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Sports

October 19, 2012

Tebow could step in at RB for short-handed Jets

(Continued)

Tebow, knocked for his inconsistency as a passer, thrived last season in Denver when the Broncos made him the starting quarterback and restructured their offense around him. He ended up running for 660 yards and was a threat for a big gain at any time. The Jets would keep Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback, but by having Tebow lined up behind him, they could keep the Patriots guessing: Will Sanchez throw it? Will Sanchez hand it off to Tebow? Will Tebow throw it? Will Tebow get a direct snap and try to make a play?

“I would be ready for whatever I would be asked to do, absolutely,” Tebow said Wednesday.

Would that include playing extensively at running back on Sunday?

“I don’t know,” Tebow said. “It’s not something that’s been talked (about) or planned or worked on at all, so probably not.”

Well, Tebow certainly looks the part of a running back, or at least a fullback after gaining muscle in the offseason to get up to nearly 250 pounds to handle the blocking on special teams. He has also been used to block on offense at times, when he and Sanchez have been on the field together.

“His skillset would be more based on power,” Ryan said. “I think he’s not going to be a blazer compared to other running backs, but he’s got power.”

The Jets curiously brought in free agent quarterback Kevin O’Connell for a workout Tuesday, and Ryan wouldn’t say Wednesday whether a signing was imminent. New York already has Sanchez, Tebow and Greg McElroy at the position, so the interest in O’Connell sparked theories that perhaps the Jets were considering changing their depth chart — and shifting Tebow’s primary responsibilities to other areas on offense.

Ryan said the team isn’t looking to add a speedier running back even with McKnight possibly out, joking that the Jets aren’t considering trying cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who has played some at wide receiver, in the backfield.

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