New York Jets: Tebow Time

New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch says Tim Tebow would have been better off playing anywhere but with the New York Jets.

Tisch told TMZ he thinks Tebow, who was released last month, might still be playing if the Jets had not traded for him in March 2012.

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
AP Photo/Bill KostrounTim Tebow threw 14 passes in a preseason game against the Giants, but he attempted just eight passes during the regular season.
"I feel badly for the guy," Tisch said Sunday night in Los Angeles when stopped by TMZ as he was getting into his car. "Had another team picked him up after the Broncos, maybe he'd have a career. I think him going from the Broncos to the Jets was not in anybody's best interest."

Tebow attempted a total of eight passes and played sparingly with the Jets last season. The Jets never seemed to know how to use Tebow, who managed to consistently make headlines and back pages.

The Giants -- players and owners -- were amused with how Tebow garnered so much of the media attention in training camp last year while the Giants were the defending Super Bowl champions.

Less than a year later, Tebow is looking to get back in the NFL.

"I do feel badly for him," Tisch said. "I hope he plays football. I think he's got talent and I think he is probably a decent guy and not a bad quarterback. I sincerely wish him all the best."

A game-changer: Tisch said he also likes the Giants' recent addition of linebacker Aaron Curry. Tisch thinks the fourth overall pick in the 2009 draft can reach his potential with the Giants.

"He's got such an athletic talent," Tisch said. "I think he is going to do a really good job. I know he is going to be very focused in these [OTAs] through training camp. I'm glad we got him. I think he can be a real game-changer."

Tisch also is thrilled with the Giants' draft.

"I'm very happy with the draft," Tisch said. "We don’t draft sexy but we draft for the positions we feel that we need players. [Tom] Coughlin is a great coach and Jerry Reese is a great GM, so I am very happy. It all comes out in training camp."

Hey, rook, here's Tebow's number

May, 12, 2013
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When former Tennessee wide receiver Zach Rogers reported to the Jets' rookie minicamp, he was assigned one of the most popular numbers in the NFL -- 15. It took him, oh, about a nanosecond to make the connection.

Tim Tebow's number.

[+] EnlargeZach Rogers
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsZach Rogers is the new No. 15.
"Yeah, I remember him wearing it," Rogers said, alluding to Tebow's ill-fated season with the Jets.

Funny part is, Rogers got a chance to meet Tebow during the offseason. He actually caught passes from him one weekend in Nashville, where Tebow, on one of his many workout stops across America, trained with a quarterback coach.

"He threw to us," Rogers said. "He's a great guy. I wish him the best."

You might say Rogers is a Tiny Tim. After 6-foot, 172 pounds, he's 78 pounds lighter than Tebow's 2012 playing weight.

"He's a big dude," Rogers said, "but I'm going to try to fill [the uniform] as best as I can."

Rogers, an undrafted free agent, received a first-day shout out from Rex Ryan, who lauded his ability as a slot receiver. He caught a lot of balls over the first two days of the rookie camp, doing what slot receivers do -- finding ways to get open over the middle.

Rogers was a fine receiver at Tennessee, making 32 receptions for 491 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Those numbers don't jump off the page, but you have to consider he was part of a receiving corps that include Cordarrelle Patterson (first-round pick, Vikings) and Justin Hunter (second round, Titans). Obviously, he was overshadowed -- and didn't mind.

"I like flying under the radar," he said. "That's been my motto since coming out of high school. I'll stick with that."

Tebow excluded from musical QBs

April, 1, 2013
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No fewer than 14 quarterbacks have changed teams this offseason, with four projected starters and 10 No. 2s in that group. Matt Flynn, Colt McCoy and Carson Palmer (reportedly close to being dealt to the Cards) are the latest. Of the 14, only two have won a playoff game -- Matt Hasselbeck and Alex Smith.

Nobody, it appears, wants Tim Tebow, who has a playoff win and an 8-6 record as a starter. The Jets are shopping Tebow, but they can't find a taker. Obviously, his shortcomings as a passer are a big reason, but the entire New York debacle has tarnished his reputation. It's like he's radioactive and no one wants to get near him, which is what happens when you put a limited, over-hyped quarterback in the biggest media market. Nice guy, though.

Some personnel types felt the 49ers would've been a logical landing spot for Tebow, backing up Colin Kaepernick and being able to run the read-option, but they traded Monday for McCoy. So much for that.

Other potential fits? The Seahawks need a backup. Pete Carroll is down to one quarterback, Russell Wilson, joking Monday on Twitter that Seattle oldies Jim Zorn and Dave Krieg are trying out. Carroll called Tebow a first-round talent before the 2010 draft, but he recently told the New York Daily News that Tebow was a "major distraction" for Mark Sanchez. Don't bet on Tebow showing up in Seattle.

