Backup quarterback Tim Tebow may see time at running back this week when the New York Jets visit the New England Patriots, coach Rex Ryan said.
The Jets will probably be without two running backs for the Oct. 21 National Football League game, as Joe McKnight has a high ankle sprain and Bilal Powell separated a shoulder.
While Shonn Greene rushed for a career-high 161 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win against Indianapolis, the only other healthy tailback on the Jets’ roster is Jonathan Grimes, who was signed from the Houston Texans’ practice squad earlier this season. When asked if Tebow might get some snaps at running back, Ryan said today it’s a “possibility” because of his versatility and athleticism.
“Tim, by playing quarterback, he knows all the positions,” Ryan said at a televised news conference. “So can you plug him in at running back, can you plug him in at tight end? I think the answer is yes.”
Tebow, 25, passed for 1,729 yards and 12 touchdowns in 11 starts for the Denver Broncos last season, while rushing for 660 yards and six scores. He’s seen limited playing time as the backup to Mark Sanchez in New York, rushing for 64 yards on 18 carries in the team’s wildcat package, an offensive formation that uses run-or-pass options to try to confuse defenses.
“His skill set would be more based on power,” Ryan said of Tebow. “He’s not going to be a blazer compared to other running backs, but he’s got power.”
The Jets and Patriots both have 3-3 records heading into this week’s game in Foxborough, Massachusetts, where New England is listed as a 10 1/2 favorite by Las Vegas oddsmakers.