|Tebow, Sanchez and the wildcat can co-exist according to Pennington. (US PRESSWIRE)|
For an organization that never quite grasped the concept of discretion, the Jets were suddenly Belichick-ian in their dealings with the media when it came to (of all things) the wildcat. Because trading for Tim Tebow and insisting all spring and summer that the wildcat would be a regular part of the offense wasn't enough of a tip-off.
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Spy-like secrecy aside, former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington was at training camp Tuesday talking up starting quarterback Mark Sanchez while also insisting that the wildcat will benefit the fourth-year player even if it means fewer snaps.
"Mark is throwing the ball better than I've ever seen," Pennington said according to CBSSports.com's Lisa Zimmerman. "He's got excellent control with his throws and his ball placement. He's definitely gotten better over the offseason and made a point to bring it up to the next level."
As for the wildcat and its place in the Jets offense, Pennington said that “The key to the whole system is the players make it their own.”
Which means that it's not about just Sanchez or Tebow.
“Well, I think that’s selfish,” Pennington said according to the New York Daily News regarding the perception that the wildcat could affect Sanchez's rhythm. “If you think as a quarterback that this game is solely about you, you’re sadly mistaken. This is not an individual game, so for a quarterback to gripe about whether or not he’s getting rhythm or not, grab the football, make a play. That’s what it’s about.”
It's worth noting that, after his Jets career, Pennington successfully ran the wildcat in Miami. Tony Sparano, now the Jets' offensive coordinator, was the head coach at the time. Despite Pennington's background in this offense and having some authority on the matter, the reality is this: for the Jets to be more consistent, Sanchez needs to be on the field.
The problem, as pointed out last week by NFL Films' Greg Cosell: "(Sanchez is) a function of the team around him. He needs a consistent running game and solid offensive line to have a chance to be a quality starter."
There's also this: "The more snaps Tebow plays at quarterback, the less likely it is that Sanchez will mature," Cosell continued. … "Having Tebow play four or five snaps per game is one thing; the Jets did that with Brad Smith in Sanchez's first two seasons. However, if Tebow plays 15-20 snaps, that's another story that will present Sanchez with an entirely different set of issues. One thing is certain: The fewer snaps Sanchez plays, the worse he will perform. That's a given."
And that's the issue. But Pennington notes that this isn't about Tebow so much as the Jets having a backup their comfortable with behind Sanchez.
“It doesn’t matter whether it is Tim Tebow or anybody,” he said. “The organization has to bring in a quarterback as a backup that can help you win. The volatility of the position is amazing, and there are so many injuries, you have to have two quarterbacks as an organization to win. … Winning keeps everybody happy."
Fair enough. But typically, franchise quarterbacks don't give way to their backups for 15-20 snaps a game, which is what coach Rex Ryan has said we could see from Tebow. And if your contention is that Sanchez isn't a franchise quarterback we'd point out that the organization traded up in the 2009 draft to take him fifth overall. And after three inconsistent seasons they continue to say that he's the unquestioned starter. For how long, though, remains to be decided.
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