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Thursday, March 22, 2012
What are realistic expectations for Tebow?

By James Walker

Tim Tebow would have easily been the New York Jets' second-leading rusher in 2011. If things go well, Tebow may accomplish that feat with New York in 2012.

Tebow helped the Denver Broncos become the NFL's top running team last season. He rushed for 660 yards, six touchdowns and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. Here is how Tebow's rushing numbers compare with New York's running backs last season:


The Jets can certainly use addition production behind Greene. But what are realistic expectations for Tebow?

The former Broncos quarterback ran 122 times last year in 14 games (11 starts). That number of carries is unrealistic for a No. 2 quarterback. Tebow will be used primarily in Wildcat and gimmick packages several times a game.

If Mark Sanchez remains the starter all season -- is that a big if? -- I estimate Tebow gets five to 10 plays a game. The workload could hinge on the game plan, opponent, flow of the game, etc. Assuming most (not all) would be running plays, let's figure that Tebow averages about five carries per game. That would give Tebow 80 carries over a 16-game season. If Tebow averages last season's 5.4 yards per carry, he would rush for 432 yards.

That would be a good amount to add to the pile in New York. The Jets want to ground-and-pound, and Tebow has the toughness and running ability to help.

The key for Tebow will be his efficiency. He won't get nearly as many carries as last season, but making the most of each opportunity is what the Jets need to move the chains.