- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The AFC East blog continues its series on players who have a lot to prove in 2012. Next up is the backup quarterback for the New York Jets.
Tim Tebow, Jets
2011 stats: 11 starts, 1,729 yards, 12 touchdowns, 6 interceptions
What he has to prove: Tebow, first and foremost, has to prove he can be an asset to the Jets, who acquired him in a trade with the Denver Broncos this offseason. New York's coaching staff is behind Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback, but the team wants to find creative ways to get the most out of Tebow's abilities. That includes the Wildcat, special teams and maybe a few surprises. Eventually, Tebow wants to prove that he can be a full-time quarterback. But that’s not the expectation this season in New York unless Sanchez struggles. For now, Tebow must concentrate on being the best overall football player he can be.
Walker's 2012 outlook: I'm more optimistic about Tebow's fit with the Jets than most people. Despite the distractions and circus that come with him, I can understand the Xs and Os of why the Jets think things can work. Tebow is a good football player with solid strength and athleticism. What is not mentioned in the stats is Tebow's 660 rushing yards with Denver last season. The Jets need that from Tebow the most. As I’ve mentioned before, Sanchez is the biggest key to making this all function. If Sanchez is doing his job as the starting (and passing) quarterback, the Tebow experiment can work. But if Sanchez struggles, is benched and gives way to Tebow as the new full-time quarterback, the Jets are flirting with disaster.