Jets players will report to training camp at SUNY Cortland on Thursday, but the quarterbacks will make Florham Park their destination on Monday. While incumbent Mark Sanchez is the clear starter, Tim Tebow will be watched closely this summer. Jets color analyst Marty Lyons believes the acquisition of Tebow in May was a sound transaction and will help the Green & White this fall.
“The biggest personnel move that stands out is Tim Tebow,” he said. “I think Tim, coming from Denver, he has that it to him. You look at where he came from in Florida and the high school program [Nease HS], what he did for the University of Florida and how he won games out there in Denver. They weren’t pretty — nobody’s saying he can carry the team with his arm. But there is something about Tim Tebow that brings the whole team to a different level.”
Slimmed-down head coach Rex Ryan, who now weighs a couple of pounds less than the muscle-bound Tebow, has said the former Heisman Trophy winner could get anywhere from two to 20 snaps a game on offense. A 47% passer in his two years as a pro, Tebow did have 17 TD passes in regular-season play against only nine INTs. He is a threat on the ground, having averaged 5.4 yards a carry and totaling 12 rush TDs in Denver.
“I think Tim could be a valuable asset to this team in the locker room and the way they’re going to utilize him on the playing field. He might be their best athlete overall,” Lyons said. “He’s big and strong, he’s fast, he’s hungry, he’s got a desire to win and he knows how to win. You can’t take away the past of everything he’s accomplished and just because at times he may struggle to throw the ball — he wins football games. I think that’s the big move.”
Sanchez, who improved his strength in the offseason, accounted for 32 TDs (26 pass, six rush) in 2011 and led the NFL’s top red zone offense. He has enjoyed working with Tony Sparano so far and he knows he has to get his turnover numbers down to keep his new offensive coordinator happy.
“I think the best thing Mark needs to do in Year 4 is be himself — don’t put too much pressure on yourself. One player is not going to win the game and one player is not going to lose the game,” Lyons said. “Go out and have some fun, have confidence in yourself, have confidence in the system and realize that you touch the ball more than anybody.
“You can make some things happen and you can go out there and lead your team by only completing a few passes. Give your team the best opportunity to win — don’t turn the ball over. But what Mark has to realize is take some of that personal pressure off yourself.”
Lyons, who thinks the Jets’ return to Cortland will benefit the club, likes the approach Ryan has taken since New York’s AFC representative finished out of the postseason for the first time in three years.
“You have a young, energetic quarterback in Mark Sanchez. Develop the chemistry that you need, don’t be selfish and just go out there and play good solid football,” he said. “To make it to the Super Bowl, you have to start fast and finish strong. And if you’re that good, let somebody else tell you how good you are. You don’t need to tell them.”
Jets TV will air our full exclusive 1-on-1 with Marty Lyons this week here on newyorkjets.com. We visited with Marty in Long Island to also discuss the Jets’ 1982 team and that television feature, focusing on a memorable run, will be seen during the season on “Jets Flight Plan,” which will air again on WCBS-TV.
Tags: Mark Sanchez, Marty Lyons, Tim Tebow
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