Florham Park, N.J. – Of all the NFL storylines that are certain to unfold this season, the question of how the Jets plan to divide the quarterback duties between Mark Sanchez and backup Tim Tebow stirs the most curiosity.
Some reports have suggested that Tebow may serve as a special-teamer. Betting lines concerning whether Tebow gets a shot as the starting quarterback already exist.
The Jets have protected their plans for Tebow like a running back would a pigskin, saying only that the second-stringer would play anywhere between one and 20 snaps per game.
The prevailing assumption has been that Tebow will only play when he's coming in for Sanchez. But what if the Jets decide to use both players? At the same time. In the backfield.
"Man, I'd probably want to call a timeout," said linebacker Josh Mauga, who exhaled deeply after being asked to imagine having to line up against such a formation. "I think it'd confuse everybody if they lined up that way. I don't think anyone's ever really seen it before."
The notion of using two natural passers in the same backfield simultaneously -- which the Jets have not discussed publicly as a possibility -- is incredibly rare, and almost unheard of at the pro level.
The mass chaos that might stem from such a play call is part of the reason the Jets acquired Tebow. They could consider giving a two-quarterback formation a try, as the Wildcat alignment -- which gives players like Tebow the option of throwing, running or pitching the ball to someone else -- has become dated.
Unlike the Wildcat, with a simultaneous two-quarterback system, "you wouldn't be able to prepare for it because no one's ever seen it on film," star cornerback Darrelle Revis said, adding that the defense would be on high alert for a trick play.
"My first thought would be, 'Something crazy's about to happen,'" said safety Eric Smith. "If we see them both of them in the backfield, we'd want to somehow get more defensive backs in to protect against the pass." But there wouldn't be enough time to make such a switch, he said.
Tebow said it'd be interesting to see what opposing defenses do when he takes the field, adding that "we don't even necessarily know how we are going to attack people yet."
The team is trying to install a new offense, and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is still deciphering what he'll use from his "big box of goodies" in terms of playcalls involving the quarterback.
"About 90 percent of the offense is standard professional football offense. Then there's 10 percent of this thing that could be very effective and fun for the [fans]," he said.