Tim Tebow shows how efficient he is near goal line
GalleriesJets training camp 2012
Web linksBlog: Nothing but Jets
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- His moves were effortless and easy, a blend of brute strength and elusive footwork that forced everyone to take notice.
Including Mark Sanchez.
For the first time in this training camp, Tim Tebow was in his element Thursday -- faking handoffs, running bootlegs and barreling his way into the end zone -- as the Jets emphasized efficiency from inside the 5-yard line.
It was vintage Tebow. And, the Jets hope, a sign of things to come.
"If he's one-on-one with a defender and a tackler, my money's on Tim," Sanchez said. "That guy can really run the ball. He's got great vision. And he's got this will about him to put it in the end zone."
Tebow was "live" during the goal-line drills, meaning he was fair game for the defense, except when he was dropping back to pass. The Jets' offense scored three times on four goal-line plays with Tebow: He ran for two touchdowns and also ran a play-action bootleg that resulted in a touchdown pass to Josh Baker.
"When he's inside the 5, you have to [be physical] because you know that's a weapon," Rex Ryan said, adding that Thursday was Tebow's best practice. "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 will use Tebow as a goal-line specialist, though the coach deferred the decision to offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. "I can see us doing some of that, for the simple fact that I know how difficult it is to stop," Ryan said. "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 said he'll gladly defer to his backup, given Tebow's effectiveness in the red zone.
"We can drive it 99 yards and he can run it in," said Sanchez, who in the past has said that being subbed out of games disrupts his rhythm. "We have to win the game. It doesn't matter. It's bigger than what one person on this team wants. We're really in the business of winning and we really have to be selfless. Myself included."
And those words, Ryan said, show the depth of Sanchez's maturity. "He's all in," Ryan said.
On Tebow's first snap from the 1-yard line, he scored on a naked bootleg, sprinting to his left without any linemen serving as protection in front of him.
"I've done it my whole life,'' Tebow said, "so it's just something that comes extremely natural to me and something that I feel like I don't really practice much anymore."
"If we put in a package where Tim scores 90 touchdowns this season, we're going to be happy because we can continue winning ballgames," said the wide receiver, who sat out practice with tightness and general soreness. "We can continue scoring touchdowns, we can lead the NFL in red-zone scoring efficiency."