Chicago? The Jets' former quarterbacks coach, Matt Cavanaugh, has the same position with the Bears. Sorry, but it's hard to imagine Jay Cutler being cool with the idea of coming off the field for a handful of plays. Tebow's former coach with the Broncos, Josh McDaniels, is the Patriots' offensive coordinator. Tom Brady's backups are Ryan Mallett and Mike Kafka, neither of whom is entrenched. Bill Belichick probably could figure out a way to use Tebow, but he'd have to decide if it's worth the baggage that comes along with him.

The Bucs are an interesting team. Josh Freeman is the incumbent, but he's heading into the final year of his contract. His backups are Dan Orlovsky and Adam Weber. Tebow would be a huge draw in the state of Florida. Hey -- who knows? -- maybe the Jets are holding on to Tebow to include him in a Darrelle Revis package.

Here are the 14 quarterbacks who changed teams. As you can see, it's hardly a "Who's Who?"

Projected starters: Flynn (Raiders/trade), Kevin Kolb (Bills/free agent), Palmer (Cards/proposed trade) and Smith (Chiefs/trade).

Likely No. 2s: Jason Campbell (Browns/free agent), Matt Cassel (Vikings/free agent), Chase Daniel (Chiefs/free agent), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Titans/free agent), Bruce Gradkowski (Steelers/free agent), Hasselbeck (Colts/free agent), Josh Johnson (Bengals/free agent), Luke McCown (Saints/free agent), McCoy (49ers/trade) and Drew Stanton (Cards/free agent).

Arena League extends invite to Tebow

March, 17, 2013
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If Tim Tebow can't find a job in the NFL, he can always return home to play for ...

The Orlando Predators.

Of the Arena Football League.

Predators owner Brett Bouchy told the Orlando Sentinel he'd love to sign Tebow if he's not on an NFL roster for the 2013 season. Tebow is an icon in the state of Florida and would draw huge crowds in Orlando, not far from Gainesville, where he made his legend as a Florida Gators quarterback.

"Tim would certainly want to first exhaust his opportunities in the NFL, but we'd love to have him," Bouchy told the newspaper. "I think he would definitely improve as a quarterback in our league. Kurt Warner told me once that when he got back to the NFL after playing in the Arena League, the NFL game was like slow motion. Everything in the Arena League is just so much faster and quicker and predicated on accuracy. Whenever Tim is willing, we have a contract waiting for him to sign."

For now, Tebow remains on the Jets' roster, along with four other quarterbacks -- Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy, David Garrard and Matt Simms. The Jets have been trying to trade Tebow, and they likely will continue to do so at the NFL meetings, which begin Sunday in Phoenix. Failing a trade, they're expected to release him.

Despite incessant criticism, Tebow has maintained that he wants to remain a quarterback in the league. The growth of the read-option attack would seem to help his chances, but we all know there are other factors that might cause teams to shy away from him. The Jets and Jaguars were the only teams willing to trade for him last year, and the Jaguars already have stated they no longer have an interest.

Tebow: Don't know where I'm headed

March, 11, 2013
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Tim Tebow sounds like he has already moved on from the Jets.

Speaking at a function Saturday night in Naples, Fla., Tebow told a crowd of about 1,200 that he has no idea where he'll be playing in 2013.

"I may not know where I'm going next, but I know what's guiding me," he said, according to Naplesnews.com.

Tebow is under contract to the Jets (how many times have you heard that?), but his days with the team are numbered. They're trying to trade him, according to sources, but there's little chance of them finding a taker. Ultimately, they'll end up releasing him and he'll become the most talked-about free agent who played in less than 100 snaps last season.

On Monday, Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said he had a "long discussion" with Tebow, admitting he has spent time trying to figure out ways to incorporate Tebow into his offense. That's just PC talk, of course. The Jets are ready to move on. So, too, is Tebow.

Tim's next stop: 49ers? Anyone? Bueller?

March, 7, 2013
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The new league year begins in five days ... and it's all quiet on the Tim Tebow front. Strange.

GM John Idzik create a mild stir Monday when, on a call with season-ticket holders, he gave a convoluted answer on Tebow's future with the Jets, and it came out sounding like there's a chance Tebow could go to training camp with the team.

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
Rich Kane/Icon SMITim Tebow was used mostly as a runner in 2012, throwing just eight passes.
That won't happen. The Jets are actively shopping Tebow, according to league sources. Failing a trade, they will release him.

"I don't see anyone trading for Tebow," said an opposing personnel director, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "If the Jets get compensation, that's impressive."

Who would sign him as a free agent? Would anybody sign him? The personnel director speculated the 49ers could be a landing spot. They run the read-option offense with Colin Kaepernick and, once the Alex Smith-to-Kansas City trade becomes official March 12, the Niners will need a backup quarterback.

Could the Jets include Tebow in a Darrelle Revis package to the Niners? Now we're really playing Fantasy Football, although there has been a lot of that going on lately in these parts.

