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Sparano touts Tim Tebow's improvement as passer, could be effective in Wildcat

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer
We're still not sure how much Tebow will play, and Tony Sparano was doing his best not to tell us. (AP)

While meeting with the media Thursday, new Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano naturally was asked about his new quarterback, Tim Tebow. Quite naturally, the idea coach Rex Ryan presented in March that Tebow could get into a game for 20 plays was broached by those reporters with Sparano. And very naturally, Sparano decided not to expand on Ryan's explanation.

Basically, Sparano talked around it like any good politician.

But Sparano did mention how the Jets version of the Wildcat would be different if Tebow was the one taking the snaps. More of a propensity to throw out of that package rather than just run the ball to the left or to the right is what we could see.

“The difference here is at that point there was very little element of pass involved in that,” Sparano said, via the New York Post, referring to the Wildcat he ran when he was the Dolphins head coach. “Obviously, with Tim that's a different element. If we decide to go down that road, the element of being able to throw the football out of that brings a completely different dynamic into the picture here.”

Obviously, having the ability to pass out of that formation presents a whole new set of problems that a guy like former Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown probably wouldn't have given a defense. Sparano, who coached Tebow in the Senior Bowl, can see the improvement in his passing as well.

“That has been eye-opening,” Sparano said. “I thought fundamentally Tim has gotten much better. You could see the amount of time he spent at it. Really this kid has put in a lot of time in the offseason from a fundamentals standpoint. He's completely different now from when he came out of college.”

Now, will Tebow actually take a snap 20 times each game? That's doubtful, unless Mark Sanchez is replaced entirely as the starting quarterback -- which I think is not out of the realm of possibilities. Ryan actually said the Jets could use Tebow in the Wildcat between one and 20 times. That's much different than an average of 20 times.

But the beauty in Ryan making that statement is that opponents won't have much of an idea how much Tebow could play on a week-to-week basis. One week, it could be five plays. The next week, it could be 18.

At the very least, Tebow's entry gives the element of surprise. Of course, we should be used to surprises from Tebow at this point. After all, he helped win the AFC West title last year.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.
 
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