- Last Updated: 8:53 AM, August 3, 2012
- Posted: 12:59 AM, August 3, 2012
CORTLAND — The “Tebow Package” was finally delivered by the Jets yesterday.
The Jets gave everyone a small glimpse of how they will use quarterback Tim Tebow near the goal line, including a Wildcat play, during the team’s training camp practice. Tebow was in for four plays during a goal-line drill and contributed to three touchdowns — one through the air and two with his feet.
“Obviously, Tim, this was his best day of camp,” coach Rex Ryan said. “That’s because we got to do a little live football where he’s going to stand out.”
And stand out he did.
Ryan announced to the defense that Tebow was “live” for that period, meaning they could hit him if he ran the ball. Normally, quarterbacks cannot be touched in practice. Ryan said he cannot ever remember having a quarterback go live in practice. Tebow worked with the second-team offense against the second-team defense.
On the first play, Tebow faked a handoff to Bilal Powell and ran a bootleg around the left end 3 yards for a score. The next play was a roll-out pass to tight end Josh Baker for a touchdown. He handed off on the next play, then the Jets showed something everyone has been anticipating with a Wildcat play.
Tebow motioned into the shotgun formation, Joe McKnight, split out wide, motioned toward Tebow, who faked a handoff to McKnight and then ran up the middle for a 2-yard score.
Tebow had a good day overall (2-for-3 in full-team drills and 5-for-6 in 7-on-7), but he looked as if he found his comfort zone near the goal line.
“I feel like I’ve done that once or twice,” Tebow said. “It comes pretty natural. It was fun. I feel like as an offense we did a good job down there in short yardage and in goal line and we did some things really well.”
The Jets have talked about using Tebow in short-yardage and goal-line situations with good reason. At 251 pounds, Tebow is tough to tackle and gives them a run/pass threat. All six of his touchdowns with the Broncos last year came in the red zone, the longest being the 20-yard game-winner against the Jets. The Jets ranked first in the NFL in red zone offense [65.5 percent] last year, but feel they’re even better with Tebow.
“All over the field [he’s a weapon], but goal line especially,” starting quarterback Mark Sanchez said. “If it’s him one-on-one with a defender and a tackler, my money’s on Tim. He can really run the ball. He’s got great vision. He’s got this will about him to put it in the end zone.’’
Of course if Tebow comes in, that means Sanchez goes out. But the fourth-year quarterback said he’s fine with taking a back seat to Tebow when they get close to the end zone if it helps the Jets win.
“We’ve got to get in the end zone,” Sanchez said. “I don’t care. Whatever we have to do, and Coach [Tony] Sparano is going to be the judge there on what exactly he wants. But if that’s what he wants and that’s what puts it in the end zone, fine. We’ll drive it 99 yards and he can run it in. It doesn’t matter.”
Tebow was used in goal-line and short-yardage packages during his freshman year at Florida. He would come in for starter Chris Leak and ran for eight touchdowns. Last season with Denver, Tebow averaged 5.4 yards per carry.
When he found out they were going live, Tebow was as happy as the defense.
“I got a little smile and thought it was going to be fun, because right before that Sparano told me to keep it on the bootleg,” Tebow said. “So when he said it was live that made me smile. If you’re not, and you do score, they’re like, ‘We would have tackled you.’ So it was fun.”
The Jets hope the fun is just getting started.