A small sampling of league executives offered up a few possible destinations for Tebow: the Eagles (Chip Kelly's spread offense), the Patriots (former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is the OC), the Bears (past associations with Marc Trestman and Matt Cavanaugh) and the Cards (Tebow has been working out in Arizona).

At this point, it's all speculative, but Tebow's next stop will be one of the most intriguing offseason storylines. The Jets better hope he doesn't land on their 2013 schedule, because games against scorned ex-Jets usually don't work out well for them. Kerry Rhodes is still is smiling.

Is Tebow the next to go? Revis?

February, 20, 2013
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Tuesday's salary-cap purge, which created nearly $31 million in cap relief, became national news, with some pundits portraying the four veteran cuts as new GM John Idzik taking the Jets in a new direction. That's kinda sorta true, but also know this:

These moves were set in stone as far back as late last fall, when it became apparent the Jets weren't going anywhere in 2012. If Mike Tannenbaum had kept his job, he would've made the exact same moves. These were organizational cap cuts, not one guy deciding on a whim. No one was blindsided here, not the players, not even the media, which had been reporting for several weeks that Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith and Jason Smith would be released.

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesTim Tebow's time with the Jets is drawing to a close.
Now the question is, what's next? The Jets are approximately $5.7 million under the cap (that number is fluctuating because the cap amount hasn't been set), and they will create more room before the start of the league year on March 12.

Idzik has moved past the no-brainer stage of his offseason. Up next on his agenda:

1. He will make a decision on backup QB Tim Tebow ($2.6 million base salary). The Jets will try to shop him at this week's scouting combine. The first day they can trade him is March 12, so they might keep him until then with the hope that they can swing a deal. Chances are, no one will bite, so they'll end up releasing him.

2. He has to resolve the Darrelle Revis saga. The star cornerback is due a $1 million roster bonus on March 15, so you'd think they'd make a move before then. The Jets have three primary options: Let him play out his deal in 2013, extend his contract for mega-money or trade him. This will be one of the hottest stories at the combine.

3. Idzik will approach a few players about restructuring their contracts. The most likely candidates are LB David Harris (team-high $13 million cap charge), WR Santonio Holmes ($12.5 million), CB Antonio Cromartie ($10.8 million), LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson ($10.7 million) and NT Sione Po'uha ($6.2 million).

QB Mark Sanchez ($12.9 million) could be a candidate, but it doesn't make sense to push his money into future years, considering his tenuous position on the team. They can make a relatively clean break from him after 2013 if they keep his contract as is. There's a downside to restructuring. It's the credit card approach; you save now, but pay later. The Jets should try to avoid that as much as possible.

4. Idzik will address his own free agents, ramping up talks with agents this week in Indianapolis. The Jets have 12 unrestricted free agents, including eight starters. They appear to be most interested in retaining DT Mike DeVito, TE Dustin Keller and perhaps S LaRon Landry, depending on his price. They also have to make a decision on two key restricted free agents, RT Austin Howard and TE Jeff Cumberland. They have to decide which tender to give Howard -- first-round ($2.9 million) or second-round ($2 million).

Positional analysis: Quarterback

February, 4, 2013
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The 2012 season came to an end Sunday night with Super Bowl XLVII, so we turn our attention to 2013 with a nine-part analysis of the Jets -- a position-by-position breakdown as we head toward the scouting combine and free agency:

[+] EnlargeMark Sanchez
Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY SportsAre you ready for another season of Mark Sanchez?
QUARTERBACK

2012 depth chart: Mark Sanchez (starter), Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy.

Overview: The season was, in a word, terrible. Sanchez committed 26 turnovers, lost his job, regained it because of a McElroy concussion and finished with another poor performance. Tebow never got a chance, in part, because he clashed with coordinator Tony Sparano, who either didn't know how to use him or didn't want to use him. It truly was a three-quarterback circus, mismanaged by Rex Ryan, who nearly paid with his job.

Free agents: None.

2013 personnel preview: The position will have a different look. The plan is to find a short-term fix while developing someone for the future. Tebow wants out, and he'll get his wish. It'll be an open competition in training camp, with Sanchez battling the most competent, cost-effective veteran they can find. The options include Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn, Matt Moore and, perhaps, Alex Smith, although he probably will be too rich for the Jets' blood.

If new GM John Idzik picks a quarterback on the second day of the draft, it could be curtains for McElroy. Idzik's ultimate wish, of course, is to strike gold with another Russell Wilson.

Salary-cap situation: Sanchez has a $12.8 million cap charge, and they can't unload him because of an $8.25 million guarantee. Basically, they're stuck in a stale marriage, hoping new OC Marty Mornhinweg can work a miracle with the former franchise-type QB. Sanchez's cap number is so high it will prevent them from acquiring an expensive alternative -- not that there are any surefire solutions out there.

