After months of intrigue surrounding what exactly Tebow's
role will be in the New York Jets' offense, the backup quarterback will see
some action in the tricky formation in the regular-season opener against the
Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
''I think if we don't, everybody's going to be like, 'Wait a
second. You guys have been saying things about this wildcat and we haven't even
seen one snap of it,''' Rex Ryan said with a laugh. ''But, sure we're going to run
some wildcat, there's no doubt.''
The Jets did not use the wildcat at all in the preseason,
when New York failed to score a touchdown in the first three games with starter
Mark Sanchez and Tebow, the backup. Third-string quarterback Greg McElroy
finally led the Jets into the end zone in the preseason finale at Philadelphia
last Thursday night.
The fact the Jets became the first team since the 1977
Atlanta Falcons to go three preseason games without a TD had many fans and
media wondering whether New York's offense was simply inept or just holding
back. They appeared to treat the plan for Tebow and the wildcat like a
government secret at times, but Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano
also reasoned that there was no need to give opponents any advance film to
''I guess we never appeased whoever by not putting [Tebow] out there,'' Ryan said. ''If that added to it, that wasn't our intent. Our
intent was there's no sense showing it right now in the preseason, just like I'm
sure a lot of teams are saving specific things for their openers. We're not
different than a lot of teams doing that.''
But the Jets are unlike any other NFL team because of the
fact that they have Tebow on their roster, and their plans for him have been
kept mostly under wraps.
''I understand where it has come from,'' Ryan said. ''Tim,
forget just being a popular football player. He's a popular person. I can
understand that there's a lot of interest there, but it's kind of funny,
really. We're just trying to field a good football team and in any way
Tebow is expected to see anywhere from a handful of plays to
maybe 20-25 while in the wildcat-style formation — depending on the opponent.
Ryan added that Buffalo will be well-prepared to defend against the scheme
because the Bills have quarterback-turned-wide receiver Brad Smith, who ran the
Jets' wildcat before leaving before last season. Bills quarterbacks coach David
Lee also helped Sparano, then the Dolphins coach, implement it in Miami a few
''This team will probably be as prepared to face the wildcat
as any team we'll face,'' Ryan said. ''This team's going to be prepared. We'll
see who out-executes the other.''