Tim Tebow or Mark Sanchez: Who Should Start for the New York Jets?

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This is a debate that may rage deep into the 2012 regular season, but Athlon debates who should start Week 1.

<p> Tim Tebow or Mark Sanchez: Who Should Start for the New York Jets?</p>

Athlon Sports will preview the upcoming 2012 NFL season with in-depth roundtable debates with our editors and other experts from around the world of football.

Q: Who should be the starting quarterback of the New York Jets: Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow?

Alan Schechter, TheJetPress.com
Mark Sanchez should be the starter for the New York Jets. He is the better quarterback, and it is not close. Watch each of them play and you will know why. For every long pass that Tim Tebow completes, there are 4-5 that are not even close. In the preseason game against the Giants, Tebow rolled to his right and had a wide open Stephen Hill in the endzone. However, there was nobody within 10 yards of him, and yet Tebow couldn’t make the connection. He airmailed a few others over guys heads, but the one to Hill was bad. And after the game, he made excuses for it instead of owning up to a bad throw. Mark Sanchez would make that throw each and every time. Tim Tebow is not a consistent quarterback. He is a gimmick.

As far as Sanchez goes, nobody gives him enough credit for the success that he has had. He's led the Jets to two AFC Championship games, and his numbers are actually slightly better than Eli Manning’s when you compare their first three seasons as starting quarterbacks. Mark Sanchez needs his offensive line to play well, so the ground and pound can get moving, and then he can work off of the play action. He needs his weapons to be out on the field, and he will be just fine. Going into the Panthers game in Week 3 of the preseason, Sanchez is completing 75 percent of his passes. Enough said.

Mark Sanchez is the only one to start at quarterback for this team. If Tim Tebow starts for any other reason than opening with a Wildcat play, or a Sanchez injury, the season will go very badly for the New York Jets.

Rob Doster (@AthlonDoster)
In one sense, the Jets have an enviable QB situation: Sanchez and Tebow have a combined playoff record of 5-3 as starting quarterbacks. Still, I can’t overlook the conventional wisdom that if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have any, and the fact that we’re even having this debate tells me that the Jets are set to struggle. But since you asked, here goes: I’d stick with Sanchez and save Tebow for short-yardage, goal-line or change-of-pace situations. That’s the scenario that made sense when the move was made to acquire Tebow, and it still holds today.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I believe Mark Sanchez should be the starter, even though his interception totals are alarming. The USC product has increased his touchdown and passing yard numbers each season, and the team has won around him when the running game and defense are solid. The obvious problem with Sanchez is his accuracy, but Tim Tebow was the only regular NFL quarterback with a completion percentage under 50 percent last year. Tebow’s strength is running the ball out of the “Wildcat”, and he should have success doing that with the Jets. I see Sanchez being the lead signal caller, with Tebow giving the Jets a quality power running option on short yardage and in the red zone.

Nathan Rush, Athlon Sports
Mark Sanchez has to be the starter for Week 1. But his leash won't be very long if the Jets sputter off the runway. Tim Tebow will be high-energy and even higher-profile — on the sidelines, at the goal line and in the Wildcat. The Sanchize better start Tebowing, because his job is in jeopardy. But he deserves to take the first snap from center at MetLife Stadium against the Bills.

Mark Ross, Athlon Sports
Despite an apparent lack of production, Sanchez is still the best option for the Jets at quarterback. He put up career numbers last season and has been accurate (completed nearly 70 percent of his passes) in the preseason as well. Even though he and Tebow have the same number of interceptions (two) and touchdown passes (zero), Tebow has completed less than 40 percent of his throws. Tebow’s great in the Wildcat and can definitely help this offense in the right role, but that’s not as starting quarterback. Sanchez has earned the right to be under center for the Jets in Week 1. Then again, if the offensive line doesn't do a better job in pass protection, then they may as well throw Tebow back there. His accuracy won't be an issue since he won't even have enough time to throw a pass.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
This is a comical discussion. Tim Tebow is a great leader, a positive member of any locker room, will bring attention to your brand and can't really complete NFL passes. Any other 25-year old starting quarterback with two AFC title game appearances, an increase of key statistics across the board and nary a losing record in three seasons would be viewed as the franchise. He is one of only three quarterbacks who have won a playoff game in at least two of the last three years. He has done something most can only imagine when he outplayed Tom Brady on the road in a playoff win over the Patriots. He finished second to only Cam Newton in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback last year. Sanchez has increased his yards, touchdowns, completion percentage and QB rating in each of this three seasons. Yet, he might be the most scrutinized signal caller in the league and takes entirely too much blame for a roster loaded with knuckleheads and egomaniacs. Tebow is a nice weapon, Sanchez is the only hope for a deep run in the playoffs.

@bradengall

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