfield.

9. Ellis Lankster – Somebody has to fill Marquice Cole’s role on all the special teams.

10. Jeff Cumberland – Showed flashes of being a valuable weapon in the passing game last year. Problem is, how many pass catching tight ends does Tony Sparano have use for?

11. Caleb Schlauderaff – If Matt Slauson isn’t ready for the season because of off-season surgery, Schlauderaff would step in as the starter.

12. Kyle Wilson – His role should continue to grow on Rex Ryan’s defense. Could we see him line up at free safety in a few looks?

Santonio Holmes, The New York Jets Bogeyman

The New York media has continued vilify Santonio Holmes and the fanbase is blindly hopping right on the bandwagon

Big bad Santonio Holmes is at it again. The poster boy for the New York Jets locker room dysfunction grabbed himself a front page of The Daily News by giving the following quotes to Manish Mehta in the middle of one of his off-season workouts in Florida –

“The media don’t make me and the media don’t break me…I am Santonio Holmes and that’s it”

“You haven’t seen Santonio Holmes stories in the news since the season was over”

“My offseason is just beginning”

“I don’t care”

Yes, that’s it. That is everything Santonio Holmes said, everything else that is being trumped as headline material was said by an unnamed player who trains with Holmes or his strength coach Tom Shaw. All those words about “chanting for Tebow” or wanting “the damn ball” didn’t come from Holmes mouth, they came from yet another anonymous source or a strength coach.

Unfortunately, most people have been too lazy to make this distinction and are ripping Holmes for his continued selfishness. In reality, all he has done this off-season is stay out of the limelight and spend two weeks in Africa helping impoverished kids with Pros For Africa. Of course that received no media coverage…that received no headlines. Doing charity work doesn’t sell newspapers unless you are Tim Tebow.

There is nothing wrong with Holmes saying the media doesn’t break him, because it shouldn’t. Just like he said, he shouldn’t give a damn what is being written about him. All he is currently doing is minding his own business, staying out of trouble and working out in Florida to get ready for next season.

The guy made a mistake in the Miami game last year. He was frustrated from being given a number one receiver role and not receiving the looks he desired down the stretch. His behavior was unacceptable but one bad week shouldn’t define his NFL or Jets career, just like we say three bad games last year shouldn’t define Mark Sanchez’s career. Holmes is a Super Bowl MVP and without his clutch play in 2010, the Jets get nowhere near the AFC Championship Game.

The media and fanbase love to pick villains and they have one in Holmes. Don’t blindly hop the bandwagon without taking the time to comprehend what the media is trying to do with a story like this.

History Looks Favorably On Mark Sanchez’s Development

A look at recent Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks early in their career, paints a promising picture for Mark Sanchez’s future

The acquisition of Tim Tebow by the New York Jets has led many to question the amount of faith the organization has in starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. Many fans and league analysts have come out and publicly stated that they do not feel as though Sanchez is the right quarterback for this team now or in the future. Some have even said that Tebow chose to come to the Jets because he believes he can take over as the starting quarterback at some point during the season. However, anyone who feels this way has clearly not taken the time to look at the facts.

There are no excuses to make for Sanchez and his inconsistent play in the final three weeks of the season last year. But those three weeks should not define Sanchez’s career thus for, nor should they write his future. If history tells us anything, it is that most, if not all, elite NFL quarterbacks take time to develop to that level. In observing Sanchez’s numbers through his first three seasons in comparison with the three previous Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in their first three years in the league, it is obvious that this kid has not only over achieved for his age, but more than likely has a future destined for greatness as well.

First, let’s look at games started. In his first three seasons with the Jets, Sanchez has started 47 out of 48 games (Remember, he missed the Tampa Bay game in 2009 after injuring his knee against the Bills in Toronto). Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Eli Manning started 28, 0, and 41 games, respectively. Now, it is hard to argue any numbers Rodgers had in his first three seasons due to the fact that he was sitting behind one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Brett Favre. However, this also means that Rodgers had ample time to learn, and his growing pains came about on the practice field, rather than under the spotlight of New York as Sanchez’s have. That being said, Rodgers’ and Sanchez’s numbers in the first three years of their careers cannot be compared because there is not a high enough sample of Rodgers’ production during that time.

