FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Get ready for Tim Tebow and the wildcat.
After months of intrigue surrounding what exactly Tebow’s role will be in the New York Jets’ offense, the backup quarterback will see some action in the tricky formation in the regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
“I think if we don’t, everybody’s going to be like, ‘Wait a second. You guys have been saying things about this wildcat and we haven’t even seen one snap of it,'” Ryan said with a laugh. “But, sure we’re going to run some wildcat, there’s no doubt.”
The Jets did not use the wildcat at all in the preseason, when New York failed to score a touchdown in the first three games with starter Mark Sanchez and Tebow, the backup. Third-string quarterback Greg McElroy finally led the Jets into the end zone in the preseason finale at Philadelphia last Thursday night.
The fact the Jets became the first team since the 1977 Atlanta Falcons to go three preseason games without a TD had many fans and media wondering whether New York’s offense was simply inept or just holding back. They appeared to treat the plan for Tebow and the wildcat like a government secret at times, but Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano also reasoned that there was no need to give opponents any advance film to look.
“I guess we never appeased whoever by not putting (Tebow) out there,” Ryan said. “If that added to it, that wasn’t our intent. Our intent was there’s no sense showing it right now in the preseason, just like I’m sure a lot of teams are saving specific things for their openers. We’re not different than a lot of teams doing that.”
But the Jets are unlike any other NFL team because of the fact that they have Tebow on their roster, and their plans for him have been kept mostly under wraps.
“I understand where it has come from,” Ryan said. “Tim, forget just being a popular football player. He’s a popular person. I can understand that there’s a lot of interest there, but it’s kind of funny, really. We’re just trying to field a good football team and in any way possible.”
Tebow is expected to see anywhere from a handful of plays to maybe 20-25 while in the wildcat-style formation — depending on the opponent. Ryan added that Buffalo will be well-prepared to defend against the scheme because the Bills have quarterback-turned-wide receiver Brad Smith, who ran the Jets’ wildcat before leaving before last season. Bills quarterbacks coach David Lee also helped Sparano, then the Dolphins coach, implement it in Miami a few years ago.
“This team will probably be as prepared to face the wildcat as any team we’ll face,” Ryan said. “This team’s going to be prepared. We’ll see who out-executes the other.”
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