Sparano defends Tebow usage

September, 27, 2012
9/27/12
7:12
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Despite a lack of productivity by Tim Tebow this past Sunday against the Dolphins, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said Thursday there were some positives that came out of his Tebow usage.

Sparano noted that the Dolphins burned a timeout when they saw Tebow and QB Mark Sanchez on the field at the same time, with Tebow lined up behind center in shotgun and Sanchez flanked to his side.

"I think timeouts are golden," Sparano said.

Sparano said he was amazed at the amount of on-the-field communication that occurs when Tebow steps onto the turf. He heard defensive players yelling, "Tebow's in! Tebow's in!"

Tebow was in for a season-high 12 plays, but he ran only once for 5 yards (on a fake punt), was sacked for a loss of 5 yards and targeted once as a receiver (incomplete).

Some other items of note from Sparano:

• He absolved Sanchez of blame on his end-zone interception, a high fade pass intended for WR Stephen Hill. Sparano said Sanchez threw "the right ball to the right person." He didn't name names, but TE Jeff Cumberland hurt the play by running into the area of the pass, allowing his man -- S Chris Clemons -- to peel off him and make the interception.

• Sparano said he watched only the last 22 plays of the game with the players, saying the offense played its "absolute best" in crunch time.

• He said it was "pretty special" to receive a game ball from Rex Ryan. Sparano coached the Dolphins from 2008 to 2011, so it was a satisfying win.

NO SWEAT: Special-teams coach Mike Westhoff said he wasn't concerned that Nick Folk's first potential game winner in Miami was blocked. The FG attempt didn't count, of course, because Dolphins coach Joe Philbin called timeout. Westhoff said the get-off time was "way slower" because the players had heard the whistle.

RING OF HONOR: Mark Gastineau and Wesley Walker were named to the Jets' Ring of Honor. They will be inducted at halftime Oct. 8 against the Texans, a Monday night game. Gastineau recorded a franchise-record 107.5 sacks from 1979 to 1989. Walker played from 1977 to 1989, recording 438 receptions, 8,306 yards and an average of 19 yards per catch with 71 touchdowns.

Other members of the Ring are Weeb Ewbank, Winston Hill, Joe Klecko, Curtis Martin, Don Maynard, Joe Namath, Larry Grantham, Freeman McNeil, Gerry Philbin and Al Toon.

ODDS AND ENDS: S Eric Smith said he wasn't fined by the league for his unnecessary-roughness penalty, a hit on WR Davone Bess ... Interesting note from Smith: He said he talked to Dolphins P Brandon Fields after the game, and Fields, a former teammate at Michigan State, admitted he never was touched on Smith's roughing penalty. Westhoff disagreed, saying it was a good call. Westhoff credited Fields, saying he avoided a blocked punt with an impressive get-off time of 1.94 seconds.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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