So let’s focus on Brees and Manning. In Brees’ first three seasons, he completed 540 of his 909 pass attempts for a completion percentage of 59.4. During that span, he threw for 5,613 yards, 29 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. He also rushed for 1 touchdown over those three years. Other than an inflated completion percentage due to only 27 attempts in his rookie season, Brees’ numbers in his first three years show he was anything but a franchise quarterback. Even his own team didn’t believe he was the future, and selected Eli Manning with the first overall pick in the 2004 draft, before trading him to the Giants for Phillip Rivers. However, unlike with Sanchez, no one really seemed too concerned with how Brees’ feelings would be affected. Brees went on to have two breakout seasons in 2004 and 2005 before the Chargers let him walk as a free agent and sign with the Saints in 2006. We all know the rest.

Similarly, Eli Manning’s first three seasons were anything but extraordinary. The incumbent Super Bowl MVP completed 690 of 1,276 passes, while accumulating a 54.0 completion percentage, 8,049 yards, and 54 touchdowns. Manning also threw 44 interceptions during those three years. Again, not exactly numbers that scream elite NFL quarterback, and anyone that lives in New York knows that the majority of fans and writers alike were calling for Peyton’s little brother to be shipped out of town. So, how did Manning respond? By coming out the next season and pulling off the greatest upset in Super Bowl history. Now he is the Giants’ Golden Boy.

Finally, on to the Sanchise. In Sanchez’s first three seasons, he has completed 782 of his 1,414 pass attempts for a completion percentage of 55.3, more than a full point higher than Manning’s, and very close to Brees’s inflated 59.4. Sanchez has also thrown for 9,209 yards, 55 touchdowns, and 51 interceptions. Although his turnover rate is higher than the other two quarterbacks, his yards and touchdowns are higher as well. He’s also rushed for 12 touchdowns throughout those three seasons. In that same time frame, Sanchez has won four of six playoff games on the road, while neither Brees nor Manning could win one between the two of them.

So here we sit at this awkward point in Sanchez’s career. This is the point where Sanchez has done enough to win over the coherent fans, but has made one too many young mistakes to force the media and fair weather fans to call for his head. Whether people realize it or not, this happens everywhere. Brees was run out of town, and Manning was at the cusp of getting his pink slip as well. The non-believers in these two, now elite, NFL quarterbacks looked plenty foolish while Manning and Brees were busy breaking NFL records and winning Super Bowl rings.

So is Sanchez next? Although no one can predict the future, if history tells us anything, it is that most quarterbacks in this league need time to grow and develop. Sanchez’s early success makes him an easy target anytime he struggles the slightest bit. However, just remember that he is not the only one who faced downtimes early in his career. The best of them have and were able to overcome it, while coming out on top, laughing at their critics.

New York Jets Off-Season: Getting Inside Mike Tannenbaum’s Head

Just what exactly has New York Jets GM Mike Tannenabum been thinking this off-season?

At this point in the New York Jets off-season, it is easy to be a little confused, angry and disappointed. Here is a review of what they have done so far –

  • Signed a highly injury prone strong safety, LaRon Landry
  • Signed a highly injury prone wide receiver, Chaz Schilens
  • Traded for a backup quarterback/wildcat option, Tim Tebow
  • Re-signed Sione Pouha and Bryan Thomas
  • Guaranteed Wayne Hunter’s salary next year
  • Held on to Santonio Holmes by guaranteeing his salary the next two years
  • Signed Drew Stanton…then traded Drew Stanton after trading for Tebow
  • Gave Mark Sanchez an overhyped extension that basically didn’t change much to his original contract but brought a wave of publicity with it

So, what the hell is Mike Tannenbaum thinking? Let’s try to figure it out –

Starting on offense, we told you throughout February the Jets would not be spending big money at the wide receiver position opposite of Santonio Holmes. The hiring of Tony Sparano confirmed a commitment to a run heavy offense and with so much already invested in Holmes, it doesn’t make philosophical sense to splurge financially for another receiver. Their approach is taking a low cost risk on a player like Schilens and then seeing how the draft shakes out before exploring the option of bringing Braylon Edwards back.