Sunday notes: Rex's blind spot -- offense

February, 3, 2013
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Looking at the Jets and the NFL in our expanded, Super Bowl edition:

1. Tim-sanity: Since the season ended, we've come to learn that the relationship between Tony Sparano and Tim Tebow was strained, and that Sparano's lack of faith in Tebow was a big reason why he didn't play much, according to sources. This raises a larger issue: Where was Rex Ryan in this? Ryan gave autonomy to Sparano, just as he did with Brian Schottenheimer, but he's the head coach and he should decide playing time. Ryan's expertise is defense -- we get it -- but he'll never be a complete head coach until he takes control of the entire team.

Former special-teams coach Mike Westhoff discussed this topic the other day on ESPN New York 98.7 FM, offering a candid (what else?) evaluation of Ryan in this area. "Maybe he has to be more forceful in getting his philosophy across," Westhoff said. "If he doesn't feel someone is doing it a particular way, he'd better step in there and say, 'This is what we have to do.' You can't keep going through coordinators."

It's an excellent point. Ryan has tried in recent years to become more involved in the offense, but he has to do more than show his face in meetings. He needs to take charge and do it his way; time is running out.

2. The shadow of Revis: You're a disgruntled Jets fan, preparing to watch the 44th consecutive Super Bowl that doesn't include your favorite team. That's no fun, so you're wondering how Ravens-49ers can impact the Jets. Here's how: If the 49ers lose the game and their secondary gets torched by Joe Flacco, it will create a groundswell of sentiment for them to trade for CB Darrelle Revis. He'd be the proverbial missing piece.

The 49ers are an aggressive team with the ammunition to pull off that kind of trade. They have a bargaining chip in backup QB Alex Smith, who, despite what owner Jed York said the other way, is done in San Francisco. They will try to trade him before April, when his $7.5 million salary becomes guaranteed. If they can't, they'll release him. The Jets surely would consider dealing Revis for Smith and a first-round pick (31st or 32nd). Unless they're willing to go heavy on QB salaries in 2013 -- remember, they're into Mark Sanchez for $8.25 million -- the Jets probably have to restructure Smith's contract. He has two years left on his deal. Keep this in mind if Flacco gets hot.

2a. Core of the Revis issue: Unless new GM John Idzik has a different philosophy than the previous administration, the Jets won't be willing to satisfy Revis' demand to become the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. Their stance, shared by many teams, is that cornerbacks aren't worth as much as pass rushers. They'll make him the highest-paid corner (he's already close to it at $11.5 million per year), but it's hard to imagine them going into the $16 million-a-year neighborhood -- unless Idzik revamps the organization's value system.

3. Caponomics: Much has been said and written about the Jets' salary-cap plight. But are the problems really that bad? This year will be a struggle, no doubt, but they have only $5 million in guaranteed money committed to the 2014 cap, according to a source. That's when the Sanchez and Santonio Holmes guarantees will be off the books.

4. Mike-crophone Tannenbaum: Former GM Mike Tannenbaum spent the week in New Orleans, doing interview after interview on radio row. Clearly, he's angling for a job in the media. He gave scripted answers to all the tough questions, but there was a moment of candor in an interview with a Boston radio station. The hosts grilled about him the highly criticized Sanchez contract extension. "That's one of the reasons why I'm sitting here today," Tannenbaum cracked.

4a. Brad on the brain: I'm tired of hearing Tannenbaum drop Brad Smith's name every time he's asked about Tebow. The reason for the trade, he explains, is they wanted a replacement for Smith in the Wildcat. Wait a minute, when did Brad Smith become Emmitt Smith? In his final season with the Jets (2010), Smith carried the ball a grand total of 38 times. So what Tannenbaum is saying is, he was willing to live with the Tebow circus just to replace 38 carries. That's not what you call sound risk-reward management.

4b. Mad Mike: Tannenbaum also spent a lot of time defending the cap situation. In three weeks, he said, the entire world will see his space-clearing plan unfold. Plan? The Jets will clear $30 million by releasing Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Eric Smith and Jason Smith. That would put them about $10 million under the cap, but then what? With less than 40 veterans under contract, they'd still be in a tight situation.

5. LT speaks (again): I know people are tired of hearing LaDainian Tomlinson take shots at his former team -- he's become the new Joe Namath -- but the man doesn't sugar-coat his opinions. On ESPN New York 98.7 FM, he was asked if Sanchez can snap out of his funk and become a winning QB again. Tomlinson: "Can he do it? Man, I don't think so."

6. Deer, Ray -- go away: Ravens LB Ray Lewis is an iconic player, but his act is wearing thin. Has there ever been such a legendary team leader so absorbed with himself? He's such a contradiction. Lewis has the rare ability to galvanize a team, yet he morphs into the ultimate "me" guy with his pregame "Squirrel" dance. He seemed to relish the attention from AntlerGate -- his reported use of a deer-antler spray that naturally produces a banned substance connected to HGH. Lewis denied the report. Forget Pinnochio; if Lewis' nose turns red and it starts glowing, we'll know if he's lying about the deer-antler stuff.

