FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The biggest distraction and arguably the biggest letdown in franchise history signed with their divisional rival on Monday afternoon and the New York Jets produced a collective shrug.
Yes, Tim Tebow overshadowed the franchise much of last year by merely being himself. And yes, it can be argued that he was misused and perhaps even better than Jets incumbent starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. And finally, yes, it can be argued that cutting him this past April was both a waste of his talent and yet a shrewd decision by the franchise to move on from the failed experiment.
But what is truly shocking is that Tebow’s signing with the New England Patriots barely registered with the Jets, a team whose penchant for the outlandish produced the very trade that sent Tebow last March from the Denver Broncos to New York in the first place.
On Tuesday prior to the start of the first day of minicamp, Jets head coach Rex Ryan dedicated more time to addressing Tebow questions from the media than his counterpart Bill Belichick would end up spending in New England. In fact, Ryan even included in his opening statement that “I have a funny feeling there’s going to be more questions about former players than there are current players.”
When asked, Ryan also said that he wasn’t concerned or even intrigued about what role Tebow might play for the Patriots. It does raise the question of if the Patriots can find a role for Tebow – whether in the Wildcat or personal punt protector or another position entirely or simply as a quarterback behind starter Tom Brady– and make it work whereas the Jets obviously couldn’t or maybe simply wouldn’t.
“Not really, no,” Ryan said when asked about his curiosity as to how New England might use Tebow. “If they want to replace Brady with him, that’s fine.”
That attitude seems somewhat appropriate from Ryan. If Tuesday’s first day of minicamp is any indication, it is clear that Ryan has enough concerns at the quarterbacks on his own roster than to go on worrying about one that no longer is in his locker room.
To a man, no one on the Jets bashed Tebow or his signing with the Patriots – they might be waiting to do that anonymously later on – but the move didn’t create waves in Tebow’s old locker room with his old teammates.
“Wish him all the best except for twice a year but I’ve got bigger issues to worry about in New England, specifically Vince Wilfork,” center Nick Mangold said. “I don’t know if you’ve seen him; he’s a force to be reckoned with. What goes on on the offensive side of the ball is not too much of my concern.”
Last season with the Jets, Tebow completed 6 of 8 passes for 39 yards and failed to run or throw for a touchdown. None of his snaps as a quarterback came in the conventional offense but only in the Wildcat. He was also used as a personal punt protector and a decoy on offense.
When the Jets acquired Tebow last year, they instantly made him the backup behind Sanchez before even the first snap of the offseason, a move which did nothing to calm the backpages of the New York tabloids from tracking the supposed quarterback competition. But despite Sanchez’s struggles, including a season where he threw more interceptions than touchdowns and saw his QBR rank among the worst in the league, Tebow was never given a chance to start or play beyond a niche role in the offense.
With the Patriots, it is likely that Tebow comes in behind Brady and current backup quarterback Ryan Mallett on the depth chart.
Kristian R. Dyer contributes to Yahoo! Sports and covers the Jets for Metro New York. @KristianRDyer