Do not look for the Jets to take a receiver early in the draft, unless somebody they fall in love with drops into their lap in round 2 or 3. I would expect them to take a receiver with one of their late round picks and then check out Edwards knee in May. If he passes the team’s physical, he can be brought back on a low cost deal and likely provide all the production they’d need from the number two receiver spot, with Schilens providing insurance.

The Tebow trade was clearly not something in the original off-season plans as demonstrated by the Stanton signing. There was speculation about the Jets signing or trading for another running back to compliment Shonn Greene but bringing in Tebow is going to prevent that from happening. He will be a weapon in the running game more than anything and outside of potentially a mid or late round pick, look for the Jets running back depth chart to stay the same.

Tebow’s trade was fueled by Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano’s desire to run and protect the football coupled with the business aspects of it endorsed by Woody Johnson. Tannenbaum saw Tebow become available, had his head coach, offensive coordinator and owner express interest and made it happen. Mark Sanchez was a peripheral thought in all of this, as I do think the organization still believes he could be the franchise quarterback but saw the Wildcat dimension/business aspects of Tebow too valuable to pass it up. Only time will tell, if it was worth it.

At tackle, Tannenbaum probably looked at Hunter’s contract and figured at a minimum he was a good depth player, which he is and something that the Jets badly lacked last year. The hope in the organization is that with a full off-season to learn the position, Vladimir Ducasse will be a viable option at right tackle. Teams don’t like giving up on second round picks after two years, regardless of how awful they looked throughout those two years. At this point, I fully expect the Jets to open camp with Hunter and Ducasse competing for the job, with Austin Howard maybe grabbing a few reps.

If they struggle, the Jets could hope that Vernon Carey is still on the market. He is a veteran who knows Sparano’s system that could immediately hop in or Tannenbaum could swing a trade in August to supplement the position. It is a risky strategy and not one I agree with, but it appears to be the planned approach at the moment.

Defensively, the Jets wanted to pair LaRon Landry and Reggie Nelson as their shiny, new safety duo. Unfortunately, they struck out with Nelson leaving a gaping hole at free safety. The Jets protected themselves from Landry’s injury with how the contract is structured but the defense will suffer if he misses extended periods of time in 2012. I would expect the Jets to seriously consider finding a way to add a free safety in one of the early rounds of the draft and then bring back Jim Leonhard in May or June as veteran insurance. Missing out on Nelson hurt and the Jets are now going to need to rely on a healthy Landry and likely a draft pick to improve the position’s play.

The team hasn’t been shy about their desire to improve the pass rush. It would be an upset at this point if they don’t find away to take a outside linebacker in the first round. The question is only how aggressive will they pursue one? Would they trade up for Melvin Ingram or Quinton Couples? Could they trade back for Andre Branch? Is Courtney Upshaw on the board for them at number 16? The Jets want a young pass rusher to take Bryan Thomas off the field on passing downs and eventually off the field all together. They likely envision a third down defense that prominently features this first round pick opposite of Aaron Maybin, who should only get better in Rex’s system in year two.

