New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
Rex liking idea of using Tebow at goal line; plus injury notes
CORTLAND – The Jets had a clear vision of what they were getting when they traded for Tim Tebow in the offseason. But Thursday’s short yardage goal-line drill offered Rex Ryan a refresher in Tebow’s versatility.
"Obviously, this was his best day of camp,” the Jets head coach said of the backup quarterback, who ran for two touchdowns and also threw a TD pass to fullback Josh Baker on a play-action bootleg from inside the 5.
Tebow even was “live” during much of the goal-line drill – meaning, he was fair game when it came to taking blows from the defense, unless he was dropping back for a pass.
That sort of situation was a first for Ryan, but it was necessary.
“When he’s inside the 5 you have to because you know that’s a weapon,” he said, referring to Tebow’s elusiveness, especially near the end zone. “…It’s not like you’re going to have a live goal-line scrimmage and, oh by the way, the quarterback’s running for a touchdown and nobody lays a glove on him.”
After a short pause, Ryan said with a laugh: “It’s kind of what it looked like anyway.”
The Jets likely use Tebow as their goal-line guy, though the coach wouldn’t specify how often. “I can see us doing some of that, for the simple fact that I know how difficult it is to stop. But we’re going to do whatever we can to score, obviously – if that means putting Tim in, if that means leaving Mark in.”
Sanchez already has given his blessing, so to speak, if the coaching staff decides to pull him in favor of Tebow at, say, the 1-yard. And that, said Ryan, shows the depths of Sanchez’s maturity and his desire to win.
“No. 1, he’s all in,” the coach said. “It’s not about him, not about me, not about this guy or that guy. It’s about us. And I think he understands that as well as anybody.”
Ryan then paused, seizing a punch-line opportunity. “He says that now because he hasn’t played a game,” he said with a laugh. “But no, it’s the truth though. I think that’s that team mindset that we’re trying to establish.”
Despite being second last season in red-zone efficiency (the Jets scored touchdowns 65.4 percent of the time with Sanchez) and their confidence in their starting quarterback, Ryan is excited to see about all the options Tebow can bring.
“You hear Tony talk all the time about ‘Run through the smoke,’” the coach said, referring to Sparano, the offensive coordinator. “And he runs through that smoke; this 250-pound guy barreling down at you. We saw a little bit of what he can do today, what he brings to the table in a short-yardage and goal-line situation. And then when we get back to doing more Wildcat-type things, we’ll all be excited that Tim’s here.”
But Ryan was quick to point out the Jets won’t be going for the two-point conversation attempt with Tebow after every score.
“We’re throwing,” he said. “That’s the other thing. It’s not just that he can run it, but he can also throw it as well.”
WR Jeremy Kerley (hamstring) did not practice, but appears to be a step closer to returning to the field. He did more involved agility drills Wednesday -- but he was alone with a trainer, away from the ever-growing rehab group. During his Kerley running drills, he did a lot of cutting, while catching passes with one hand. At the beginning of practice, he hopped 30-plus yards down the sideline under the watchful eye of a trainer, and when he made it to the far side, Kerley turned and gave him a thumbs up.
NT Sione Po'uha (forehead cut), S LaRon Landry (Achilles/heel), WR Chaz Schilens (groin), WR Santonio Holmes, RB John Griffin, WR Royce Pollard, WR Scotty McKnight (leg), WR Damarcus Ganaway (hamstring), LB Marcus Dowtin and WR Eron Riley began the practice in the rehab group, doing extending warm-ups. Po'uha, Landry and Dowtin were not in uniform.
Ryan couldn't give an update on Holmes' progress because he hadn't yet talked to head trainer John Mellody. The coach said he expects his No. 1 wide receiver to be able to play in Saturday's green and white scrimmage, but he didn't sound all that convinced.
As for the injured group as a whole, he said: "I think we had a few more guys practice today, which was positive. But we’ll see. Again, I don’t think it’s a serious thing. We’ve got some nagging deals and some minor-type injuries – and we’re lucky and fortunate we don’t have the big ones right now. But it is frustrating when it hits 10 of your receivers, or whatever it is (eight). But do I expect them back? I certainly hope so, soon.”
OL Vlad Ducasse was back in pads after Wednesday's knee scare. So was RB Joe McKnight, who sat out practice the day before because of food poisoning.
New CB Devon Torrence was on the practice field but wearing a red non-contact jersey. ...so were LB Demario Davis, WR Jordan White and G Terrence Campbell. Davis, White and Campbell will be able to wear pads Friday.
Ryan told the team after Wednesday's practice that the offense would wear the coveted black jerseys on Friday. The coach said the competition has been fierce, due in large part to bragging rights. “I loved what Sanchez did: going up to Bart (Scott) and a different guy saying, ‘What size is that jersey? Yeah, that’ll fit.' Those black jersey things really have been good. They’ve brought out some fun competition.
As the players walked off the field at the end of practice, Davis was seen carrying Aaron Maybin and David Harris' jerseys. Fellow rookie, DE Quinton Coples was spotted carrying Bart's.