Thursday, August 9, 2012

Jets vs. Bengals: Sanchez/Tebow Battle Begins

Let the mayhem begin for Gang Green.

No team finds more ways to become more and more polarizing than the New York Jets. After a disaster of a season in 2011, the Jets followed that up with an off-season that left everyone scratching their heads to the point of baldness.

After failing to land Peyton Manning, the Jets quickly, and awkwardly gave Mark Sanchez a five-year contract extension; an extension that was beyond uncalled for for a quarterback who came off the most miserable season of his brief career.

Then, the Jets decided to pull a 180 and traded for Tim Tebow, after Manning signed on with Denver.

Since that time, it has been absolute bedlam. Media attention galore has swarmed the Jets throughout the off-season and training camp, as everyone watches each and every move Tebow and Sanchez make. There has even been daily updates on how they have played in practice.

Some days they have looked good, i.e. Tebow's 60-yard TD pass, and his three touchdowns in the wild cat. Some days not so much, i.e. Sanchez and Tebow both going 1-for-7 during 7-on-7 drills.

Still, the common opinion coming out of Jets camp is that Sanchez is the clear cut starter. He has put on muscle and has looked more crisp than Tebow. Than again keep in mind you are comparing a 50 % passer in Sanchez, to a 40% passer in Tebow. Truth is both have a lot to prove this season.

What to look for: Snaps for Sanchez and Tebow. Everyone will go nuts over how many snaps the two QB's will get in Frirday's pre-season opener in Cincinnati. Fact is, Tebow will get more snaps since he is the back-up. Sanchez will start, and play only a quarter.  If he should struggle against the Bengals, rumblings will start, trust me.

Tony Sparano's new offense: Sparano comes from Miami and has installed an even more conservative offense than what was previously installed by the disposed Brian Schottenheimer. Look for Tebow to run the wild cat a few times during the Bengals game.

Will Tebow come in for Sanchez in a red zone situation? That is the big question. Will the Jets pull Sanchez out of a game, even if the Jets are on the one-yard line in order to have Tebow run the wild cat? Everyone will be waiting for this to happen. Will it happen Friday? Probably not.

Will Tebow play special teams? The Jets will give this a shot in the pre-season. That is why there is a pre-season. The Jets will try to insert Tebow as an up-man on punts; however once he gets his clock cleaned on punt coverage, I am sure this ridiculous experiment will come to a swift conclusion.

Oh, there are other battles than QB, kicker for example: The Jets incumbent Nick Folk has been a nightmare for Gang Green for three years now and finally, FINALLY, the Jets bring in some competition in the form of Josh Brown. If the Jets are smart, they would hand Brown the job, and give Folk a one way ticket to Palukaville. 

 Wide Receiver: If Antonio Cromartie is right, than the Jets are in big trouble. New York has only one legit receiver in Santonio Holmes, and a bunch of question marks in Stephen Hill, Chazz Schillens and Patrick Turner. This could get interesting.

Offensive Line: The weakest link of this Jets team. Vlad Duccase, Matt Slausen and Wayne Hunter are all on alert. All three were responsible for creating the worst offensive line in football last season. The chance for redemption starts Friday.

Pass rush: Can the Jets get a decent pass rush going for once? Aaron Maybin, who led the team in sacks last year got most of his sacks against his former employer, the Buffalo Bills (talk about motivation) and didn't do much the rest of the season. The Jets don't have a legit pass rusher, that is why they drafted Quentin Copples with their first pick in April's rookie draft. Copples has a reputation as a lazy player-creating haunting comparisons to one infamous Vernon Gholston.

Chemistry: The Jets have chemistry issues. Last year Santonio Holmes couldn't get on the same page with Sanchez and Schottenheimer creating a toxic locker room. Holmes is back at this year creating more trouble by throwing both Sanchez and Tebow under the bus before camp started.

Then, corner back Antonio Cromartie said he was the second best wide out, throwing the Jets receivers under the proverbial bus. There were also four separate fights that broke out in Jets camp over the past week forcing Ryan to discipline the team with wind sprints. Oh, then he took them to see The Dark Knight Rises. Is Rex Ryan losing control of his team?

Prediction: It's the Bengals, so one would think that the Jets should win. Plus, Andy Dalton is not playing the entire game -- if he was, I would pick Cincy. Jets 27, Bengals 17.

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