One other thing that should be noted, the locker room chaos last year clearly made a huge impression on the Jets front office. Re-signing Sione Pouha was a smart football move but became such a major priority because he was a respected captain last year. The quick re-signing of Bryan Thomas, a longtime good guy veteran of the organization was also a larger priority than it would have in years past. Bringing back Hunter, who despite his on field struggles, is a respected player in the locker room who stood up to Santonio Holmes slacking last year supports the notion of emphasizing the importance of improving the locker room. Finally, while the Tebow trade was primarily motivated by the Wildcat and business, it would be foolish to think his personality didn’t play a factor in it as well.

So what else should you expect the rest of the way from the Jets? I would look for an outside linebacker and safety early in the draft, along with an eventual signing of Braylon Edwards and Jim Leonhard. If the Jets make an addition at right tackle, it probably won’t happen until training camp. It isn’t the flashiest off-season but the Jets are clearly banking on Tony Sparano improving Mark Sanchez’s play and Tim Tebow adding an element to the Jets offense that will make it harder to defend. Rex Ryan is always going to be confident in his defense and I am sure he thinks with a new pass rusher, Landry, and a free safety the group will take major strides from last year.

Finally, what about that extra money the Jets still have? Remember they are going to have to pay Darrelle Revis next off-season to avoid another holdout, along with Dustin Keller and Shonn Greene’s contracts both being up. Those considerations have to be a factor in the Jets spending right now.

Doesn’t cheer you up? Well maybe this will…feels like a hundred years ago, right?

New York Jets: All About Sanchez Now

The success of the New York Jets 2012 season is going to depend on Mark Sanchez more than anybody

You can speculate about what Tim Tebow will or won’t do this season in the New York Jets version of “The Wildcat” or discuss your ongoing angst about how this team still has holes at right tackle, outside linebacker, and safety (and I do nonstop), yet in the end this season will mostly come down to one player’s actions on and off the field, starting quarterback Mark Sanchez.

There are two different versions of Mark Sanchez you probably hear about. There is the Michael Lombardi/Mike Florio version, who portray Sanchez as a bottom five quarterback in the league who is a mental midget. No success the Jets have had in the past three years can be credited to him, only their failures. Then there is the common sense version, led by people like Trent Dilfer (who you know, watch game tape) and who anybody else that has watched every snap of Sanchez’s NFL career can plainly see:

  • Sanchez is a young quarterback, who struggles with consistency. Like any quarterback, if he doesn’t have protection his turnovers and bad decision making increase.
  • His accuracy is his biggest weakness but has steadily improved. Yet, still needs to get better.
  • He is more mobile and a much better athlete than people give him credit for. His arm strength is also not an issue as he has made every throw necessary from a NFL quarterback.
  • Generally, he plays better in bigger spots and has a knack for late game comebacks/success in the two minute drill.
  • He has improved in every statistical category, every year of his career.
  • Sanchez has had four (and will soon be on his fifth) starting pair of wide receivers.
  • His offensive coordinator was thoroughly below average the past three years and he deserves a chance in a new system.
  • Comparatively, to other first round quarterbacks he has had a good amount of success through his first three years and is pacing well compared to a quarterback like Eli Manning.
  • 27-20 regular season record as a starter. 4-2 record in the playoffs.

You can cut it anyway you want, trading for Tebow is a frustrating situation for Sanchez. He will have a backup who is more popular than him and he will be taken off the field for a handfuls of plays throughout the game to run an offense he won’t be part of. No quarterback wants that. Regardless, the amount Tim Tebow is on the field is really in Mark Sanchez’s hands. If he protects the football and produces with the normal offense, Tebow will be nothing more than a glossy sidenote on the Jets season. The Jets will also likely find themselves as contenders in the AFC again.

Make no mistake, if this team is getting anywhere near a Super Bowl, it is because Sanchez, the best quarterback on the team, has a good year and steps up in big moments. An ideal scenario for this team is that Sanchez thrives as a starting quarterback, while balancing a difficult situation on and off the field while Tebow thrives as role player. At the end of the season, you hope a team that is a desperate for a starting quarterback makes an enticing offer to get Tebow and you install Greg McElroy as the long term backup because you know after 2012 that Sanchez is without question your guy.

