So much for 15 to 20 snaps per game for New York Jets Wildcat quarterback Tim Tebow. Gang Green’s jack-of-all trades saw just three snaps on Sunday in Pittsburgh, with his lone rush of the afternoon, a 22-yard rumble through the core of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense before being pulled in favor of starter Mark Sanchez merely two plays later.
According to head coach Rex Ryan, when the Steelers built a double-digit second half lead, the Jets were forced into full-tilt passing mode.
“We did have some Wildcat plays going into that game, but as the game went on, we’re down by 10 points late in that game, I even thought about it,” admitted Rex Ryan of Tebow’s limited opportunities on offense. “But it was more like, ‘Hey, we’re down, let’s see if we can’t make some plays.”
Aside from a brilliant 90-yard touchdown drive on the Jets' first offensive possession of the game, Sanchez and company struggled mightily to move the chains and sustain drives, converting just 4-of-12 third down attempts. Tebow’s 22-yard third-quarter scamper breathed some life into a listless offense, a play that according to Ryan fired up the Jets sidelines.
Tim Tebow | Maurkice Pouncey
“Clearly, what I loved about when Tim (Tebow) was in there, was when he made that big run, the emotion and all that kind of stuff,” said Ryan. “It was great to see.”
While Tebow made the most of his limited opportunities, Sanchez followed up a sensational opening day performance with a 10-for-27, 138 yard outing; littered with dropped passes and sloppy execution. Even though New York barely utilized its Wildcat package, Ryan is convinced that Tebow will make a major impact sooner, rather than later.
“Well, it’s about being efficient,” admitted Ryan. “If you’re efficient in it, then we can do it and we can do it several ways. “
“That other team has to prepare for it and they don’t want to sit back and not prepare for it, then all of a sudden we run it 40 times on you.”
Accused of employing a ‘vanilla’ offense during the preseason, Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is gradually disengaging the training wheels from his dual-quarterback system in order to build continuity and rhythm in the huddle.
"We’ve always said from day one that we can do it 20 times, 40 times, 10 times, two times, whatever, but we determine that,” noted Ryan of implementing the Wildcat. “It’s not just going to be that these specific things have to be lined up.”
With the Jets preparing for Sunday’s AFC East clash with the Miami Dolphins, it still remains a mystery exactly how much Wildcat Jets fans can expect to see in Week Three.
“I’ve always said he is a tremendous football player, so we’ll see how many times we’ll run it this coming week,” said Ryan of Tebow's gadget offense. “I’m not sure yet.”
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland