Move in day is over. Media has been addressed by many and the first practice helmets are currently being stored away as players file into dorm rooms, showers, lecture halls or conference rooms to take part in what is likely the first set of classes for the day. After they eat, of course.
It’s Training Camp time! Finally the Jets have returned to Cortland, a place that starting quarterback Mark Sanchez has referred to as magical and many of his fellow Jets have basically agreed, stating that getting to be at the campus and focus on football and forming team bonds was something greatly missed last season after the lockout debacle ended.
To us football fans, training camp is the tip of the season’s iceberg. It’s the dawn of the season because it’s when throngs of hungry fanatics start to get fed. Information. Real information and not just speculation. And there’s been enough speculation in this offseason to feed a country.
-Which Santonio Holmes will we see?
-Will Revis show up?
-How will Tebow really get used and what impact will he have?
-Can Sanchez be the leader everyone needs him to be?
Santonio will be the guy the team needs him to be if the team is who he needs them to be. Plain and simple. He wants to win, he wants to be part of the wins. He may have a slightly unorthodox and less than team unity approach to his method of madness but guys suit up to play football and if he comes to do that and is given things to do, that’s all that matters.
Revis arrived in Cortland and a collective sigh of relief was heard ’round the Gang Green world. What will happen with his contract is not what should be focused on right now and from the moment I heard the media kicking at the wind of this attempted controversy I knew this is what would happen. Look for Revis to be as great, if not greater than always. He will be focused on the season while the media attempts to focus on everything else.
This next one is the biggie and I will spend a little more time on it. The time has finally come to get a true glimpse into Tebow beyond OTAs and mini-camp. He’s had a chance to work with more of the team, to be a part of Jets West and to really begin to start to fall into a rhythm as a Jet. Off the field. Now it’s time to see what will happen on the field. There is no doubt that Sanchez is and will be the starting quarterback. We as fans won’t ever know the full scope of what they will do with Tebow until we see it actually happen, or at least get attempted. What is for sure is that he will not be under center for a majority of the snaps. If used properly, Tebow will bring an undoubtedly wonderful wrinkle to an offense that desperately needs to come out strong and get stronger as the games go on. Though the media has given him the star treatment and attention and have chosen their clear cut “favorite” in a war they’ve waged themselves and have attempted countless times to convince us mere mortal fans actually exists. The media is clearly Tebow-centric (which is no surprise seeing as how Sanchez has often been a favorite whipping boy), and they apparently have the shirts to prove it. Let them.
What matters is what the team does and what Sanchez does in response. People think Tim was brought in to push Sanchez, to challenge him to be better and to fight him for his spot. And if you listen to some of the more vocal Tebow cheerleaders found on tv, heard on radio and read in print, Mark’s 12 pounds of extra muscle were gained in effort to keep up with Tim–it has nothing to do with how battered he was last season, or that he’s tried to come into each season a little bigger and heavier each year. No, it can’t be that the guy, who is still all of 25, is just really coming into his own. No, it can’t be that! The spot is Sanchez’s and last season’s battle wounds are what will push him far more than the media darling who I believe is more focused on helping the team than taking it over, though the media would like for us to believe otherwise. However, as shown in Denver, Tim is no innocent when it comes to some of this. Or, at least, his PR team isn’t. They know what they’re doing as well, but that is a piece for another time.
But what will happen on the field? Will Tim be more of a hybrid? Will he be Brad Smith take two? Or will Sanchez be pulled to insert Tebow into situations that will take away from Mark’s game stats? With all of the negative words slung at him and all of the “he’s regressed” claims, Sanchez’s stats from season to season have grown. Unfortunately that includes his interception numbers, but, again, story for another time. What happens if the plan really is to use Tebow in Red Zone situations? During a season where struggles were littered all over the field, the Red Zone is one of the few places where no problems were found. Sanchez handled the RZ better last year than either of his first two. Inserting Tebow into that situation and taking Sanchez off the field will not only mess with the rhythm the quarterback and the rest of the team need, but it will also screw with Sanchez’s numbers.
Again, time will tell. Thankfully for us, yesterday shot off the fireworks on the beginning of a season that I, personally, think will bring many a Jet fan a whole lot of joy. Last year was a rough one, but there are positives to be taken away from the negatives of it all. This team is motivated, they’re hungry, and best yet, they’re still the underdogs. And the Jets love to prove people wrong.
It will be a process. It will take time and effort and patience, and more importantly it will take precision, but this team can be great. And I think they will be.
Sydney Kira is a regular contributor to The Green Room. You can follow her on Twitter @SydneyKira1.