It’s already been established that quarterback Tim Tebow will serve as the “personal punt protector” (which sounds a hell of a lot more dignified and important than “up back”) for the 2012 Jets. Tebow possibly have even more involvement in the team’s special teams.
Special-teams coordinator Mike Westhoff tells Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that Westhoff will use Tebow, calling the backup quarterback a “more potent Brad Smith.”
Since Tebow will only rarely, if ever, run with the ball or pass it from punt formation, this suggests that Tebow could be used on the return teams, too. Though he doesn’t possess the kind of straight-line speed that typically is exhibited by a return specialist, Tebow’s skills as a broken-field runner could make him an intriguing option for weaving through traffic after fielding a punt.
I’ve believed for years that Troy Polamalu’s controlled-chaos style of running with the ball would make him a great punt or kick returner. Maybe the Jets see something similar in Tebow.
Regardless of Tebow’s actual role, Westhoff wouldn’t be referring to Tebow as a “more potent Brad Smith” if Tebow were simply going to be a decoy 95 percent of the time on punt plays.