New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) and quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) on the sidelines against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Photo: Debby Wong, US PRESSWIRE)
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (USA TODAY) -- Woody Johnson was talking quarterbacks, and while he's nobody's guru, it is indeed a subject for which the New York Jets owner can offer a unique perspective.
After all, Johnson pays quarterbacks.
And Tim Tebow was dumped. Mark Sanchez is on shaky ground. Geno Smith is in the wings. With Tebow's release last week, the Jets are down to five quarterbacks.
During a break at the NFL career development symposium on Tuesday, Johnson made his first public comments since Tebow's release.
Someone asked Johnson if Tebow would still be a Jet if he had decided to switch positions.
"I don't want to speculate on that," Johnson said. "You've got to listen to what he wants to do."
So it appears before his release, Tebow was sticking to the idea of being a career quarterback - despite the contention of people in the league that he stands a better chance of landing another NFL job if he switches positions, maybe to a hybrid H-back/fullback role.
"You have to move on from those decisions," Johnson said. "You make bad decisions, you make a decision that doesn't help the team, you move on."
Too many bad decisions, though, and that's a lot of moving on. Not sure if that was one of the themes amplified during the symposium at the Wharton School of Business - which brought accomplished coaches and executives to the Ivy League campus to share insight with up-and-coming coaches and executives - but it undoubtedly should have been.
"It was just something that didn't work out," Johnson added of Tebow. "It didn't work for us. That doesn't mean it won't work someplace else."
The day could come when Johnson is saying the same about Sanchez, the embattled incumbent starter who has a hotshot rookie eyeing his job.
With Sanchez entering the final year of his contract, the Jets plucked Smith in the second round. Suddenly, the franchise that never has enough drama has a fresh quarterback "competition" to dominate headlines.
Johnson tried to clear up one lingering question. He says the Jets have no plans to part ways with Sanchez before training camp, when apparently the competition will be waged in earnest.
"Competition makes you better," Johnson said.
When someone asked Johnson whether he even expected Sanchez to be at camp, the team's owner looked puzzled.
"I would expect him to compete," Johnson said. "He's under contract."
Sanchez took the Jets to the AFC title game in each of his first two seasons, but now he's got a kid from West Virginia - Smith -- poised to make his mark. It shows how quickly things change in the NFL. Not long ago, he was The Sanchize.
Same thing for Rex Ryan. The coach is signed through 2014, but this is now new GM John Idzik's team to build.
Was there a message to Sanchez with the drafting of Smith? "The message to all the players on the team is that with John Idzik, it's going to be competition, all the way around," Johnson said. "The best competition, spirited."
What to make of all the buzz around the Jets' offseason moves?
Johnson: "I think the buzz will be a new feeling that John Idzik brings to the building."
Idzik traded all-pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, a controversial move because a proven talent was exchanged for a promising prospect in first-rounder Dee Milliner.
But it's possible that an even more defining measure of his impact will come with Smith. Johnson said he has met Smith just once - during a 15-minute interview at the scouting combine. He downplayed questions that some raised before and after the draft about Smith's maturity and other intangibles.
Johnson said the Jets considered drafting Smith in the first round, if the team had traded down in the round. He said that besides skill, the Jets evaluated Smith on communication and leadership.
"We evaluated all of that," he said. "He had a very high score with us."
Still, Johnson isn't ready to crown Smith as the franchise quarterback-in-waiting.
"We'll see how it goes," he said. "I don't want to prejudge it. They've got to go in there and compete every day. We'll see how it looks on the field."