New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
Starters likely to play one quarter vs. Cincy; Jets mum on Tebow gameplan
**Updated @ 4:21 p.m.**
CORTLAND – The fine-tuning of Friday’s game plan still is in the works, but as of now, Rex Ryan said his starters will play at least one quarter against Cincinnati.
Some guys could play more, others less. But on defense, players likely will be limited to about 15 plays.
“We’ll see how it goes. But that’s generally the plan,” Ryan said.
As of now, it’s still unclear how much playing time Tim Tebow will get. Normally, the second-string offense plays for two quarters. But with an offensive weapon like Tebow – who can do a variety of things, as we’ve been told by the Jets – it could be risky to keep Tebow on the field with undisciplined and uncoordinated second and third-string linemen.
Ryan, however, said he isn’t worried.
“With us, it’s a new offense and I think everybody needs reps,” the coach said of limiting Tebow’s playing time. “Will we extend the first offense more than a quarter? We’ll see. But I think with Tim, and everybody else, needs the opportunity to go against live competition. I think that’s where he excels.”
As for the Wildcat package, Ryan said with a smile, that’s “something Cincinnati needs to prepare for right now.”
Hours later, Tony Sparano said the Jets will run a "vanilla" offense against the Bengals.
"We didn't plan at all here," he said. "We didn't sit in that office and game plan at all. We're talking about personnel right now. We're going to go out there, and we're just going to let the guys play and get a chance to evaluate young players."
The Jets offensive coordinator said the goal of the preseason is to get your main and "fringe" guys enough work over a four-game period so they're "game-ready."
Sparano, however, wouldn't divulge the Jets' plan for Tebow. Asked if he plans to use the Wildcat against the Bengals, he replied: "We'll see. There's always a chance."
Sparano did, however, say Tebow has progressed since the first day of camp. But he added that those improvements aren't necessarily visisible to untrained eye.
"I see them quite a bit," he said. "In that, his identifications of fronts, his identifications of coverages. Going through progressions -- he did that today out there. Went through progressions, and made a couple throws out there.
"I think the ball, every day, is coming off his hands a lot better. He's getting the quick game stuff out faster, which is something they hadn't done a whole lot in the past with him. I think (quarterbacks coach) Matt Cavanaugh has done a great job with him thay way and we're just trying to, every day, continue to push the envelope that way."
Sparano dismissed the idea that Tebow's extensive work with the second-string offense has made it more difficult for him to be accurately evaluated. Like Ryan, Sparano has witnessed firsthand what Tebow can do.
"I think we can see enough of what Tim's done throwing the football," said Sparano. "When you get out there and you put him in the game, I'm pretty sure I know what's going to happen. So we'll see. I'm pretty sure. I stood on the other sideline and watched it. It wasn't a good feeling.
"...I've had that glimpse up close and in person: the score was 15-0 with not much time left in the game," said the former Dolphins coach, whose team blew a 15-point lead with three minutes left against Denver last season. Tebow threw two touchdown passes in the final 2:44, then tied the score by running in a two-point conversion with 17 seconds left in regulation. The Broncos eventually won the game 18-15 in overtime.
"I think the people here have had that glimpse (of what Tebow can do). We've seen it. That's why the guy is here."