'No QB Has Played Under as Much Pressure as Mark Sanchez Will in 2012'

What struck me? For starters, there's clearly a lot of Old Testament wrath left in the Big Commissioner in the Sky. Because Tim Tebow, New York Jet, and all of the inevitable angst and circus therein must be God's punishment upon Rex Ryan for taking his name in vain—specifically, in the egregiously vain context of snack food.

Okay. I kid. Tebow's move to New York fascinates me as well, but not because of any additional pressure he'll put on Mark Sanchez. After all, Sanchez already puts plenty of pressure on himself by being a mostly mediocre passer. Much like Tebow. Indeed, the question that interests me regarding pro football's most popular player is this: Will Tebow ever play quarterback, and only quarterback, again?

The history of talented collegiate option signal-callers in the NFL suggests otherwise. The league made Freddie Solomon and Antaawn Randle El into receivers. It turned Brian Mitchell into a kick returner and Scott Frost into a defensive back. It couldn't find a place for J.C. Watts or Charlie Ward -- both of them spectacular athletes—and all but snuffed out former Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch's passion for football. If Tebow shines with the Jets, it likely will be as a tight end, H-Back or Wildcat formation gadget player, as a bigger, stronger version of New England Patriots running back-cum-Swiss Army knife Danny Woodhead. Fact is, pro football is built around pocket passing; a team looking to maximize Tebow's unique strengths (and minimize his weaknesses) under center would have to remake its entire offense in risky and idiosyncratic fashion, from philosophy to play-calling to personnel.

Following the New York Giants' Super Bowl triumph, the Jets might be desperate to make a tabloid back page splash. But I doubt they're that desperate.

As for Manning, he ought to perform well in Denver—Joe Montana's mostly successful sojourn with the Kansas City Chiefs seems like a reasonable comparison. Of course, said performance will depend on his health, always a question mark for a quarterback his age, particularly one coming of multiple neck surgeries. Can Manning pull a John Elway and win a pair of Super Bowls in his relative football twilight? I doubt it. Not unless Denver can find another Terrell Davis, the running back who played a huge role in Elway's championship seasons.

Hmmm. Denver needs a powerful, reliable runner to take the pressure off an aging Manning. Maybe they should have kept Tebow, after all.

–Patrick

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