|Despite their differences last season, Sanchez is Holmes' guy. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Any philosophical differences between Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez were settled this offseason, but there's a potentially much bigger distraction facing the Jets as they head into 2012: Tim Tebow.
After stumbling to 8-8 in 2011, including a Week 17 implosion against the Dolphins that saw Holmes benched for -- to borrow a term from Dr. Evil -- insolence, coach Rex Ryan promised to fix his locker room. Apparently, that included trading for Tebow, who will serve as Sanchez's backup, the Wildcat specialist, and, of course, punt protector.
For a lot people, the move was an indication that the organization wasn't sold on Sanchez, franchise quarterback. Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and owner Woody Johnson have said repeatedly that Sanchez is indeed the starter, though Ryan says the plan is to give Tebow 15-20 snaps a week depending on the game plan. But as we noted in April, if Sanchez gets off to a slow start (and it's entirely possible given their schedule), the calls for Tebow to take over the starting gig will be loud and sustained.
However this plays out in the coming months, Holmes, appearing on NFL Network Monday, doesn't think a two-quarterback system can work.
"No, I don't think so," he said via NFL.com. "You have to allow one quarterback to get into the rhythm of the game. It starts from the preparation in practice, knowing the first couple of plays that he's going to take these reps. It's getting a feel for coming onto the field with the crowd awaiting you. It's the making the mistakes early in the game to finishing the games at the end. You don't just change a guy out just because he has a few mistakes early in a game."
Whatever your thoughts on Holmes as a teammate, he makes a lot of sense here. He also thinks that Tebow's role will be one that complements Sanchez's.
"Tebow's going to have plays where he comes in and plays," Holmes said. "Whether he plays at quarterback, Sanchez is on the field or off the field, those are the plays that Coach has designed for Tebow to run that week. I'm pretty sure he's going to get them done and he's going to do his job just as well as any other quarterback would when they get an opportunity to get on the field."
This is pretty much echoes the sentiments of former Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
"I think Tebow is the Wildcat," Tomlinson said last week. "He's their Wildcat quarterback. I mean, let's think about it. Since Rex (Ryan) has been the head coach, he's always had that Wildcat guy at quarterback. Brad Smith. Now he's simply bringing that back in Tebow. Now, they probably are going to throw the ball a little bit more with Tebow in the Wildcat situation, but that's how they will play it: Mark's our quarterback; Tebow will be our Wildcat quarterback."
We wondered recently if the Jets got Tebow not to push Sanchez but to upgrade the running game. Shonn Greene has been good but not great, and Tebow brings another dimension to the rushing attack.
Tebow and Holmes both attended Sanchez's annual "Jets West" camp in California this month, and Holmes remains steadfastly behind Sanchez as the starting quarterback.
"Tebow looked pretty good (at "Jets West," he was on target," Holmes said. "Sanchez has done everything that he can do to keep his starting spot. I'm thinking that he's going to be our guy this season. I'm not saying that with any bit of less confidence than the way I feel about him coming into this season. He's going to be our guy that we depended on for the past couple of years, and he's going to get the job done this year."
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