Exclusive: NFL Writer Bart Hubbuch Sits Down with the Jet Press
By Alan Schechter
NFL Writer Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post is very honest with his opinions. If you follow him on Twitter(@HubbuchNYP), you have the opportunity to read his unique take on a daily basis. Bart has been gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to share his opinions regarding the Jets with us:
THE JETPRESS-I want to start with your opinion of Mark Sanchez. Although his numbers have improved every year, he gets a lot of criticism, some valid, some not. His decision making does leave something to be desired at times, as we saw last year. Can he be the guy the franchise quarterback that the Jets need?
BART HUBBACH-I highly doubt Sanchez will ever be a true “franchise” quarterback, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be the long-term answer for the Jets. I’m sorry, but you don’t win four road playoff games — two of them against Tom Brady and Peyton Manning — and go to back-to-back conference title games by accident. Sanchez has the potential to be a reliable, productive, winning starter, but it’s up to the Jets to surround him with a capable supporting cast. They didn’t do that last year and seemingly haven’t done it again this year, while at the same time compounding the problem by bringing in Tim Tebow. How is Sanchez supposed to gain confidence (admittedly a problem for him) and develop fully in light of those two factors? Beats me.
TJP-From what you have seen so far, in your visits to Cortland, is Mark taking the steps to be that leader for the Jets?
BH-Still too early to tell. He’s saying a lot of the right things, but the proof won’t come until the games count.
TJP-What is your opinion about how the Jets have handled Mark over his first three years?
BH-Bi-polar, to be honest. They coddle him on one hand, then bring in the Tebow circus on the other. It’s as if they got too caught up in the over-the-top criticism of Sanchez last season — much of which I thought was unfair, considering his awful supporting cast — and decided to all but give up on him after one bad year despite the success of the previous two. I can’t figure it out. I have no idea now how the Jets truly feel about him.
Sep 25, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
TJP– In your opinion, have the Jets take the appropriate steps to move forward from the failures of 2011? Why or why not, and what would you do differently if anything?
BH-Not really, sorry. I really like the Coples pick if they can get him to stop taking plays off like he did in college, and Hill’s speed is intriguing. But I’m on record saying the decision to bring back Santonio Holmes was a disaster in the making, and Mike Tannenbaum’s relative indifference to free agency remains a mystery to me considering the glaring holes this team has and the lack of depth that will likely haunt them late in the season. Why didn’t they try to sign Eric Winston? Where are the receivers? Why do they insist on retaining so much cap room? My suspicion for three years running is that Tannenbaum’s hands are tied in the money department, which should concern Jets fans greatly.
TJP-The elephant in the room, the one that everybody likes to talk about is Tim Tebow? What do you think of the move? There is really no history for it, but can the Jets make a two quarterback system work successfully?
BH-Put me in the “no” category. I thought it was a terrible move, one orchestrated by Woody Johnson solely for marketing purposes, and it has the potential to divide the team very quickly. I’m not saying Sanchez has a locker-room full of defenders, but uncertainty about the quarterback — especially on a series-to-series basis like the Jets are talking about — are almost always season-killers in the NFL. I wish I could be more hopeful for you, but this decision was made for the wrong reasons and it will take an unlikely repeat of Tebow’s magic with the Broncos last year to make it a good one.
TJP-A lot of people think he will overtake Mark Sanchez and become the starter, and sooner rather than later. What do you think? And can Tim Tebow be a quality starting quarterback in this league?
BH-It almost feels like Sanchez has been set up to fail, thanks to the Jets’ meager roster moves and the early part of their schedule, so I have practically no doubt Tebow will be given the chance to start this season. Now, does that mean he’ll become the full-time starter? No. Because Tebow simply isn’t cut out to be a full-time starter in today’s NFL, which has never been more pass-happy in its entire history. His throwing motion is hopeless (you can’t teach an old dog new tricks), and a glorified fullback under center isn’t any type of long-term solution in pro football.
TJP-Why do a lot of writers/analysts give people like Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman a pass as far as criticism, and go after Sanchez on a much larger scale? It seems like people look past the success that Mark has had……What can Mark do to silence all of that once and for all?
BH-Win a Super Bowl, basically. It worked for Eli. As for why Sanchez gets more criticism than the others, I think it’s pretty obvious that’s a function of playing in New York versus playing in Atlanta or Tampa.
Aug 4, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes (left) tries to catch a pass against New York Jets defensive back Kyle Wilson (right) during a scrimmage at SUNY Cortland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
TJP-Talk about Santonio Holmes. You were not silent on Twitter about your feelings when he took himself out of minicamp. Can this guy be the go to receiver, and be a leader for this New York Jets team?
BH-No. He’s a proven locker-room cancer, and if Rex isn’t careful, he’s going to be a coach-killer, too. To put it another way, the Steelers don’t just give away a star player for no reason.
Aug 10, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano on the sidelines during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
TJP-How about Tony Sparano? He brings back the Ground and Pound, which has been successful for the Jets in the recent pass as we know, but the league is very pass first. Can a run first team go the distance and win a Super Bowl?
BH-It’s possible, because running teams can control the clock (see: the Giants’ Super Bowl win over the Bills). But the Jets are going to need a great defense to make that happen, because it’s hell on running teams to play from behind.
TJP-If the Jets have a bad season, say 6-10 or worse, for any reason other than a rash of injuries, do you think Tannenbaum or Rex could be on the hot seat?
BH-Definitely Tannenbaum, because his drafts — especially 2010 — have been weak, although I think firing him would be a bit unfair because of how tightly Woody has been holding the purse strings the past few years. I think Rex would get another year if 6-10 happens, but I wouldn’t guarantee it.
TJP-Finally, give us your prediction for the Jets for 2012, and your thoughts about that prediction.
BH-8-8 again. The schedule is tough, the division looks difficult, they’re very thin at key positions (hey, Wayne Hunter!) and the Sanchez-Tebow sideshow has trouble written all over it.
We truly appreciate Bart Hubbuch for taking the time to talk to us. Follow him at @HubbuchNYP on Twitter.