If you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks. The age-old adage has enjoyed considerable wear in this year’s off-season, as talking heads have dug so far deep to fill air space that their targets have included lowly replacement officials and ugly Seahawks uniforms. But as for having two signal-callers, the criticism is justified.
The question of whether a quarterback platoon can work is one that seemingly has found an answer on the field but lacks a reason as to why it still exists.
For decades, the quarterback carousel has seduced dozens of coaches to take a hop on board for a ride. More often than not, the carousel has stalled or even managed to eject its riders into coaching obscurity, and it seems primed to claim another in Rex Ryan.
Before you turn the page thinking that this is another “Tim-Tebow-has-no-place-in-the-NFL” hackjob, relax—it’s not.
To get a better idea of how the quarterback platoon will fare this season, consider the past:
Some coaches have long maintained that using different quarterbacks allows for different skill sets, creating a more dynamic offense.
Each variation of the platoon has inevitably failed. Some, such as Penn State’s Rob Bolden-Matt McGloin project, miserably.
Even with the advent of the Wildcat, splitting snaps can disrupt an offense’s rhythm or prevent a team from even starting one.
That brings us to the Jets, who managed to sustain one of the league’s most anemic offenses a year ago and in this year’s preseason. To change that, they acquired Tebow and kept Mark Sanchez as the starter, all the while fervently maintaining that they will find a way to give Tebow his reps, even going so far as to say that they plan to run as many as 30 percent of their snaps out of the Wildcat.
But if the platoon is to work, it would necessitate a major culture change, something Ryan has proven uncomfortable with.
Enter Tony Sparano, thought the Jets brass.
But even with the former Dolphins head coach now calling plays, the Jets aren’t a completely different team on the surface.
In 2011, the Jets ran just 12 plays out of the Wildcat, down from 43 in 2010. Even the Dolphins, who are widely credited for bringing the formation into professional vogue, have called only 238 Wildcat plays since introducing it in 2008.
This even with running quarterbacks Brad Smith and Pat White on their rosters.
The key for the Jets isn’t whether Sanchez and Tebow can co-exist, but whether either of them can produce looking to the sideline for the other after each play.
Even legends aren’t immune to the quarterback carousel.
Consider that Roger Staubach and Joe Montana both started their career in platoons under NFL immortals Tom Landry and Bill Walsh only to go on to start four Super Bowls and attain status as a Hall of Famer after getting their chance as starters.
That this is to happen for either Sanchez or Tebow is considerably less than likely, but at least they’ll grab more headlines this season.
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