Most people see Sanchez cowering under the competition to a quarterback who has accomplished a fifth of what he has in the NFL and who simply put is not a better quarterback than him. I wouldn’t write off #6 so easily.

New York Knicks: All About ‘Melo Now

It is time for Carmelo Anthony to make his mark on this city

Carmelo Anthony has had his moments since joining the New York Knicks last season. Unfortunately, they have been overshadowed by an alleged dispute with former head coach Mike D’Antoni and a winning streak that he wasn’t apart of. Yet, now Anthony is part of the Knicks winning 7 of their last 8, moving back to .500 and getting within striking distance of first place in the Atlantic Division…and now, more than ever, Anthony must assert himself as this team’s franchise player.

Amare Stoudemire is likely out until the playoffs begin, if he is lucky and the Knicks happen to get there. Jeremy Lin is banged up and won’t be suiting up tonight against Orlando, the conference’s third best team. Anthony is dealing with a groin pull himself which he gutted through in the fourth quarter and will gut through again tonight against the Magic. It is admirable to see him play through pain, especially when the lifting will be so heavy without his power forward and point guard.

The Knicks have quality role players around Anthony and have learned to win ugly with defense, hustle and rebounding which is a beautiful and welcome sight to basketball fans in this city who have fond memories of the early 90s. Yet, if they are going to get through this brutal stretch of the schedule which is filled with playoff caliber opponents, it must be Anthony who takes the lead on both ends of the floor. The Knicks need their franchise player to carry them to a playoff spot and just maybe a division title.

These are the kind of situations where elite players are made and Anthony knows that.

“A situation like this requires me to step my game up a little bit more, take it up a notch,” Anthony said. “I love moments like this.” – Carmelo Anthony on Monday.

The Knicks brought him here to love moments like this and to thrive in them. There is enough talent around Anthony to make some real noise in the Eastern Conference, now it is up to him to lead the charge.

New York Jets Set For Big Draft

The New York Jets have ten picks in April’s draft and plenty of holes to fill

The New York Jets will head into April’s draft with 10 picks. They have a first round selection (16th overall), second round selection (47th overall), third round selection (77th overall) and then a fifth round selection, three six round selections and three seven round selections. It is worth noting that they cannot trade their compensatory picks, two of which are in the sixth round and two of which are in the seventh round.

So what can we expect from the Jets? Throughout Mike Tannenbaum’s history, he has aggressively pursued trades to acquire starting caliber players using the draft. Whether is was Thomas Jones, Kris Jenkins, Antonio Cromartie, or Santonio Holmes, he isn’t shy about parting with picks to fill needs with veteran players. Tannenbaum also has a history of trading up to acquire players the organization has targeted like Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dustin Keller, Mark Sanchez, and Shonn Greene. Generally, it would be wise not to expect the Jets to stand pat with their ten selections.

The Jets still have holes on both sides of the football, most notably in three locations: right tackle, free safety, and outside linebacker. Outside of that, they could use help at wide receiver, running back and inside linebacker.

The early chatter about the draft has the Jets targeting a pass rusher with their first pick. Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples will both likely be gone by number sixteen, so if the Jets want either badly they will need to trade up into the 7-10 range. Courtney Upshaw could fall to them and if he does, expect them to snap him up. I also wouldn’t be shocked if they moved up a few spots to grab him if he slides into the 12-14 range. Finally, they have taken time to individually work out Clemson’s Andre Branch. He is a player the Jets could trade back into the late 20s to grab and acquire another pick in the process.

Mark Barron, the top safety in the draft, is also likely to be picked somewhere in the 25-35 range and the Jets could consider coupling a trade back for Branch with a trade up from their second round pick to grab Barron. The team could also choose to stay put and target Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith, the second ranked safety in the draft on most boards, with their 44th pick.

