Tim Tebow coy on backup RB role this week

Tim Tebow looks on as he warms up Tim Tebow looks on as he warms up before a game against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. (Oct. 8, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets continue to present Tim Tebow as the Paul Revere of Possibilities, sounding alarms about sending the erstwhile miracle man to perpetuate some sneak invasion of enemy teams.

This week, Jets coach Rex Ryan let it slip -- if it was a slip -- that Tebow might play a bit of running back against the Patriots on Sunday. But this is beginning to sound like the boy who cried wolf.

On Friday, Tebow danced around the running back talk as he has tiptoed away from questions that he might be getting sick of mostly sitting on the bench, or whether he expects to play more from the Wildcat formation, or how his blocking is coming along.

Practice any as a running back this week?

"I practiced at carrying the ball a few times," he said. "If running back is carrying the ball, then sure."

Like some paid political announcement, he has repeated over and over: "I just do what I'm asked to do and try to do the best I can. Just try to do it well. Whatever I'm asked to do, I'm going to do with all my heart, love it and have fun doing it."

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Ryan said Thursday that it is a "possibility" that Tebow will be used at running back Sunday with Joe McKnight (high ankle sprain) and Bilal Powell (separated shoulder) battling injuries. McKnight is questionable and Powell is doubtful for the game.

Of course, Tebow would not bite on suggestions that he and Ryan are being a bit cagey about how he will be used, possibly as a tactic to force New England into extended preparations.

"You know," Tebow said, "coach Ryan and coach Sparano come up with new game plans every week, be creative, so we're just trying to be prepared for whatever they ask us to do. Especially me, in particular. I just try to listen, and if you have a specific role in a specific week, just do it well."

Though his trademark of "Tebowing" -- the down-on-one-knee prayerful pose he exhibited after scoring last season -- has been completed ("It got hyped up as Tebowing, so [the trademark] was more to just control how it's used, make sure it's used in the right way," he said), he has had little opportunity for such gestures this season.

Two pass completions in three attempts for 32 yards. Eighteen rushes for 64 yards (3.6 per play). A lot of standing around on the sideline. No pass receptions.

"I mean," he kidded, "when I'm open, Mark's got to hit me." (Sanchez bounced a pass off Tebow's helmet against Miami.)

The last time Tebow played at New England, as the starting quarterback for Denver in last January's divisional playoffs, he was held to 136 yards passing and 13 yards rushing, was sacked five times and lost, 45-10.

The last time he recalled taking a handoff in a game was "maybe my freshman year in college."

But the Jets keep threatening to do something.

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Notes & quotes: Doubtful for Sunday: DTs Sione Po'uha (lower back) and Kenrick Ellis (knee), S Eric Smith (knee). Questionable: C Nick Mangold (ankle), WR Clyde Gates (shoulder) . . . Rookie defensive end Quinton Coples was fined $10,000 for face-masking Colts quarterback Andrew Luck on his first NFL sack in last week's 35-9 win over Indy. Outside linebacker Aaron Maybin was fined $7,875 for unnecessary roughness after striking Luck with his elbow after Luck was down.

. . . Shonn Greene was named the FedEx ground NFL player of the week for his career day against the Colts last week. He rushed for 161 yards on 32 carries and scored three times in the Jets' 35-9 victory over the Colts.

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