“We don’t look at him as a quarterback,” a second starting Jets player told Manish Mehta about Tebow. “He’s the Wildcat guy."
Only left guard Matt Slauson put his name behind his comments in the report, but his sentiment was similar: "It’s not even close,” Slauson said when asked if Mark Sanchez was the Jets' best QB. “All the other quarterbacks know it. I have all the confidence in Mark. We don’t really have a choice."
Just another chapter in the ongoing Jets' saga, as another season slips away under head coach Rex Ryan.
You might recall that less than a year ago, the Daily News also ran a piece with anonymous Jets players railing on Sanchez -- that one coincided with Peyton Manning's pending release onto the free agent market, with the Jets one of the teams thought to be interested in him.
“So many games, he looked defeated before he ever took the field,” a team source said. “He didn’t have much confidence in what he was about to go do. You could tell throughout the week in practice. He never felt comfortable with some of the things we were doing. It was too much for him.”
Then, as now, there were some who pinned the blame elsewhere, with a large chunk of that finger-pointing aimed at the Jets' receivers. Last season, that group included Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and (for a bit) Derrick Mason. Only Holmes remains in 2012, and he has been out since early October with a foot injury.
"Look at some of the players he’s throwing to -- it’s garbage," one Jets official told the Daily News. Another added that he's seen "better receiving corps in college."
When the Jets made their move for Tebow last offseason, their hope was that his athleticism and somewhat inexplicable ability to produce results would push Sanchez, while providing another element for the offense. Instead, Tebow has been a bit player during a 3-6 start to the season, spending most of his time as a blocker on punts.
Through nine games of the 2012 season, Tebow has 27 rushes for 92 yards and has completed 5 of 6 passes for a measly 40 yards. That's not exactly game-changing.
Nor is it anything beyond what Drew Stanton likely could have provided as Sanchez's backup. The Jets signed the mobile Stanton to a free-agent contract in March, only to trade him to the Colts after Tebow made his way to the Big Apple.
Stanton has yet to see any action behind Andrew Luck, but the numbers he posted as a Lion are better than what Tebow's come up with in his career -- Stanton has a career 55.6 completion percentage and has averaged 5.5 yards per carry; Tebow is at 47.9 and 5.1.
The latest Tebow backlash comes just three days after coach Rex Ryan reportedly shed tears while addressing his team following a 28-7 loss in Seattle. And it's just further evidence that things are far from well within the organization.
Ryan vowed last offseason to improve team chemistry, only to see his players engage in multiple brawls during training camp workouts. The in-house battles are just one of the reasons that both Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum find themselves fighting for their jobs as the season makes its turn down the home stretch.
Jets owner Woody Johnson appears to have no choice but to make changes this coming offseason, perhaps major ones. The list of guys on the chopping block could include Tony Sparano, whose first year as offensive coordinator in New York has been a complete disappointment.
Of course, Sparano (as well as Sanchez and Tebow) has been hamstrung by a roster mostly devoid of talent -- a problem that falls mostly at Ryan's and Tannenbaum's feet. Johnson must use the coming months to decide if this team at least has the building blocks in place to be successful in the near future. If not, then it could be time for a total overhaul, a gutting that includes both the head coach and GM.
The Jets made the playoffs in each of Ryan's first two seasons with the team (2009 and 2010) but regressed to 8-8 in 2011 and will need to rally just to get back to .500 this season. Sanchez has been the starter for all of those campaigns, but his numbers have held relatively steady across the board -- he certainly has not taken the steps forward New York was hoping for when it drafted him No. 5 overall in 2009, then immediately handed him the offensive reins. Tebow's presence was supposed to help with all of these issues -- the lack of firepower on offense, Sanchez's inconsistent play and so on. But as the Daily News' latest report highlights, it has done nothing of the sort.