Overall, with three picks in the top one hundred and ten picks overall, the Jets need to find 2-3 new starters, whether it is through the draft and, trading picks for veteran players, or going back over the free agent market. There are upgrades out there to Wayne Hunter, Jim Leonhard, Bryan Thomas, and Chaz Schilens, it is just a matter of Mike Tannenbaum pulling the trigger.

New York Knicks: Make Or Break Two Weeks

The New York Knicks face a make or break two weeks, but will they have to do it without Amare Stoudemire?

The New York Knicks, for all their ups and downs, currently sit 3 games out of first place in the Atlantic Division and the highly coveted number four seed that comes with it. They are also 2.5 games out of a seven seed and 5 games out of a six seed. Unfortunately, they also only hold a 1.5 game lead on the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With 17 games left on their schedule, the time to make a move, up or down the standings, is now.

The next two weeks will make or break the New York Knicks season, starting tonight at home against Milwaukee who is the team which sits only 1.5 games behind them for the final playoff spot. Of the Knicks next seven games, five are against teams who will make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference and the last two are against teams right on the outside looking in (the Bucks tonight and Cleveland this Friday).

Complicating matters is the health of Amare Stoudemire’s back. He is questionable for tonight’s game and there are rumors the injury could be more serious than the team is letting on. The Knicks are already without Jared Jeffries for the next two weeks so their depth behind Stoudemire is thin. Look for Josh Harrellson to receive extended work and hopefully pick up some the slack at least in terms of rebounding.

It will be on Carmelo Anthony to pull himself out of his shooting funk and carry a heavier load of the scoring if Stoudemire misses any time. This isn’t last season against Boston in the playoffs when Anthony will have to seemingly take every shot, as he does have capable scorers around him now but he still must lead the way on the offensive side of the court.

Tonight is a critical first step towards burying Milwaukee’s playoff hopes and getting after Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division crown. A loss tonight likely means scrapping with the Bucks for the eight seed the rest of the way and the Knicks don’t have the tiebreaker. This is the kind of game, particularly at home that a player like Carmelo Anthony cannot let the Knicks lose.

Considering their next seven games, tonight is about as close to a must win as it gets…with our without Amare Stoudemire.

New York Jets: Moving Forward From Tebow…

The aftermath of the Tebow press conference and where the New York Jets go from here

Tim Tebow’s press conference didn’t leave us with anything we didn’t already know. He is a class act and easily handled the 40 minutes of questions hurled at him by the media. Unless you are surprised by hearing him say that him and Mark Sanchez have a great relationship, he is going to work his hardest to do whatever the coaches ask him to do, and that faith is a big part of his life, there wasn’t anything newsworthy said today. Tebow said all the right things, which is a good start for him with the New York media.

So now we move on. Tebow is on the Jets. He will either be a successful or unsuccessful role player, push Mark Sanchez to meet his potential or lead to an ugly quarterback controversy…only time will tell. As a Jets fan, I hope it works and I will be rooting for it work. That being said, can we shift to the discussion to the NFL Draft being exactly a month away and the Jets still having many holes to fill?

Perhaps their off-season strategy will be worked around draft weekend and looking to make moves in the dust that settles after that weekend. I do know this team can’t be comfortable with a current depth that boasts Tracy Wilson as the starting free safety, Chaz Schilens as the starting split end, Wayne Hunter as the starting right tackle, and Bryan Thomas, Bart Scott, and Calvin Pace all still starters at linebacker.

Mike Tannenbaum needs to find starters by using his draft picks (the team currently has six and will likely get a few more via compensatory picks), remaining cap space, and whatever trade assets the team has.

When you look at this team needs, you would hope they are building to beat the New England Patriots. They are the team who has owned the division the past decade. They are who represented the AFC in the Super Bowl last year. They are who is preventing the Jets from getting home playoff games on a yearly basis.

