Tim Tebow will be at the center of the most well-attended news conference in backup quarterback history Monday. But on Sunday, Jets Coach Rex Ryan opened the door to something more: that Tebow could be used at other positions.
“We’ll see,” Ryan responded with a smile when asked about Tebow’s lining up at a position other than quarterback.
“Mark Sanchez is our No. 1 quarterback, Tim Tebow is our No. 2 quarterback, but he’s also going to do other things for this football team,” Ryan said. “He is a football player, and that’s what I keep wanting to put out there. Let’s not just look at him as a quarterback. I look at him as a football player. Let’s not hear what guys can’t do — let’s talk about what they can do. I see a guy with a lot of ability, and we’re going to do that.”
Tebow has repeatedly said he wants to play quarterback, even though talent evaluators have long believed he may have a better chance of a lengthy career as a multidimensional player, perhaps as an H-back, tight end and running back.
But in a 10-minute interview with a small group of New York-based reporters during the annual N.F.L. meetings, Ryan repeatedly referred to Tebow as a “football player.” That was perhaps an indication that the Jets were thinking about expanding his role under the new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who used the Wildcat as the Dolphins’ coach.
“I don’t see Tim just holding a clipboard,” Ryan said. “He’s going to be playing for us. There’s no doubt. He’ll have a role. Wildcat. He’ll be a better Wildcat quarterback in the game. Is that his only role? We’ll see what happens.”
It's going to be interesting to see what Ryan has in store for Tebow in 2012. It sounds as if he'll be on the field early and often in one form or another, and may be worth a flier late in fantasy drafts, even as a backup QB.