Jets could use Tim Tebow at running back vs. Patriots

October 18, 2012

(Alex Trautwig / Getty Images)

From running the Wildcat to mastering the art of the fake punt jump-pass for a first down, Tim Tebow continues to display his willingness to do just about anything the New York Jets tell him.

Yet the Jets appear content, at least for the time being, to keep Tebow’s involvement in the offense to a minimum. Through six games, Tebow has attempted only three passes and rushed 18 times for 64 yards.

That role may expand to include snaps at running back this week when the Jets visit New England in a crucial AFC East clash. With backup tailbacks Bilal Powell (dislocated shoulder) and Joe McKnight (ankle) banged up, Rex Ryan was asked if he might use Tebow to spell Shonn Greene.

“That’s a possibility,” Ryan said (via the Newark Star-Ledger). “The thing about him being a football player, like we’ve always talked about, by playing quarterback he knows all the positions. We can plug him in at running back we can plug him in at tight end or whatever. I think the answer is yes.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised Tebow’s versatility earlier this week, and acknowledged that “you have to be ready to deal with him at other positions as well.”

In August, Tebow responded to ESPN analyst Merrill Hoge’s assertion that he could be an asset at running back for the Jets by reiterating, “I’m a quarterback, first and foremost.” But at this point, he seems willing to play any position that will give him more time on the field. 

The Jets have not ruled Powell or McKnight out for Sunday’s game, and Greene is coming off his strongest game of the season — a 32-carry, 162-yard, 3-TD effort against Indianapolis. But Patriots will likely be keying on the running game, and Tebow could provide a different look, whether he’s taking direct snaps or lining up behind Mark Sanchez.

That said, when reports surfaced that the Jets planned to give Tebow more touches in their Week 5 game against Houston, Tebow ended up with just five carries and an incomplete pass.

Is this the week “Tebow Time” returns?

Follow us: @MattBrooksWP | @CindyBoren

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Cindy Boren | October 18, 2012