7. Hatched from the Parcells nest: The man behind the 49ers' success is GM Trent Baalke, who began his career as a Jets scout. He was about to give up on his football dream when he received a call from former Jets personnel man Dick Haley, who interviewed him and offered him a job. Baalke worked three years with the Jets (1998-2000), catching the eye of then-coach Bill Parcells, who was selected Saturday night to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

One thing about Parcells: He surrounded himself with talented people. Three members of scouting/personnel went on to become GMs and six assistant coaches became head coaches in the NFL and/or college.

8. Jet setters: Only eight players in Super Bowl XLVII have previous Super Bowl experience, and two of them are former Jets -- Ravens S James Ihedigbo and 49ers C Jonathan Goodwin (Saints).

9. Super Bowl on TV: Interesting nugget from "Sports on Television," a wonderfully informative book written by former ESPN producer and current Syracuse professor Dennis Deninger: Only 36 percent of American homes watched Jets-Colts in Super Bowl III -- the lowest-rated Super Bowl in history. Two days before the game, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, concerned the Super Bowl would lose its appeal because of the perceived disparity between the AFL and NFL, announced the league was considering a new postseason structure that would allow two NFL teams to meet in the Super Bowl. It was yet another insult directed toward the Jets and the AFL. Everything changed, of course, after Joe Namath got through with the Colts.

10. Enjoying the holiday: For the first time in 24 years, I'm not covering the Super Bowl. I intend to find out why America is so fascinated with Super Bowl Sunday. Pass the chicken wings, please.

Sunday notes: Woody says Tim not his call

January, 20, 2013
1/20/13
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Apologize for the delay of game. A look at the Jets and the NFL on championship Sunday:

1. Tebow talk: The perception of the Tim Tebow trade is that it was the brainchild of owner Woody Johnson, but that's not how it was presented to at least one GM candidate in his interview with the Jets.

Former Broncos GM Ted Sundquist, who interviewed for the job nine days ago, said Johnson told him it wasn't his idea. According to Sundquist, Johnson said the trade was "forced" on them -- meaning him and team president Neil Glat, who also participated in the interview. That makes it sound like Johnson was blaming former GM Mike Tannenbaum for the Tebow debacle; in a sense, Johnson did exactly that, firing Tannenbaum. Johnson also said, according to Sundquist, that he eventually "jumped on board" with the idea, deferring to his football people.

"They realized it was divisive and hard on the locker room, and they wanted an exit strategy," Sundquist told ESPNNewYork.com, sharing the vibe he received from Johnson and Glat. The Jets are expected to part ways with Tebow next month.

[+] EnlargeTarvaris Jackson
Andrew Weber/US PresswireTarvaris Jackson is one possible addition to the Jets' QB mix.
2. Idzik's QB plan: New GM John Idzik has to find a quarterback to replace and/or compete with incumbent Mark Sanchez. There has been a lot of speculation about Idzik, a former Seahawks executive, trading for Seahawks backup Matt Flynn. According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, Idzik is fond of former Seahawks starter Tarvaris Jackson, who spent last season on the Bills' bench. That wouldn't be a cure-all; Jackson is 17-17 as a starter with 38 TDs and 35 interceptions. The upside is that Jackson would come cheaply. The Jets are cap-strapped at QB because Sanchez is eating up $12.8 million in cap room.

3. QB plan, Part II: Naturally, the soon-to-be-announced hiring of former Eagles coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has fueled Michael Vick speculation. That would be a terrible move for the Jets and, from what I hear, Idzik doesn't want to go there. There's also this: Neither Vick nor Mornhinweg has the desire to reunite, according to Schefter.

4. The "vulnerable" Patriots: It's hard to believe, but there was a point in the season when the Jets and Patriots were on level ground. Both teams were 3-3 when they met in Week 7. The Jets should've won that game, but Stephen Hill dropped a key pass, Tony Sparano got conservative and they lost, 29-26, in OT. There was plenty of postgame chatter about the Patriots' sudden vulnerability and how they looked ... well, mortal. I have to admit, I thought so, too.

But here they are, playing in yet another AFC Championship Game. Year after year, Bill Belichick's teams play their best ball late in the year. That's a tribute to his coaching. Some teams get worse as the season progresses, the Patriots get better. It's not an accident.

5. Injury update: Good news for the Jets. NT Sione Po'uha, who underwent an MRI exam after the season on his troublesome back, doesn't need surgery, according to a source. The plan right now is rehab.

