(Photo: Reuters/Gary Hershorn)
As it has been since day one of training camp for the New York Jets, going into the 11th week of the NFL season the question for his devout fans remains – when will Tim Tebow start at quarterback?
A three-game losing streak and a disappointing 3-6 overall record has not dissuaded Jets coach Rex Ryan from sticking with Mark Sanchez through to perhaps the bitter end of the season.
Even with the sports media hounding him with questions every week about how and when he plans to install Tebow, Ryan has only offered glimmers of hope to the masses by saying he will utilize the popular Christian quarterback in some way.
On Monday, Ryan talked to the media and "spent more than half his time answering inquiries about Sanchez and Tebow, ranging from whether it is time to start Tebow to whether it is time to bench Tebow to avoid disrupting Sanchez," according to a Newsday sports columnist.
"I said when we took Tim it could be two snaps, 20 snaps, 50 snaps, depending on opponents," said the coach on Monday, according to Newsday. "I still believe that to be a true statement."
However, the weekly act by Ryan of dangling a carrot to Tebow fans still watching the Jets to see when their inspirational star will play is wearing thin. Some sports analysts are even questioning the Jets organization as to what its motivation for signing Tebow truly was in the first place.
"It's pathetic how they've used them, but are you willing to acknowledge one of two possibilities here? Either it was a publicity stunt on part of the New York Jets to begin with or once they got Tim Tebow they had no idea how bad he was in practice," said ESPN sports analyst Stephen A. Smith during yet another discussion with Tebow supporter Skip Bayless.
Seattle Seahawks (defeated Jets 28-7 last Sunday) coach Pete Carroll offered his opinion of the Jets' quarterback dilemma during a radio talk show. He believes a two quarterback system would not be good for Sanchez, who he coached when both were at USC.
"The whole emphasis of the two quarterback thing is really hard. You saw it (Sunday). It didn't get much for them," Carroll said on 710 ESPN Seattle. "It's got to be a little bit disruptive. I feel for [Sanchez]."
He added that Sanchez is "in a very difficult situation" and that Tebow is a "distraction" for the team.
Sanchez made himself available for a press conference on Monday, a day of the week he normally does not talk to media. He said that after Sunday's decisive loss there may be a lot of questions that need to be answered.
When asked about whether having Tebow as his backup is hard to deal with, Sanchez answered: "I don't really think about it like that. I just think about the X's and O's and what exactly went wrong in the game, not what if something goes bad, am I still going to play. I just don't think like that so it's really a non-issue and I try and just block it out and I feel like I've done a good job of that."
Sports columnist Tim Dahlberg doesn't see the Jets starting Tebow anytime soon and appears not to be a fan of his quarterback skills either.
"Tebow was never a good fit for the Jets, no matter how Ryan and the team's brain trust tried to spin it when they took him off of Denver's hands," Dahlberg wrote in his column for AP this week. "Unfortunately, it's becoming pretty clear he's not a good fit anywhere around the NFL, where running quarterbacks with ungainly throwing motions are not a prized commodity."