New York Jets ReSet by Joseph Haas: ADJUSTING THE VOLUME
When it seems like every member of the media has an opinion on your football team, what do players do to maintain their focus on getting better and preparing for the upcoming season? Some may try turning up the volume on their earphones, drowning out the external with something more palatable. Some turn inward, gaining strength from faith in something greater than themselves.
It might be easier to drown out the noise when it’s a reporter or two, angling for a lead on a story.
Maybe even a network, doing their wall-to-wall coverage thing, which can become boring to the point of overkill, manufacturing drama where there is none. What do you do when the President of the United States of America has an opinion on your team? That’s the question Rex Ryan and the New York Jets danced around for most of Friday.
President Barack Obama was a guest on a sports radio show out of Columbus, Ohio when he commented on the Jets potential quarterback controversy between starter Mark Sanchez and backup Tim Tebow. “I don’t like the idea of a quarterback controversy at the start of a season,” The President said, “so if I was a Jets fan, I’d be pretty nervous.” A general statement to say the very least, but when it comes from the leader of the free world, everyone raises an eyebrow. Though I don’t believe there’s a controversy to deliberate, it obviously has legs now that President Obama has weighed in. He had great things to say about both QBs, saying about Sanchez, “(he’s) not Tom Brady yet, but he led them to the playoffs two years in a row.” A fact not lost on fans of the Green & White, but being shutout of the playoffs last season has also left a bitter taste. Sanchez will need a stellar 2012 campaign to avoid the chants of “Tebow! Tebow!” from the stands of MetLife Stadium.
On the Jets new threat, President Obama said “I think Tim Tebow seems to be a wonderful young man and he’s got just a great, winning attitude. He really steps up when things count, but there’s going to be a lot of tension in that situation. So it will be interesting to see how it plays itself out.” Another man, with more of a vested interest than the President, is just as interested in how this plays out. Head Coach Rex Ryan was immediately confronted with the comments made by the President the next day and had a very unspectacular, almost anti-Rex response. “…I respect President Obama and I respect the fact that this is his opinion.” When prodded for a little bit more on the comments by the President, Rex stood his ground and responded with “that’s it,” and a grin! Here’s just another taste of the more buttoned-up Rex. I like that he didn’t take the opportunity to do what he would have done in the past… make some joke and keep the story going.
Starting cornerback and self-proclaimed “second best receiver on the team” Antonio Cromartie didn’t hold back with his response to the comments by the President. “We don’t have a two-quarterback system; we have a one-quarterback system, and that’s with Mark (Sanchez). The Jets fans shouldn’t be worried at all.” I double-checked, Antonio Cromartie did say something this week without putting his foot in mouth. He’s absolutely right! As long as the players involved understand how they’re going to be used, and the team understands who their leader is, how can their possibly be a controversy? Tebow is going to be used on some short-yardage situations in the middle of the field, as well as goal line situations. Sometimes he’ll line up as the QB in a shotgun set (which is NOT the wildcat since Tebow is listed as a QB), sometimes one will be in and the other will be lined up somewhere else on the field. Tebow’s had some success in practice with the short-yardage packages and I can’t wait to see it during live game-action!
Wide receiver Patrick Turner sent a shout out the President’s way, and gave an opinion on his comments as well. “I think this will be the first time a two-quarterback system will work. Tebow, for what he did last year, I felt like he kind of changed the game a little bit. That’s why he’s here. Guys are behind him 100 percent. What he can do is something special.” Turner referred to the Tebow package as “a good counter for what we’re trying to do.” That is a great way to look at what the Jets are trying to do with Tebow. They aren’t looking to have Tebow take the starting job from Sanchez, they want both to complement each other. Tebow brings to the table a skillset that may reduce the incredible amount of three and outs we were forced to endure last season.
Rex Ryan said it beautifully, “Mark Sanchez is our starting quarterback, but we have an athlete and special talent in Tim Tebow that allows us to do different things that maybe other teams don’t have. So we’re going to play Tim Tebow because it helps us, it’s going to help our football team win games.” Now I’ve got the Jets at 8-8 for this season, but let’s not forget that the MetLife co-tenants won the Lombardi trophy with just a 9-7 record last year. Let’s hope Gang Green can harness some of that energy and make a push for the postseason!
Photo: Tebow giving the fans what they want!
Contact Joseph Haas and follow the conversation on twitter @jerseyhaas
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