Sunday, September 23, 2012
Tebow making subtle contributions
By Walter Villa
MIAMI -- For all the hype and publicity Tim Tebow has received, his contributions for the Jets have been rather subtle.
There was the play Tebow made to recover an onside kick in the season-opening win over Buffalo. Then, on Sunday, he converted on a fake punt that led to a field goal.
And with the Jets struggling to score, that turned out to be an important play in New York’s 23-20 overtime win over the Dolphins.
Perhaps the most surprising element to Tebow’s five-yard run over left guard on fourth-and-3 wasn’t that he made it but rather that he had the option to run or allow the punt.
The Dolphins had “seven in the box,” according to Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff. But Tebow made the daring call from the New York 25 on a play that could have been a Jets disaster.
“They had a lot of guys up there,” Tebow said, “but we believed we could get it. I’m glad I made it because it makes it easier to go back to the sideline.”
Westhoff said the Jets practice that play all the time, but they had yet to use it this preseason or in the first two games of the regular season.
Tebow, meanwhile, was hoping the Jets could run another fake punt later in the game.
“But (the Dolphins) were playing it safe,” he said.
Aside from special teams, Tebow got a season-high 14 plays on offense on Sunday, although only three at quarterback.
Tebow was in for nine plays on offense in the opener against the Bills and then only three last week in the loss to the Steelers.
When he did play offense on Sunday, Tebow was not very successful. For example, there was an incomplete pass from Mark Sanchez in the left flat that appeared to hit Tebow in the helmet.
Sanchez blamed himself on that one.
“That was not the best read,” Sanchez said. “I think they covered it better than I thought.”
Added Tebow: “I was not expecting it that quick, but I guess I’ll learn.”
Early in the third quarter, Tebow was brought in as a Wildcat quarterback on a second-and-goal play from the 2-yard line. Tebow ran to his left and was tackled for a five-yard loss by defensive tackle Randy Starks.
Sanchez came in on the next play and was intercepted in the right corner of the end zone by Chris Clemons.
Those two snaps -- one by Tebow and one by Sanchez on successive plays -- were not the 1-2 punch the Jets had planned when they imported the Wildcat offense.
Despite those issues, though, the Jets seemed determined to use Tebow in various roles.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said he likes the confusion Tebow creates, even if the production is not quite there, at least not yet.
“Sometimes you see him on the field and you think you’re getting one thing, but you’re getting something else,” Ryan said. “He’s a football player. ... We try to take advantage of that.
“It’s tempting when you get around the goal line to direct snap it to him. Maybe that’ll be in our future.”