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Interesting Detroit News Article About The Tebow Affect in N.Y.


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http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120327/OPINION03/203270331/Tebowmania-s-arrival-Big-Apple-already-shows-thankfully-what-Lions-missing?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Tim Tebow said all the right things Monday.

But of all the 4,000-plus words he spoke in the kind of bright-lights, big-deal news conference only New York could host, few made more sense than these, which Tebow uttered in response to a question about his new teammates' anonymous grumbling to the tabloids.

"I can't control doing this press conference," said Tebow, as earnest and gracious as ever. "You can blame the guys upstairs."

He didn't mean that guy, obviously. He meant his immediate superiors in the Jets' Florham Park facility. He meant the ones responsible for trotting out the team's newest second-string quarterback — the successor to Kellen Clemens and Mark Brunell and, at least for a New York minute, our own Drew Stanton — to talk about, well … what, exactly?

And while Tebow's comment was delivered with a good-natured laugh, the setting itself said plenty about what's to come now that Tebowmania has taken hold of the Big Apple.

With more than 200 media members on hand and a small fleet of satellite news trucks parked outside, this is only the beginning of the circus the Broncos were so curiously eager to send packing.

Monday's introductory news conference was held on the team's indoor practice field, not the usual interview room where head coach Rex Ryan tells jokes or the supposed franchise quarterback, Mark Sanchez, talks about next week's opponent. And since Tebow already had spoken with local reporters on a conference call the night the trade with Denver was finalized, to say it had to be done this way is a bit disingenuous.

At least the Jets front office managed to avoid some awkward optics, though. With all the decision-makers in Florida for the NFL owners meetings this week, their absence was as excused as it was necessary, lest they be caught publicly feeding the great grinning, grizzly bear they just invited to town.

Still, as odd as it might sound, what struck me while watching Monday's show was not just, "What must Mark Sanchez be thinking?" but also, "What must Matthew Stafford be texting Mark Sanchez?"

Three years ago, we all agreed those two quarterbacks — the first and fifth overall picks in the 2009 draft — would be forever linked. The Lions did their research on both and opted to select Stafford with the top pick. The Jets quickly traded up to grab Sanchez, and the two friends became instant millionaires, many times over.

Sanchez went on to quarterback the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship games, though how big a role he played in that success is debatable. Stafford, meanwhile, missed 19 of his first 32 games with shoulder and knee injuries, leading to understandable, if premature, debate about his durability.

Opposite directions

All that was before last season, when a healthy Stafford, at age 23, became just the fifth quarterback in NFL history to pass for 5,000 yards in a season. And though he'd led the Lions to the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, "that's only the surface of where we're going to be and where Matthew's going to be," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said last month.

All that was before Sanchez lost his crown as King of New York last season, too, throwing 18 interceptions and getting thrown under the bus by some teammates as the Jets went from contender to pretender, from Gang Green to gangrene.

A couple months later, after the Jets realized they weren't going to make Peyton Manning's short list, they reworked Sanchez's contract to essentially guarantee him another year beyond 2012 to prove he's the answer. ("There's a lot more good than bad," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum told ESPN Radio in New York at the time, calling Sanchez "a young player that we wanted to keep around for a while.")

But while the Lions have consistently promised greatness for Stafford, the Jets are only promising controversy now, no matter what you think of Tebow's ability as a quarterback or a "playmaker" or whatever he's going to be in New York.

While the Lions have made it a priority from Day 1 to surround Stafford with more weapons — from the draft to free agency to the Brink's truck they backed up to Calvin Johnson's front door — the Jets decided to surround Sanchez with more drama.

Fanning the fanfare

When the Lions traded a late-round pick to acquire Shaun Hill a couple of years ago, he arrived with about as little fanfare as you can imagine. Fresh from his first workout in Allen Park, still in a sweat-soaked T-shirt and shorts, Hill met with a half-dozen reporters and talked about how happy he was to have a clearly defined role as a veteran backup.

On Monday, Tebow's arrival was live on ESPN. He used the word "excited" more than 40 times in answering 30 questions, including three about his recent conversations with Sanchez. ("He was excited, and he was excited about working with me, and I'm excited about working with him," Tebow said.)

But just how excited will Sanchez be when the fans and media start calling for Tebow Time this fall? Sanchez also spoke to Jets reporters on a conference call Monday, in what amounted to the incumbent's response to the State of the Tebow. He said he didn't think Tebow was "a distraction" and that he's "not worried about losing my spot," among other pleasantries. And while he's "not thrilled about" the idea of lining up as a receiver on wildcat plays, he's "totally on board" with whatever the plan is.

And as for whether he's as excited as previously advertised?

"If Tim's going to help us win, I'm excited about that," he said.

That's a big "if" most quarterbacks in the NFL — including the one in Detroit — would happily do without.

john.niyo@detnews.com

twitter.com/JohnNiyo

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Calvin Johnson is one of three receivers in NFL history who makes his QB significantly better (usually its the other way around, QB's making WR's look better): Him, Jerry Rice, and Randy Moss.

Some of Stafford's throws are just plain ugly. Meanwhile, Megatron makes plays in triple coverage.

It's too bad we've been too successful to have the ability to get what will be an all-time great in Calvin. I suppose we'll just have to settle for a 2nd tier receiver (Holmes) and continue to blame Sanchez's circumstances rather than just Sanchez himself.

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Calvin Johnson is one of three receivers in NFL history who makes his QB significantly better (usually its the other way around, QB's making WR's look better): Him, Jerry Rice, and Randy Moss.

Some of Stafford's throws are just plain ugly. Meanwhile, Megatron makes plays in triple coverage.