6. Dungy an Idzik fan: Former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy gave a glowing endorsement of Idzik. Remember, they worked together for several years in Tampa, building the team that eventually won a Super Bowl under Jon Gruden. Dungy and Idzik have remained close.

"John Idzik was a big part of our success in Tampa and I believe he'll do a great job in New York," Dungy said in a statement released by NBC Sports. "He is extremely bright and he knows talent. He's been around football all his life and he understands what it takes to win the NFL. From a coach's perspective he was great to work with because he was so knowledgeable but was also a good listener. John is a high quality person and the Jets are very fortunate to have him."

7. No Manti: I'd be shocked if the Jets drafted Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o with the ninth overall pick, and I'm not saying that opinion on the hoax/controversy. Two reasons: Inside linebacker isn't a "money" position. When you're picking that high, you need a difference maker. Also, the Jets have two inside 'backers, David Harris and Demario Davis, likely to replace Bart Scott.

8. Cap vs. no cap: The Jets ended up hiring a so-called "cap guy" in Idzik. That's interesting because two candidates told me the search committee (Johnson, et al) showed little interesting in discussing the team's salary-cap issues during their respective interviews.

9. Championship picks: I like the Ravens over the Patriots, 24-21. The Patriots will be so concerned with Joe Flacco's deep ball that they'll leave only seven in the box to defend the run -- and that'll create opportunities for RB Ray Rice. I like the Falcons over the 49ers, 31-27, in the NFC Championship Game. I think Colin Kaepernick crashes to earth. He won't have as many running opportunities against the Falcons as he did against the Packers. The Falcons play more zone than the Packers, meaning more eyes on Kaepernick.

10. Sorry, Jets fans: If the Patriots manage to win, you just know they'll win the Super Bowl because the Giants won't be there to knock them off. And that would mean another ring for Rex Ryan to kiss.

Is Kaepernicking the new Tebowing?

January, 15, 2013
1/15/13
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Madden Tebowing-KaepernickEA Sports, USA TODAY SportsNote: No photos exist of Tim Tebow Tebowing in a Jets uniform -- he never did it, not once -- so we were forced to borrow this Madden simulation instead.
Colin Kaepernick is all the rage on social media these days.

As fans upload pictures of themselves in droves posing like the San Francisco 49ers' biceps-kissing quarterback, the question out there this week in the Twitterverse has all of a sudden become: Is Kaepernicking the new Tebowing?

We'd argue the question here in the Big Apple is a bit different. We wouldn't blame a single New Yorker for scratching his or her head and asking this question instead: What the heck is Tebowing?

SportsNation

Is Kaepernicking the new Tebowing?

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Discuss (Total votes: 7,460)

Kaepernick has brought his end zone celebration all the way to the NFC Championship Game this weekend in Atlanta. Meanwhile, Tim Tebow, for all the hoopla he created here upon his arrival last summer, spent the season as a seldom-used backup on a losing team that didn't even come close to sniffing the postseason.

And one other thing: He never once Tebowed in a Jets uniform.

That's right. The best Tebow could muster as a Jet was a shirtless run in the rain during a season in which he failed to score a single touchdown.

Sure, when Tebow came here, Twitter exploded with Tebowing Jets fans, just like all the Kaepernicking 49ers fans are doing right now.

So is Kaepernicking the new Tebowing? Shudder to think, Niners fans.

Because the only way the answer could be yes is if, on Feb. 3, the Falcons are playing in the Super Bowl.

And Colin Kaepernick never scores a touchdown again.

Playing-time analysis: QB/RB

January, 9, 2013
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To wrap up the season, we've been reviewing the snap counts for every unit. Here's a breakdown of quarterbacks and running backs (based on a total of 1,076, according to the official NFL stats):

QUARTERBACK

Mark Sanchez: 940 snaps/87 percent
Greg McElroy: 90 snaps/8 percent
Tim Tebow: 73 snaps/7 percent

Analysis: You could've made a lot of money if you bet someone in August that McElroy would have more snaps than Tebow. That one stat pretty much summarizes the entire season at quarterback. ... Before the season, then-GM Mike Tannenbaum estimated Tebow would play anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the snaps. Tebow missed out on a lucrative playing-time incentive. Based on his rookie contract, he would've received a $5 million increase next season and a $6.25 million bump in 2014 if he played in at least 55 percent of the offensive plays. Oh, well.

RUNNING BACK

Shonn Greene: 569 snaps/53 percent
Bilal Powell: 387 snaps/36 percent
Lex Hilliard: 271 snaps/25 percent
Joe McKnight: 58 snaps/5 percent
John Conner: 52 snaps/5 percent
Jonathan Grimes: 11 snaps/1 percent
Kahlil Bell: 3 plays/0.2 percent

Analysis: No major surprises here -- well, except maybe for McKnight's paltry role. Many people figured he'd be more of a factor. ... Powell probably would've stolen more of Greene's playing time if he had remained healthy. ... Oh, yes, remember the Terminator? That was Rex Ryan's draft pick in 2010, as he was fond of telling us during the "Hard Knocks" craze. Conner didn't work out too well and was waived. Ditto, Grimes and Bell.

Welcome to circus: All three QBs active

December, 23, 2012
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Fans will be able to check out the Jets' three-quarterback circus Sunday in living color.

Greg McElroy, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are active -- the first time this season all three have dressed for a game.

Rex Ryan had been hinting for a few weeks that he might do it. This week, with McElroy making his first NFL start, Ryan finally decided to make the move for the final home game.

The coach kept it quiet all week, refusing to say how he'd stack the depth chart against the Chargers. Word leaked on Friday that Sanchez would be active; the only question was whether Tebow would dress, too.

This is funny: On the official flip card, handed out to reporters at the game, Sanchez and Tebow are both listed as the No 2 -- a tie, so to speak.

It became apparent in the pregame warmups that Tebow would play; he came out in his uniform pants, wearing cleats, thigh pads and a play sheet on his wrist.

The Tebow call might have been a last-minute decision. On Friday, the plan was to dress DB Donnie Fletcher, who was called up Wednesday from the practice squad. The plan was to use him on special teams and, in a pinch, on defense.

Fletcher was one of the seven inactives. The others are WR Mardy Gilyard, CB Aaron Berry, LB Ricky Sapp, DT Damon Harrison, G Caleb Schlauderaff and TE Dustin Keller.

The Chargers' inactives are RB Edwin Baker, LB Jonas Mouton, LB Demorrio Williams, OL Stephen Schilling, WR Mike Willie, TE Ladarius Green and DT Aubrayo Franklin.

McKnight: Fans played role in QB decision

December, 19, 2012
12/19/12
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- To Joe McKnight, Jets fans won out in the end.

The running back said he believes fans' vocal calls for the backup quarterbacks to play over starter Mark Sanchez played a role in Rex Ryan deciding he would demote Sanchez and start Greg McElroy on Sunday.

"You kind of could tell how it was going to go the whole year by how the fans were doing their thing, screaming [Tim] Tebow's name while Mark was in the game," McKnight said Wednesday. "Stuff like that just kinds of adds on to the pressure of the coaches."

[+] EnlargeMark Sanchez and Joe McKnight
Rich Kane/Icon SMIMark Sanchez and Joe McKnight
Fans have chanted during games this season for McElroy and Tebow while Sanchez struggled during Jets home games. They've also loudly booed Sanchez, especially during his last three home games as the offense stalled. In the home game against Arizona on Dec. 2, the fans roared in approval when McElroy replaced Sanchez in the second half.

"Anytime you're a starting quarterback and you're on the football field and you're trying to call plays and you got people that's supposed to be rooting for you screaming out other quarterback's name, that's kind of frustrating," said McKnight, who was Sanchez's college teammate at USC. "That kind of takes away from the mentality of the game. I think that's kind of made it tough for the coaches to make their decision."

By naming McElroy the starter, the Jets passed over Tebow, who has been the backup in 13 of the team's 14 games.

McKnight said he wasn't surprised that Tebow didn't get the job, because of the way the quarterbacks are used.

"Tebow got his role, Mark got his role, and McElroy got his role," he said. "We already know what Tebow's role is. It was between Mark and Greg McElroy."

Tebow has 32 rushing attempts and only eight pass attempts this season.

"Tebow has his own plays. He got his own package," McKnight said. "He's still going to get in the game no matter what, if he was No. 2 or No. 3."

Other Jets were much more reserved on the topic of the quarterback changes. Several talked about how it was the coach's decision and all they can do is get ready for San Diego.

Defensive lineman Mike DeVito understood why Ryan made the switch, even with the team out of the playoff hunt.

"I wasn't surprised. We've got two games left, and we need a spark. We need something to change it up," DeVito said. "This organization doesn't make [random] decisions. They want to do what's best for the team."

While Sanchez's future with the organization will continue to be debated, McKnight said the demotion will fuel Sanchez moving forward. McKnight added that all of the offense's problems this season can't just be blamed on Sanchez.

"This is going to make him stronger," McKnight said.

How to rebuild the New York Jets

December, 19, 2012
12/19/12
1:36
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NY JetsUS PresswireMike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan may have to stick with Mark Sanchez next year, but here are other ways the Jets can improve on an abysmal season.
From top to bottom, the New York Jets are a mess. The Jets have quarterback issues, an old and expensive roster and a circus-like atmosphere in the locker room.

New York has a gigantic cleanup project ahead in 2013.

Here are five steps the Jets should take in the offseason to turn things around:

1. Add a quarterback

Adding a quarterback will be the trickiest but most significant thing the Jets do this offseason. For starters, money is a huge issue.

Although I'm in the minority, I expect Mark Sanchez to be with the Jets next year. His $8.25 million salary is guaranteed for 2013, and the prorated cap hit would be much larger if he's cut. The Jets are already significantly over the cap. As much as they may be ready to move on from Sanchez, it's smarter to save the cap hit and just keep him on the roster for another season.

With Sanchez making franchise money next year, the Jets can't pay two quarterbacks the same amount. So forget about names like Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers. New York cannot afford to invest $16-$17 million into one position.

New York's best option would be to look for a cheaper veteran alternative. Personally, I like Matt Moore of the Miami Dolphins. He has starting experience and would take a cap-friendly contract for the opportunity to play. Moore is currently Ryan Tannehill's backup in Miami. Other veteran quaretrbacks like Jason Campbell, Brady Quinn and Drew Stanton are affordable options who can compete with Sanchez to be the starter.

The Jets can take also draft a quarterback early and hope the rookie can play right away. The quarterback class is not strong next year and head coach Rex Ryan will enter 2013 on the hot seat. He cannot afford to wait another year or two for a rookie to develop. He needs to win now.

2. Fire or demote Mike Tannenbaum

The person most responsible for putting together New York's old and expensive roster should be reprimanded.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum tried to keep this group veteran together too long. New York thought it could get to the Super Bowl after back-to-back AFC title games in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Tannenbaum locked himself into some bad free-agent contracts with older players that are crushing the team's cap.

In addition, Tannenbaum's drafts have been below average. You can start with back-to-back first-round picks of Vernon Gholston and Sanchez in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Both players were taken in the top six overall and the Jets whiffed. That held the franchise back. Other draft busts like Vladimir Ducasse also stand out.

Finally, Tannenbaum's giving Sanchez a five-year, $58.25 million contract extension in March was inexcusable. Sanchez had done nothing the year before to warrant a large extension, yet the Jets believed he was the long-term solution. It didn’t take long for Tannenbaum to regret that decision.

Tannenbaum has his strengths and is a good presence within the Jets. He doesn't need to be fired, but he should no longer have final say on roster moves. The Jets need a new general manager to reshape this roster.

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
AP Photo/Scott A. MillerThe Tim Tebow experiment has failed and it's time for the Jets to move on from the quarterback.
3. Trade or release Tim Tebow

It's clear the Jets' coaching staff doesn’t think much of Tebow as a quarterback. After benching Sanchez, New York passed over Tebow for third-stringer Greg McElroy. Why did Tannenbaum and the Jets ever think the Tebow experiment was a good idea?

Very few people outside of the organization thought this would work. Tebow, for starters, is not a legitimate NFL quarterback. He's a gimmick player who can help by using his rushing ability.

But Tebow brought the large following and media hype of a franchise quarterback. I remember attending training camp in August when Tebow got the loudest cheers. It immediately added unnecessary pressure to Sanchez and the team. The last thing the Jets needed was another circus, but that's exactly what they got with adding Tebow. It was a train wreck waiting to happen.

The good news is Tebow is much easier to move than Sanchez. The New York Daily News reports the Jets can release Tebow and take only a $1 million cap hit.

It's best that Tebow and the Jets go their separate ways after just one year.

4. Get a new offensive coordinator

Tony Sparano is very likeable and a high-energy coach, but he's a mediocre offensive coordinator.

The Jets are ranked 30th in total offense, and the play calling has been mind-numbing. New York is a team without an offensive identity. After 14 games, the Jets still haven't figured out what they do best.

Hiring Sparano in this role was a risky move from the start. He was a head coach in Miami and offensive line coach in Dallas. But the Jets hired him to call plays on offense. Sparano's Miami teams were never offensive powerhouses. There was no indication Sparano could turn the Jets' offense around. His quarterback development has been even worse, as both Sanchez and Tebow regressed on Sparano's watch.

The Jets need to hire a top-level offensive coordinator. Soon-to-be former head coaches like Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers and Pat Shurmur of the Cleveland Browns should be available. The Jets need someone with a proven track record of developing quarterbacks and successfully calling plays next season.

5. Make cuts, rebuild through the draft

The Jets need to get younger and build through the draft. It starts by making some veteran cuts.

New York can begin by releasing expensive veteran linebackers Calvin Pace and Bart Scott. Both are 32-years-old and making big salaries. Other players like offensive tackle Jason Smith and safety Eric Smith should come off the books, as well. That should provide sizable cap relief.

The Jets won't have a lot of money to spend in free agency, which is why the draft is so important.

Using the draft to build up the offense should be the top priority. The Jets need better players at receiver, running back and tight end to help whoever becomes the starting quarterback. New York also could lose starting tight end Dustin Keller and tailback Shonn Greene, who are pending free agents, and need to fill those positions.

There is no easy way for the Jets to escape this mess. But if they follow these five steps this offseason, the Jets will be heading in the right direction.

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