When the Jets traded for Tim Tebow this past March, the line from team management was that they were adding a backup quarterback who would also run their Wildcat. Now, the Jets’ utility man would only be a backup this Sunday, if he’s active at all.
Tebow was limited in practice on Friday due to a rib injury and the Jets have listed him as “questionable” for Sunday’s game at the Jaguars. If he’s active for the game, it will likely be a scenario similar to the Thanksgiving night loss to the Patriots when Tebow was on the game day roster as the No. 2 quarterback, but didn’t participate on special teams or in the Wildcat. In that game, Tebow did not play a snap.
Head coach Rex Ryan seemed to intimate that Tebow would likely be the backup on Sunday, but he also left the door open for No. 3 quarterback Greg McElroy to be active as well.
“I think we’ll see. I think there’s a possibility of going with three quarterbacks for this game as well,” Ryan said. “I really want to see how Tim is. It would certainly be a consideration to have three quarterbacks active.”
So far this season, Tebow has not been the quarterback of the team in the conventional offense. All of his snaps have been either as a decoy, in the Wildcat or on special teams. But it is his role as the team’s No. 2 quarterback which presents a dilemma for the coaching staff. Last week, with Tebow inactive, the Jets pulled starting quarterback Mark Sanchez in the third quarter and replaced him with McElroy.
The second-year quarterback, in what was his first NFL action, led the Jets on a touchdown drive that gave them a 7-6 win. Ryan is confident Tebow could step in to the conventional offense if necessary.
“He can run the Wildcat and he can run your traditional offense. That was why so much emphasis was really placed on learning just the base-type offense and a little less specific Wildcat stuff that we try to get back to,” Ryan said. “Whether that was a great decision or not probably remains to be seen. I think there’s a comfort level knowing that Tim knows kind of that base offense. You don’t have to just play Wildcat. I think that would certainly be part of the package though.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.