From what I have seen, you beat New England by hitting Tom Brady and slowing down their tight ends. Buffalo got the memo and signed Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. It is time for the Jets to beef up their pass rush and add a safety who has some type of hope of slowing down their duo at tight end. Beyond that, it is time to make sure other teams can’t batter Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow by improving their offensive line.

I welcome Tebow to New York but I soon hope to be welcoming an outside linebacker, safety, and right tackle to join him.

Lies And Legacies: The Week Tebow Took New York

Justin recaps the week that took us up to Tim Tebow’s press conference at noon today

It takes too much effort to try and rationalize any of the things that have happened in the past week in the NFL. Sean Payton is going to be on his couch for the year, Gregg Williams is facing what may be a “multi-year” ban from the NFL, and the team that threw for 5000 yards is probably not going to make the playoffs if: the Panthers get a defense, the Buccaneers get an offense, or the Falcons get a little bit of both.

The Jets, on a clownier note, signed Drew Stanton, Matthew Stafford’s backup from Detroit, but something far more complex happened only a fortnight later. Because of the fact that Indianapolis failed miserably without Peyton Manning last year, they are getting the number one draft pick, which they are using on a quarterback, which means Peyton Manning needed to find a new place to play, which is going to be Denver, where Tim Tebow, my vote for least and most human athlete on the planet, played until Thursday.

The deal broke like this: initial news breaks that the Jets are getting Tebow. Mark Sanchez begins pushing half naked women off of him and instantly becomes transfixed on the television. Santonio Holmes opens a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue, Tony Sparano starts pulling out 2008 game film and laughing like some kind of maniacal genius (Dr. Strangelove?), sunglasses and all.

I immediately let it be known that I love this trade for all the wrong reasons. I love the fact that Antonio Cromartie and Tim Tebow will be at some point, talking to each other as teammates. I send text messages to family members, Giants fans, Patriots fans, Cowboys fans, pretty much anyone who has watched more than one game in the past year.

So am I buying into the circus? Yes. Front row seat. Let’s get a few things clear. The Jets got Tebow in a trade, but only hours later it became known that there was a contract issue, the Jets not realizing that they would have to reimburse Denver of a $5 million guaranteed roster bonus. Apparently Tannenbaum was so blinded by faith…eh…that he forgot to even look at the details. Other GM’s instantly chimed in, casting Tannenbaum and the entire office as a bunch of used car salesman who would get laughed out of any legitimate franchise.

They didn’t read the contract? Nonsense says Tannenbaum days later, but let’s keep the narrative going first. So everyone in New York is on pins and needles, Santonio is checking Adam Schefter’s Twitter like a high school ex-boyfriend, Sanchez is on bended knee, thanking whatever deity up there that this thing CAN’T POSSIBLY GO THROUGH with teams like the Rams (who are so desperate for anything relevant they would have given the $5 million in a briefcase handcuffed to Sam Bradford on a lear jet) and the Jaguars (you know, the Jaguars, in Jacksonville, the general area where Tim Tebow became the closest thing to a God on earth by winning a Heisman and two national championships and whose owner has proclaimed he would have taken Tebow number one overall if he was the owner.)

So the Jets start bluffing, claiming no one would be dumb enough to pay $5 million for a backup quarterback who is going to draw a following that is equal parts Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Jeremy Lin. A wholesome following that has decidedly creepy undertones, much like the Tea Party movement. On the surface it sounds fine, but then you talk to someone who genuinely terrifies you in their complete and utter devotion. Cue the Pat Robertson wishing injury on Peyton Manning quotes.

Where were we? Oh yes, so Antonio Cromartie is at this point dropping his phone in a glass of water so he doesn’t send something out that already destroys any hope of camaraderie, Rex Ryan is coming up with lists of local churches in the New Jersey area, and Mike Tannenbaum is doing his best Pawn Stars impersonation. “He isn’t worth $5 million, not here, maybe if you find someone willing to take on the following, which you know puts undue pressure on your entire franchise. No one wants that pressure. Not after last year.”

