|Tomlinson thinks 'Tebow is the Wildcat.' (US PRESSWIRE)|
Last week, we wondered if the Jets traded for Tim Tebow not to push incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez but to bolster the running game in light of Shonn Greene's ineffectiveness. NFL Films' Greg Cosell lamented that "I think there's no way you can be an elite back or a top-level back if you can't make unblocked defenders miss."
That observation led us to write that Greene's lack of productivity coupled with LaDainian Tomlinson's retirement may have led Rex Ryan to the unconventional conclusion that Tebow offered the best of both worlds: running back, Wildcat specialist and, ahem, punt protector. During a recent appearance on the Rich Eisen Podcast, Tomlinson agreed, suggesting that Tebow wasn't in New York to replace Sanchez but to upgrade the offense, specifically, the run offense.
"I think Tebow is the Wildcat," Tomlinson said via NFL.com. "He's their Wildcat quarterback. I mean, let's think about it. Since Rex (Ryan) has been the head coach, he's always had that Wildcat guy at quarterback. Brad Smith. Now he's simply bringing that back in Tebow. Now, they probably are going to throw the ball a little bit more with Tebow in the Wildcat situation, but that's how they will play it: Mark's our quarterback; Tebow will be our Wildcat quarterback."
And that's right. Ryan has said previously this offseason that not only is Tebow Sanchez's backup, but he'll do many of the things Smith did when he was with the team.
"Obviously we talked (with Tebow) about the Wildcat deal, we talked about the personal protector. In a lot of ways, he's replacing a guy that I love, who was Brad Smith, and everybody knows that, and we were very effective running the Wildcat, and he's basically replacing Brad in that role," Ryan said in June. "He's also your backup quarterback, No. 2 quarterback, and he's also your personal protector, as was Brad Smith.”
We were convinced that when the Jets acquired Tebow it was with the long-term plan to replace Sanchez, even if they stated otherwise. Now, though, we think of Tebow more as a player who will be taking touches not from Sanchez but from Greene. And Tomlinson's of the opinion that Ryan and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano could feature Tebow early and often.
"I think Tebow will definitely be a part of that first 15 plays, because he's a guy you're going to have to get on the field," LT said. "He makes plays. Coaches always want to get the guys that make plays on the field. And so he's going to be a part of that first 15. Mark just has to understand that this is a role that Tebow plays, every single game, he's going to get his plays."
Somebody might want to make sure Greene understands Tebow's role, too.
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