When the Jets said they were going to use Tim Tebow in multiple packages, not many people thought that extended to special teams.
And yet that’s what longtime special teams coach Mike Westhoff told the Daily News yesterday.
As to what exactly that entails, he wouldn’t say. But Westhoff did say he’s already spoken to Tebow and he’s excited to contribute on special teams.
“He has the ability to do a lot of different jobs, and at the game, that's what you really want,” offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said at rookie minicamp this past weekend. “You need players that are going to be able to do a lot of jobs for you.”
Westhoff called Tebow a “more potent Brad Smith.” Smith, who signed with Buffalo before last season, was a jack of all trades for the Jets, who played quarterback full time at Missouri. Smith was the regular kick returner in his final season with the Jets and a part-time return man the year before. In 2009, he returned 10 kicks for 310 yards, including one 106 yards for a touchdown. In 2010, he returned 50 kicks for 1,432 yards and two touchdowns.
But Smith’s return production would seem hard to match if Tebow is used in that role. Smith has averaged 26.9 yards per return over the past three seasons. And even with the new kickoff rules implemented last season, he still averaged 18.8 yards per return.
Tebow has never returned a punt or kickoff in his college or NFL career. Smith ran a 4.46 second 40-yard dash at the NFL?combine in 2006. Tebow ran 4.72 in 2010.
More than anything though, the Jets are being cryptic in their discussions of how they’ll use Tebow.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.