Only 24 hours after Peyton Manning was introduced as Denver's newest quarterback, the artist formerly known as the Mile High Messiah was, as expected, excommunicated from the House of Elway. This upcoming season, the Tebow dog-and-pony show will open for business in a city where, coincidentally enough, he will play second fiddle to another Manning, Eli.
Headline writers in New York just hit the jackpot.
The media magnet, acquired for a fourth-round pick Wednesday, definitely loses steam from a fantasy perspective, but not completely. Mark Sanchez's maddening inconsistencies last year splintered the Jets' rabid fan-base, leaving many questioning whether the former first-round pick is a viable NFL starter. With Tebow in tow, it's clear, Rex Ryan, though publicly supportive of Sanchez, may be losing his patience. An open competition this summer for the starting gig is a foregone conclusion. Because of Tebow's leadership, gamesmanship and running tenacity, he will likely emerge as the frontrunner if such a situation arises. Remember, Sanchez didn't exactly keep the team glued together last year.
If Tebow seizes the reins in training camp, he could perform quite well within Ryan's system. Though Brian Schottenheimer is no longer calling the shots on offense, former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, the new OC, will likely push a ground-and-pound philosophy, a system Ryan desperately tried to revive a season ago with only marginal success. Injuries and poor execution by the offensive line crippled the ground game. Just ask Shonn Greene enthusiasts. As a team, the Jets averaged a lowly 3.8 yards per carry, the third-worst mark in the league. Overall, they ran an uncharacteristic 43-percent of the time. Ball control will be emphasized in 2012.
That's where Tebow steps in.
Obviously, the former Heisman winner continues to be a work in progress in the passing department. He would overthrow the Jolly Green Giant on a 15-yard post. Still, he made a few strides last year. And his development as a passer should only improve with time. However, his legs, not his arm, are attractive to fantasy owners, and likely to Ryan. His strengths mesh perfectly with the Jets' conservative mentality. He may only be a gimmick, "Wildcat" option. After all, the Jets recently signed Sanchez to an extension worth $40 million, $20.5 million of it guaranteed. But if Tebow can wrest away control from Sanchez, he will again finish near the QB top-15. Recall in 11 starts with the Broncos last year he averaged 18.8 fantasy points per game, the 17th-best mark among passers. With Santonio Holmes and safety net Dustin Keller to target, he could be even better. For now, consider Tebow a quality QB2 worthy of an eleventh hour pick in 12-team drafts. With a full-time gig he's capable of becoming a valuable bargaining chip at the trade table.
Let the media circus begin.
(UPDATE: After a wild day, we finally have a resolution. The Jets and Broncos have finalized a deal. Denver now sends a seventh-round pick in exchange for a fourth and sixth. Sanchez, you are officially on the hot seat)
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- Mark Sanchez
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