As the New York Jets reported to training camp on the campus of SUNY Cortland Thursday, the drama surrounding the co-existence of Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez continued. Questions remain to swirl on how Tebow’s presence will affect Sanchez and what the dynamic between the two is like, whether they truly get along or not. Although Tebowmania has temporarily taken over Cortland, N.Y., the truth is, Mark Sanchez is still the Jets’ starting quarterback.
Even as he arrived on campus to report to training camp, Sanchez was asked just as many questions containing the name “Tebow” as those about actual football. When asked about how he feels about sharing all of the accolades with his backup, Sanchez replied, “We all get plenty of attention. It’s our team. It’s everybody’s (team). We all have ownership in it, so it’s good.”
With two players passionately vying for the same starting position on the same team, the competition alone puts enough pressure on each. The incessant media focus on the pair’s relationship undoubtedly creates a heightened strain between the two.
“I think good athletes want to compete and show their best not against just anybody, they want to show their best against other good athletes. That’s what we’re trying to do here as a team,” said Sanchez on whether Tebow motivates him to do better. “That stuff is important to us. We laugh and joke about it after practice but during practice its serious and we want to win, we want to beat the other guy and then at the end build up your teammates. I think it’s just us being competitive and wanting to win and play well.”
“He can help any team. We’re lucky to have him. It’s going to work out well. If anybody knows how to make it work, it’s Coach Sparano. Whether Tim runs, throws, is on special teams, he’s only going to be an asset for us, so we’re thrilled about his potential here.”
Speaking on his relationship with Sanchez, Tebow said, “Well, I think my relationship with Mark is great. We’ve been friends since he hosted me at USC. We kept in contact over the break, we worked out several times together, spent some time together. So, (we) had a lot of fun besides just working out or besides just football stuff. He’s a great guy and everything. I know that I’ll support him and he’ll support me,” although he does admit a relationship between two quarterbacks can be difficult sometimes.
“I feel like whether we were on the same team or not, we would continue to be friends. I feel like we support one another, on and off the field,” he later added.
In all of the hype surrounding Tebow, Sanchez, and their relationship, the main focus of football has been pushed aside. The reason the Jets traded for Tebow in the first place, the reason all of the craze was created, remains to be the goal of playing better football, returning to the playoffs after falling short last year, and every NFL team’s ultimate goal of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February.
“I just feel like there’s been a good vibe about the building and everybody’s really in attack-mode. It’s kind of hard to put your finger on it, but everybody has a look in their eye like they’re ready. We expect nothing but the best from each other. We’re going to hold each other accountable, act like professionals the entire season and play really well. That’s the plan and we don’t intend on deviating,” explained Sanchez, “I know exactly what to expect up here. I have a good handle on the offense. I have a good feel for the schedule coming up. Now, it’s about going out, completing passes, getting us in the right play and really being able to focus. There’s no better place to do that than here (in Cortland).”
“It kind of feels like my first day of college, showing up to Florida. No, it’s exciting, you know it will be fun to get away. I think it will be good for the team to just be here and isolated and kind of be together 24/7. I think that’s good bonding time for the team,” commented Tebow on training camp.
When it comes to football and the offense, he said, “I’m just excited about getting out there, and just running practice, just going through drills. Having extra time to work with Coach (Matt) Cav(anaugh) and Coach (Tony) Sparano. In OTA’s, just everything was so quick. Now you really have time to work, and work on the little things and go over the little things. That’s what I’m excited about.”
Aside from their relationship and football, both QBs shared a few of their training camp essentials and other details.
Sanchez’s roommate at camp is another fellow QB, Greg McElroy. “I think I’m the only one who could put a muzzle on McElroy. So, he had to stay with me,” joked Sanchez.
As for his training camp essentials, “They have pretty much everything up here. Toothbrush, not much else, a couple of tank tops and we’ve got TV’s, microwaves, fridge, whatever you need. It’s not like it’s the 1920’s and we don’t have anything up here and we have Coach Bear Bryant or something. We have everything we possibly need and they treat us really well.”
As for Tim Tebow, he suggests a lot of underwear, enough clothes so no laundry needs to be done, and his bible are all that is really needed, admitting a TV and iPad can also come in handy.
Nonetheless, Tim Tebow is focused on becoming a better football player, no matter whether he is the backup QB, wildcat QB, special teams tackler, or any other position, and Mark Sanchez is focused on leading the Jets as the starting quarterback.
In the words of Tim Tebow, “I’ll do whatever I’m asked to do.”
As for Mark Sanchez, “It’s my job to focus on me being in there, support Tim when he’s in there, and play really well, as well as make sure we’re all on the same page and lead this team.”
Over the next few weeks of training camp and into the season, we will see if any true quarterback drama erupts for Gang Green or if the team will mesh together to become a true Super Bowl contender. Only time will tell.
By Val Hanson