The Jets insist on keeping the full “Tebow plan” a secret, but it’s all but certain the backup quarterback will be used as part of their rushing attack against New England.
Rex Ryan refused to entertain “what ifs” about Bilal Powell (separated shoulder) and Joe McKnight (ankle sprain) missing Sunday’s game in Foxboro. But when asked about using Tebow at running back, the coach said: “That’s a possibility.”
“The thing about Tim, with him being a football player like we’ve always talked about – by playing quarterback, he knows all the positions. And so, can you plug him in at running back, can you plug him in at tight end, or whatever? I think the answer is yes.”
It’s not a far-fetched conclusion, given the quarterback’s size and, more importantly, their lack of depth at the position –Jonathan Grimes, who was signed off of the Texans’ practice squad last month, is the only healthy back behind Shonn Greene at the moment.
“His skill set would be more based on power,” Ryan said of Tebow. “He’s not going to be a blazer compared to other running backs, but he’s got power.”
The backup quarterback has rushed for 64 yards on 18 carries so far this season. He’s averaging three yards per attempt and 10.7 per game. Though Tebow has yet to score a touchdown, his longest run is 22 yards.
But Ryan later clarified that Greene brings “a ton of power” as well and “has been a good back in this league and he still is.
“So that’s why he’s our starter,” he said.
When pressed about the need for more speed on the edges, compared to Greene, Ryan said he’s content with his roster. “It’s not like we’re going to put (cornerback/wide receiver Antonio) Cromartie back there,” he said.
“We’re good. We have some good backs. So I’m comfortable in our running back situation.”
Ryan said Grimes will “probably be up this week,” but he stopped short of declaring him their third-down back for this week.
Greene had a career-day against the Colts last week, rushing for 161 yards on 32 carries. He shouldered the ground-and-pound load in the absence of Powell and McKnight, who both suffered injuries in the third quarter.
(Both running backs did not practice Wednesday and they wont practice today, said Ryan.)
The Jets coach said Greene’s success was a direct result of more holes opening up. “He had some room to run,” Ryan said, “and hopefully that continues.”