With high expectations for Tim Tebow as New York's new Wildcat quarterback, Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff isn’t underrating his value as a punt protector.
Westhoff has been teaching New York’s gunslinger the intricacies of punt coverage and plotting creative ways to use No. 15 as a fake punt threat on fourth downs.
“I just look at it as I’m a quarterback and I sort of get to go be a quarterback on fourth down,” said Tebow of his role on special teams .” It’s something that all the different looks are going to make it fun, so we’ll see what happens with it.”
During Friday’s practice, Tebow excelled as a punt protector and embraced his expanded role with Gang Green.
“It was fun because we did some unique cool things out there,” noted Tebow. “You don’t normally get to do that a lot of that as a quarterback.”
Tebow is no ordinary quarterback. Then again Westhoff is no ordinary special teams coach.
Barely two months removed from surgery to repair a snapped titanium prosthetic rod in his leg, Westhoff merrily rode his bicycle to the practice field on Thursday with a newfound zest for life. A bone cancer survivor, Westhoff has overcome his share of medical issues and now shifts his focus to football.
New York’s Wildcat quarterback was all-ears during Thursday’s practice session as he tried to adjust to his freshly carved out role on special teams.
“It was fun,” admitted Tebow. “The goal is to keep the punt return team off-balance, not let them know what we’re doing. We want to have a lot of different and unique looks.”
The NFL’s most famous backup quarterback certainly has a lot on his plate between learning a new offense from a multitude of positions and finding his niche in the special teams game, yet he’s willing to go the extra mile to make it work.
“Special teams meetings for me really don’t take too long,” noted Tebow. “They do a good job of letting me know what I have to do. I don’t miss any quarterback meetings, it’s just extra time I’ll spend meeting with Westhoff. “
With Tebow slated as New York’s jack-off-all trades, the former Florida Gator will have a tall order ahead of him. Westhoff went back to the drawing board this offseason to tailor the Jets special teams packages to suit Tebow’s strengths. With the former Heisman Trophy winner under center on punt plays, the Jets opponents will certainly have their hands full.
"We have a lot of different types of fakes and motions to keep punt coverages off-balance," noted Tebow. "It’s just fun being out there. It’s something I haven’t really had a chance to do in the NFL "