Coach's big decision: Back to the 'Cat?

December, 17, 2012
12/17/12
10:26
AM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After initially saying he wouldn't use the Wildcat on Monday night because of Tim Tebow's lingering rib injury, Rex Ryan reversed field on a dime, leaving the impression that Tebow is healthy enough to return to his usual role against the Titans.

Would that be a wise move?

The Jets' running game finally is where they want it to be (an average of 147 yards per game over the last four), so returning Tebow to the equation might disrupt the rhythm they've created with Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell. Plus, it's not like Tebow was a dominant force before the injury. He has rushed for only 87 yards, averaging just 3.0 per carry.

But they should consider Tebow in short-yardage situations. The Jets used to be the top short-yardage rushing team in the league, but they've slipped in recent weeks. They're down to fifth in the rankings, having converted 19 of 25 -- 76 percent. (On a side note, the Titans are No. 1 at 81.3 percent.) When a 250-pound ballcarrier can run the read-option, it puts a lot of stress on a defense.

We've spent the last 14 weeks speculating on Tebow's potential role, and the answer usually comes out like this: Less than what everyone expects.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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