Tim Tebow is already a
dangerous weapon in the Jets’ offense. But on Sunday, some additional duties
could make Tebow even more of a threat for the Patriots defense.
Rex Ryan hinted on Thursday
that Tebow could see some added time on the field, taking snaps at running
back, according to the New York Daily News.
“By playing quarterback,
he knows all the positions,” Ryan said of Tebow’s versatility. “So
can you plug him in at running back? Can you plug him in at tight end? I think
the answer is yes.”
Normally, there wouldn’t even
be a discussion about the possibility. But with backup running backs Bilal
Powell and Joe McKnight suffering from injuries, the options are running awful
thin. With some slim pickings on the depth chart, Tebow could be forced into
action — a strategy that could pay dividends for the Jets come Sunday.
Tebow is already enough of a
problem in the Jets’ wildcat package as it is, but utilizing him in a more
prominent role out of the backfield could create much larger issues even for a
staunch run-stopping defense like the Patriots.
Obviously it’s all just
speculation, fueled by Ryan’s remarks, of course. But if he does see more time
in the backfield, Tebow would most likely be used more in short-yardage
situations. Ryan acknowledged that thought on Thursday, further adding to the
idea that Tebow will be lining up behind Sanchez at times against New England.
“His skill set would be
more based on power,” Ryan added. “He’s not going to be a blazer
compared to other running backs, but he’s got power.”
With his massive 6-foot-3,
235-pound frame, Tebow is built like a fullback, something that’s benefitted
him greatly against smaller defenses. But beyond the size alone, Tebow is also
a strong and powerful runner, making him an almost perfect fit for those
short-yardage and goal-line situations.
The possibilities for Tebow
are endless. His ability to run, throw and even line up on the outside, even if
they haven’t thrown him a pass yet, offers the Jets a variety of ways to confuse
and execute against opposing defense. That means his increased presence in the
game on Sunday could only complicate things for the Patriots.
Bill Belichick sees the
complications that Tebow’s versatility adds to the Jets offense, and the sort
of intricate packages the Patriots will need to be on the lookout for when he’s
on the field.
“They’ve put him in some
different spots,” Belichick said on Tuesday. “When he’s the
quarterback, he’s the quarterback: he can run, he can throw, he can run the
option, he can run their regular offense or they can run Tebow-type plays there
that Denver ran last year or that [Offensive Coordinator Tony] Sparano ran when
he was at Miami.”
The Patriots’ defense is well
aware of the elaborate schemes New York’s offense has with Tebow on board, and
Vince Wilfork is preparing for them all.
showing up on offense, special teams. So you have to account for him,”
Wilfork said. “Like I said, the guy’s a playmaker. He’s a winner. He’s
passionate about playing football, so you have to be able to — when he’s in —
understand how they try to use him.
“It’s not the same all
the time. Quarterback, tight end, running back, he’s everything. You just have
to see how they use him.”
Tebow’s implementation into
the offense on Sunday, whether it be as a quarterback, decoy receiver or even a
running back, will be important to the Jets’ success. But it’s the countless
possibilities when he is on the field that makes him so valuable to this offense.