Word now breaks that it’s going to be down to Jacksonville and New York, the Rams getting shoved out of the conversation because of the simple fact that they are the St. Louis Rams and do nothing particularly well.

This is what some would call the high point of the drama. Jacksonville, where Tim Tebow can take a piss on someone’s lawn and have them smile and say thank you, and New York, home of sex, drugs, and every other sort of temptation known to man. It would be Midnight Cowboy on overdrive. It can’t happen. That’s like having LeBron get a choice of going to Cleveland or the Lakers coming out of the draft.

No, it’s worse than that because Lebron didn’t win college national championships in his home state. To be fair, there is no honest comparison in this century or last.

Ok, so things start to go sideways right about now. It suddenly becomes news that Denver has decided to have a soul about this. They’re going to let Tim Tebow go home, to the south, where according to a family friend, he wanted to go. Or he can go to New York. What? Why even continue to cover this? This is like asking Charlie Sheen to go to Vegas or to Boise for the weekend.
At this point, people are pulling Gator jerseys out of their closet, waving them around, running down to the local bar and screaming “He’s coming home! There is a God!” The lord had apparently intervened, saved the golden boy from the den of vice. He has a choice, and it would be some unholy act of a biblical Judas to choose New York over going home to Jacksonville.

And then the world turns a little faster than usual. Tim Tebow chooses to go to the New York Jets. I begin frantically finding out if this is true, because for the past few hours I was cooking on the rooftop of the Avalon Bowery, indulging in a few of the things Tim Tebow renounced a long time ago. I tried to knock it out of my mind, as even the pros couldn’t figure out which way was forward in any of this. Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, and Tim Tebow? What is this a god damned fantasy draft of good and evil?

So the questions begin. What are the Jets going to charge for tickets? Triple the price of last year? It would be fair. This is like putting Justin Bieber in a Tarantino movie.

Tebow is going to be the backup quarterback, which creates a trifecta of quarterbacks that equates the pretty boy Sanchez with 4 playoff road wins in his first two years, the savior Tebow, who did everything right at the right time to win games (despite throwing incompletions for 3 quarters), and the brains with McElroy, who by the end of the season will have started calling plays himself as Tony Sparano shuffles tight ends, slot receivers and extra lineman like a street hustler hosting a game of chase the ace.

Triple option bunch formation? I’ll take a little of that. Bone formation read option? Give me one of those too. Four wide with McKnight in the backfield? OK.

And so the pressure on Mark Sanchez has gone from LIRR going under the river to being 2 and a half miles below sea level,watching the 4 inch thick glass around you begin to splinter and implode. Although I don’t think Sanchez is going to flounder as grossly as he did last year, I think people are going to get real curious real fast.

I know I’m going to get curious. Will Tebow throw the deep ball? How close will the two playbooks be? Is anyone seriously expecting this to be a top 10 offense? If the Jets grab another pass rusher I’m going to have enough faith in Rex Ryan and his scheme to know that the defense will outplay the offense. But what if Tebow is successful? How long before Judas takes the throne? Is anyone going to care about Mark Sanchez if Tebow has a game winning drive?

There is only one answer for Sanchez. Do not throw interceptions. Do not turn the ball over. Even if your stat line is garbage, you better keep that turnover ratio on the plus side. There is no forgiving Sanchez for throwing an interception his first pass last year.

Which is why I think Sanchez is going to show up bigger (reports already indicate he is adding 5-10 lbs of muscle), smarter (better master this offense before Tebow even opens his playbook), and faster in his decision making. What could aid this? Anything named Cotchery or Edwards.

It’s already being sneered at by everyone in the media, which is probably the best thing that can happen to the Jets. They thrive on beating teams by slowing things down and taking the life out of opposing offenses. The draft is getting close. If there is not a 1st or 2nd round offensive lineman on the Jets draft board, it won’t matter who sits back there. Let Sparano do his thing, for the love of all things holy.