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Sun, Feb 7, 2016

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CBSSports.com Senior NFL Columnist

Tebow to Jets adds up to disaster for Tebow, Sanchez ... and Jets


Can Tebow achieve chemistry on a team that has welcomed Holmes, Ryan and Burress? (Getty Images)  
Can Tebow achieve chemistry on a team that has welcomed Holmes, Ryan and Burress? (Getty Images)  

Nothing quite says Tim Tebow like playing for a foul-mouthed coach with a dysfunctional locker room in a city that tears down professional athletes quicker than you can say "fuhgedabodit" and, quite frankly, probably couldn't care less about that wholesome image of his.

Tebow playing for the New York Jets makes about as much sense as somebody in a Manhattan restaurant ordering shrimp and grits with a nice sweet tea.

It just doesn't fit.

The Denver Broncos traded Tebow to the Jets on Wednesday for a fourth-round pick -- also with an exchange of late-round picks -- meaning "Tebowmania" is now in the same city as "Linsanity."

Which one dies first?

My money is on Tebowmania -- for a lot of reasons. Mainly this: Jets fans, who have come to despise incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez, will realize how good Sanchez looks compared to Tebow.

Tebow makes Sanchez look like Joe Namath in his prime.

When I think about Tebow in New York, I get giddy about all the potential scenes to come. Among them:

 Tebow's face the first time coach Rex Ryan goes on an F-bomb-laced tirade.

 Tebow meeting the wonderful locker-room presence that is Santonio Holmes.

 Tebow telling Sanchez he doesn't like the nightlife and prefers to stay home and play Monopoly.

 Jets corner Antonio Cromartie, explaining to Tebow exactly why he didn't want him as a teammate.

 Jets fans cursing him for not beating out Sanchez.

For those of you who say Tebow is a winner, therefore he will play, Sanchez has been to two AFC Championship Games. Top that.

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For those of you who think Sanchez is a bad passer, Tebow has never had numbers like Sanchez has had.

So are the Jets simply bringing in Tebow to compete, or to gimmick up the offense? I say it's the latter. You don't give Sanchez a new deal, even if some of it was because of cap reasons, to sit him down for a kid who last season had a lower completion percentage than 33 quarterbacks in a 32-team league. Two weeks ago, the Jets extended Sanchez's contract by three years, guaranteeing him $20.5 million in 2012 and 2013.

I would imagine Tony Sparano, the Jets' new offensive coordinator whose teams in Miami had as much imagination as your kid's Pop Warner team, will try to revitalize the Wildcat offense he used some with the Dolphins.

That thing is a like a Kardashian sister: Annoying as hell and never seems to go away.

Nothing says creativity like sticking the quarterback, the most important player on the field, wide to the right to block, or at least make the impression he is blocking.

Sparano will likely try and put in some packages with Tebow as a short-yardage quarterback. That makes sense. But it shouldn't be anything more than that.

You don't win with a gimmicked-up offense. The Wildcat had some success when it was a surprise. Once it was figured out, it died a slow, painful death. Why resurrect it now?

I've always believed the definition for the Wildcat offense was this: team that does not have a quarterback.

That's why the talk of Tebow going to New England made me laugh. Could you have imagined Tom Brady being told he was coming out for some version of a gimmick Tebow play?

The Jets have it all wrong here. Sparano shouldn't consider using Tebow in some run-oriented offense. He should allow Sanchez to grow as a passer. I always thought part of the problem for Sanchez was offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who is no longer with the team.

Schottenheimer was far too conservative. The team never let Sanchez have a chance to succeed. It was run, run and now go make a play. That can't work. It's a recipe for quarterback failure.

If the Jets really want a true evaluation of Sanchez, let him throw the ball on early downs. Let the offense get with the times.

The Jets were a running team under Schottenheimer, and didn't get to a Super Bowl. They protected Sanchez too much. In his first year, I got it. Not last season.

Let him go. Don't use Tebow to limit what he can do even more. If that's why Tebow is coming, it's a horrible trade. If it's as a backup, it's OK.

If he's coming to be a short-yardage threat, a special-teams player maybe, then it's OK. But any time you take the ball out of the starting quarterback's hands, to me it means you have no trust in the guy.

An NFL team can't have sustainable success without a legitimate passer. If a coach lacks belief in that guy so much that he has to go out and bring in some back or running quarterback in for 10-15 plays, then he's not the guy. And if you don't have the guy, you aren't winning -- no matter how much mania you bring to a city.

Since Rex Ryan is so into guarantees, I'll make one here for him: If Tebow sees the field for more than five plays in any game, he and general manager Mike Tannenbaum might be looking for work come January.

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.

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