Palm Beach, Fla. – Rex Ryan can’t wait to dive into the playbook and figure out ways for Tim Tebow to get on the field and help the Jets.
Ryan said the team plans to use Tebow in creative ways during games, and perhaps hinted that he wouldn’t only be the team’s backup quarterback and play in Wildcat formations. Could Tebow play running back? Tight end? H-back?
“We’ll see, “Ryan said, a day before the Jets were to introduce Tebow today at a press conference at their Florham Park, N.J. training facility. “The thing about him is he is smart, athletic, tough and an unbelievably great competitor. We’re going to build a football team, but [offensive coordinator] Tony [Sparano] is creative, I think we are all creative. We’re going to use this player. We bring in guys for a purpose of how can they help us, are there things they can do to help us, and we feel Tim is a guy that can really help us. He is a quarterback, no question he’s a quarterback, but his skills I see as a football player, that gets me excited … We are bringing him in to be a football player.”
Ryan said he wasn’t worried about starter Mark Sanchez losing confidence with Tebow now on the team, even though Tebow has previously stated unequivocally that he wants to be a full-time quarterback and led Denver to the playoffs after taking over as the starter early in the season.
“I think Mark is an extremely confident guy,” Ryan said. “What he understands is we’re brining in a football player and a guy that’s going to help us, and that’s all we care about. We care about winning, and Mark is the same way. They’re both very competitive guys, but we have a No. 1 quarterback. Mark Sanchez is our No. 1 quarterback. Tim Tebow is our No. 2 quarterback. But he’s also going to do other things for this football team. Let’s not just look at him as a quarterback. I look at him as a football player. Let’s not hear about what guys can’t do. Let’s talk about what they can do. I see a guy with a lot of ability, and we’re going to [use] that.”
Ryan said he doesn’t believe Tebow will be frustrated by his role, despite saying on a number of occasions that his first preference is to be a full-time quarterback.
“I don’t see Tim just holding a clipboard,” Ryan said. “He’s going to be playing for us. There’s no doubt. He’ll have a role. Wildcat. He’ll be a better wildcat quarterback in the game. Is that his only role? We’ll see what happens.”
Ryan said he feels better about his quarterback situation now that at any time since he took over as the Jets’ head coach in 2009. “I feel really good with Mark as the No. 1 guy. You have Tim as the backup quarterback and you have Greg McElroy as the No. 3. I think we’re in great shape at quarterback.”
Asked if he would consider making a quarterback change if Sanchez struggled over a period of time during the season, Ryan said he didn’t envision that scenario. But he didn’t completely dismiss the idea, either.
“I’m not going to just say, ‘If this happens, if that happens,’” Ryan said. “If something like that does happen, we’ll address it.”
Ryan also dismissed the notion that trading for Tebow was in any way a reaction to the Giants’ winning the Super Bowl after last season.
“If we had won the Super Bowl, we would have done the same thing,” Ryan said. “I don’t look at it like, has this team won the Super Bowl or not? We don’t care. I care about one team and that’s ours.”
Giants co-owner John Mara took a shot at the Jets earlier in the day when he was asked if New York was big enough for the Giants and Tim Tebow. “I don’t know,” he said, “but the David Carr press conference is [Monday] afternoon, too.”