It's too bad we've been too successful to have the ability to get what will be an all-time great in Calvin. I suppose we'll just have to settle for a 2nd tier receiver (Holmes) and continue to blame Sanchez's circumstances rather than just Sanchez himself.

If Megatron is the reason Stafford is good why didn;t it work for the other QB's that played with him?

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If Megatron is the reason Stafford is good why didn;t it work for the other QB's that played with him?

It did. Shaun Hill looked decent with Megatron. In 2010 Hill completed 61.8 % of his throws and had 16 TD's/12 INT's. Not bad for a middle-of-the-road 2nd stringer. Drew Stanton started 3 games and completed 58 %, had 4 TD's/3 INT's. Lousy numbers there but still better than Sanchez, lol. Megatron had this effect in just his 2nd season in the league.

It's a similar situation as when the Raiders got Randy Moss. They didn't win, of course, but Moss did make Kerry Collins look significantly better. In '05 Collins threw for 3759 yards, 20 TD's and 12 INT's. It was easily the best year he had between 2003-07, the last legs of his career.

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Total crap. For most of his career Sanchez has been supported by a great defense, a top tier running attack and perfectly fine receivers (including Keller and LT). He was asked to do the bare minimum and was doing it just fine until this past season. However, since he regressed this year (he wasn't surrounded with perfect personnel - but who is?), the Jets were smart to make sure their entire 2012 season isn't hinged solely upon Sanchez' resurrection. Enter Tebow.

Sanchez should man up. If we plays well then Tebow is a backup QB. No biggie.

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I don't know.....Megatron is a major factor but since I'm exiled in this god forsaken $hithole of Detroit, I see a lot of Stafford when the Jets aren't on TV.

I have to admit, he has vastly improved, if you have anything to judge it against with all of his injuries. Stafford really showed some poise and skill this year. Yeah, there were some Megatron catches on balls that "shouldn't" have been thrown, but they were probably thrown because Stafford had the confidence throw it to him and know he'd probably catch it.

If the Jets had Stafford and not Sanchez, I wouldn't be the least bit upset. The kid really took some steps forward..

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If the Jets had Stafford and not Sanchez, I wouldn't be the least bit upset. The kid really took some steps forward..

it's a fun discussion but Stafford was the 1 pick and Sanchez was the 5 pick. the Jets didn't really decide between Stafford or Sanchez. If they had the choice, you'd think they would take Stafford.

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it's a fun discussion but Stafford was the 1 pick and Sanchez was the 5 pick. the Jets didn't really decide between Stafford or Sanchez. If they had the choice, you'd think they would take Stafford.

0 doubt. Stafford was a big deal as a prospect...if he had stayed for his senior year the hype would have been ridiculous.

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Stafford plays in a dome and throws to Calvin Johnson. His numbers should be better than Sanchez based on that alone.

Total crap. For most of his career Sanchez has been supported by a great defense, a top tier running attack and perfectly fine receivers (including Keller and LT). He was asked to do the bare minimum and was doing it just fine until this past season. However, since he regressed this year (he wasn't surrounded with perfect personnel - but who is?), the Jets were smart to make sure their entire 2012 season isn't hinged solely upon Sanchez' resurrection. Enter Tebow.

Sanchez should man up. If we plays well then Tebow is a backup QB. No biggie.

It's not total crap. The Jets WR situation has been an ongoing problem. All of those advantages that you talk about above served to shrink the field for Mark. Defenses knew to expect the run, and if not, they were in place to defend the short passes to Keller or the backs. The Jets desperately need that stretch the field guy to open up the offense and clear some underneath stuff, but it's looking so far like they've really decided to double down on the ground & pound by adding a wildcat specialist. Maybe they can make that work, but it won't make Sanchez look any better in the process.

I think the Jets like the added pressure on Mark this year. I agree with you there, he needs to man up. The complaints that the Jets have coddled Sanchez are valid, IMHO. This move presents him with a lot of external pressure but, football-wise, there's no reason that Sanchez shouldn't step up.

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it's a fun discussion but Stafford was the 1 pick and Sanchez was the 5 pick. the Jets didn't really decide between Stafford or Sanchez. If they had the choice, you'd think they would take Stafford.

Agreed. It's not an O'Brien vs. Marino comparison. The Jets needed a franchise QB and went with the best available QB at the time.

Also I agree with Slats. There was no deep threat from the Jets this year and because of it Sanchez became Captain Checkdown. Maybe it was on him, maybe it was on Shotty, I don't know. Last season was such a mess that it's almost impossible to figure out if it was pure regression, terrible play calling or a lack of confidence in the receivers. There's no way I pin the blame on any one player or aspect of the offense. They succeeded as playing as a team when it came to sucking, from the OC all the way to the least important offensive player on the field at any time.

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Yes that is it Pat. Many players and coaches responsible for last year . To put all the blame on sanchez is wrong but as the QB you are going to get the brunt of criticism. He needs to play much better and make better decisions. Can/will he be able to ?

Agreed. It's not an O'Brien vs. Marino comparison. The Jets needed a franchise QB and went with the best available QB at the time.

Also I agree with Slats. There was no deep threat from the Jets this year and because of it Sanchez became Captain Checkdown. Maybe it was on him, maybe it was on Shotty, I don't know. Last season was such a mess that it's almost impossible to figure out if it was pure regression, terrible play calling or a lack of confidence in the receivers. There's no way I pin the blame on any one player or aspect of the offense. They succeeded as playing as a team when it came to sucking, from the OC all the way to the least important offensive player on the field at any time.

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