The Tim Tebow faithful are going to have a tough time with this one: The New York Daily News has consulted more than a dozen of Tebow's Jets teammates and officials, and their assessment of The Chosen Quarterback is not a kind one.
One unnamed teammate whom the Daily News identified as a defensive starter was blunt: "He's terrible." Others were more nuanced, saying that Tebow has not shown significant growth in his skills since arriving in New York in March.
Here's the problem, though: The Jets are 3-6, a perpetual joke of a franchise, and so anyone that could possibly, maybe, potentially stem that avalanche is getting a look. But most Jets believe Tebow doesn't deserve that look.
Guard Matt Slauson, who actually had the stones to put his name to his comments, was unequivocal in his support of incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez, saying the distance between him and backups Tebow and Greg McElroy is "not even close ... We don't really have a choice." Oh, and about those backups? "We have Greg ... and we have an athlete," Slauson told the Daily News.
Related NFL video: Rex Ryan defends Tim Tebow
The Jets interviewed by the Daily News all played variations on the same tune: Tebow is a gimmick, a specialized-use quarterback, a Wildcatter who wouldn't be able to handle the game-long grind of the quarterback position. Granted, Tebow did have success in Denver, and he does bring those mysterious "intangibles" that somehow help teams to win games.
But anyone expecting Tebow to step into the starting role anytime soon might want to start saving their wishes for Christmas. "It would take extreme poor play [on the part of Sanchez] like a five-interception game" for Tebow to start, said an individual the Daily News termed "a prominent member of the organization." "Something where it was just ridiculous. It would take Mark to totally just [censored] the bed and become unglued."
Now, the usual caveats about anonymous sources apply here. In this case, anonymity seems less a need to protect one's job, and more a veil to express frustration over the Tebowmania that will not die. Still, until the Jets start winning with Sanchez, the calls for Tebow salvation will continue.
UPDATE: Jets head coach Rex Ryan addressed the anonymous comments in his Wednesday press conference:
"If you're going to make a negative comment, that's fine. We never say that it always has to be a bed of roses. But again, put your name to it. I think people will respect you a lot more."
When asked if he addressed the issue with his team, Ryan responded, "Did I address it? I absolutely addressed it. Because I think it's a cowardly thing. If you're not going to put your name to it, I think that's about as cowardly of a thing as there is. I even mentioned that. I said, 'Look, if …' Well, I don't want to get into specifics of what I said. But I did address it with our football team. I absolutely did."
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
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