With the Jets' offense mired in a 1-for-34 slump (one TD in its last 34 possessions), and with owner Woody Johnson concerned about filling his big stadium, it wouldn't be a surprise at all if Tim Tebow's playing time is increased -- starting Monday night against the Texans.
Of course, it's not exactly a leap to say he'll get more reps than usual, considering he's had only 32 offensive snaps in four games. The real question is, will they give him an entire series at quarterback, putting slumping starter Mark Sanchez on the bench? That would be a big story, not a few more reps sprinkled here and there.
The only time Tebow was on the field for more than two consecutive plays was in Week 2 at Pittsburgh, where he got three straight at quarterback -- the game where Sanchez's slump began. Tebow would've kept going, too, but they got stuck in an obvious passing situation after a big loss, and the coaches didn't trust him in that spot.
What's changed? The Jets are desperate and they face the undefeated Texans in prime time, the entire country watching to see if the Jets are serious about the ballyhooed Tebow experiment or if it's just one big publicity stunt, as many have suggested. Johnson is sensitive to that perception, and you can probably bet his coaches will try to make him happy by making Tebow more than a bystander on the sideline.
The speculation started Sunday, when Fox Sports reported that Tebow could see extra time. Can he spark a moribund offense? Highly unlikely. He's averaging only 4.2 yards per rush (nine carries for 38 yards) and he's only 1-for-1 as a passer. Then again, the clock is ticking on Sanchez, and Rex Ryan can shake it up by expanding Tebow's role without having to bench his starter.
This is crazy stuff. One thing is certain: The ESPN cameras will show a lot of Tebow shots from the sideline.
Here's a breakdown of Tebow's weekly snap counts:
Week 1, Bills -- 10 snaps (9 at QB)
Week 2, Steelers -- 3 snaps (3 at QB)
Week 3, Dolphins -- 12 snaps (3 at QB)
Week 4, 49ers -- 7 snaps (3 at QB)