Tim Tebow: Man of many roles

July, 26, 2012
7/26/12
9:02
AM ET
Many outside of the New York Jets expect Tim Tebow to be the starting quarterback at some point this upcoming season. But Tebow begins his first year with the Jets this week as a man of many roles.

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesTim Tebow is expected to wear many hats this season.
Tebow's size, strength and athleticism should help the Jets in many ways. Here is a look at the known roles Tebow will have entering the season:

Backup/Wildcat quarterback: This is the primary reason the Jets acquired Tebow in a trade with the Denver Broncos. New York has an extensive Wildcat package under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, and Tebow is the ideal quarterback to run that style of offense. The Jets were successful running the Wildcat a couple years ago with Brad Smith. But they struggled with the package after Smith signed in free agency with the Buffalo Bills. Tebow is a more physical runner than Smith and should be even better with read-option plays.

Punt protector: An under-the-radar role for Tebow that should help the Jets is using him on the punt team. Tebow as a punt protector can provide trouble for opponents. It could lead to a direct snap for Tebow to run or pass out of the punt formation. New York has the ability to be tricky on any fourth-down call. That adds an extra element for opponents to prepare for.

Kickoff team: This role is still in the exploratory phase. Jets assistant special teams coach Ben Kotwica told the New York Daily News that using Tebow on the kickoff team will be discussed in training camp. I think it's a bad idea. Some of the biggest collisions and subsequent concussions take place on kickoff returns. But Tebow is strong enough and athletic enough to do the job.

Red zone quarterback: Beware fantasy football owners. The red zone is where Tebow's value rises and starting quarterback Mark Sanchez's value plummets. Tebow, with his running ability, will be a strong option inside the 20. Knowing Sparano and covering his final stint with the Miami Dolphins last season, he despises red zone turnovers. So much is the case that he sometimes gets too cautious with his play calling and often settles for field goals. Tebow running inside the 20 is a safer play than Sanchez passing in the red zone. Therefore, expect Tebow to get plenty of touches near the end zone.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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