Through the New York Jets’ first two games, dynamic playmaker Tim Tebow and his unique skill set have yet to be utilized as anything more than a personal protector on punts.
With Mark Sanchez playing well in Week 1 before choking in the Jets’ Week 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tebow has seen almost no time as a traditional quarterback. Although he’s received some carries out of run-specific packages, the former Heisman Trophy winner has generally been a non-factor for the Jets’ offense.
So how can the Jets do a better job of incorporating Tebow into their offense? Unless they want to replace Sanchez as the starting quarterback – which could happen as the season progresses – Tebow’s talents could be taken advantage of as a running back.
Combining good speed and size – 6’3’’, 236 pounds – with the running style of John Riggins, Tebow would be a tough load to bring down as a running back. During his first two NFL seasons as well as his college career with the Florida Gators, Tebow displayed an uncanny ability to run the football. Breaking arm tackles and picking yards after contact are breezes for him, although fumbles have been a bit of an issue.
The unorthodox quarterback has amassed 920 yards on 171 NFL carries – 5.4 yards per carry – while striking pay dirt on 12 different occasions. Tebow has proven to be a difference-maker in the running game and has too much production potential to spend the 2012 season watching from the sidelines.
Currently starting at running back for the Jets is fourth-year man Shonn Greene. Through two games, Greene has managed only 117 yards on 38 carries, averaging a weak 3.1 yards per carry. He has only found the end zone once while fumbling twice, and briefly left Sunday’s game with a head injury.
Throughout his time in New York, Greene has proven to be a capable starter but lacks consistency and the game-breaking ability that Tebow possesses. Even though it’s unlikely that Greene would be replaced on a full-time basis, Tebow inheriting some of his workload could end up being beneficial for both parties.
The power and surprising elusiveness that Tebow runs with makes him an intriguing prospect as an NFL running back. Especially down on the goal line, he would excel as a short-yardage back.
Chances are that the Jets will continue to keep Tebow in his holster until they get fed up with Sanchez and his sporadic passing. However, if they really were set on getting him more touches, lining him up at running back should be a consideration.