Jets coach Rex Ryan said last week that a major challenge for the coaching staff will be finding creative ways to use new backup quarterback Tim Tebow while keeping Mark Sanchez in the role of starting quarterback. One of those ways of using Tebow may be on special teams.
Ryan wants to have Tebow on the field for 20 snaps a game, and as Peter King writes in today’s Monday Morning Quarterback, those snaps could include in a spread offense anywhere on the field, in goal-line situations, on two-point conversions, and maybe even using Tebow as the personal protector on the punt team.
Using a quarterback on special teams may sound strange, but it could make sense: Tebow is a big, strong, physical player who can block for the punter and then run downfield and make a tackle if he needs to. And a direct snap to Tebow would be a natural way to pick up a first down on a fake punt. Even if the Jets don’t run a fake punt with Tebow, the mere presence of Tebow on the punt team would give opposing teams one more thing to think about. It wouldn’t be unprecedented to use a backup quarterback as the protector on the punt team — the Vikings did it in 2009 with Tarvaris Jackson. Even without snapping to Jackson, the Vikings used his presence to sell the fake and keep the opposing punt block team honest.
Ryan said last week that his view of his top two quarterbacks is, “Tim Tebow is a good football player. Mark Sanchez is a good quarterback.” Tebow may get a chance to prove he’s a good football player at more than one position.