Tim Tebow might not be done in the wildcat after all.
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New York Jets coach Rex Ryan reversed his decision Friday, saying the backup quarterback could possibly participate in the wildcat-style offense and on special teams as the personal punt protector at Tennessee on Monday night. On Thursday, Ryan said Tebow would be the backup to Mark Sanchez, but only in the conventional offense as he continues to recover from two broken ribs.
”He moved around great,” Ryan said of Tebow’s practice performance Thursday. ”This is the best he’s looked in several weeks, so we’ll see. There could be a chance he does the wildcat. He moved around that good that we may get him back in similar roles.”
Tebow was full participant in practice Thursday and Friday, a sign he is getting closer to being fully healed after being injured at Seattle on Nov. 11.
Of course, the sudden shift in thinking after one non-tackling practice could merely be an example of gamesmanship, trying to confuse the Titans. Tebow has not played in the last three games.
”I’m getting better every day,” Tebow said. ”I’m trying to go out there and push it and try to do well.”
Tebow said he has practiced running the wildcat ”about the same as any week” and will wear a flak jacket to protect his ribs if he plays.
Ryan acknowledged Friday that it might be tough to truly determine how ready Tebow is for contact if he hasn’t had any in nearly a month.
”There’s no doubt, that’s true, but looking at the way he’s throwing the football and the way he’s moving – before, it was kind of like, you could almost tell he wasn’t real sure. Now I can’t see a visible difference from the start of the year to right now.
”If he continues to look like this and even improve, then maybe we can have him in a similar role.”
Added Tebow: ”I’ll be ready for that first hit.”
Titans coach Mike Munchak thought New York-area reporters were joking with him when they told him on a conference call Thursday that Ryan said Tebow wouldn’t play in the wildcat.
”I thought you were telling me I was a little unprepared for something,” Munchak said. ”I think it’s obviously something we would prepare for anyways. I’ve seen teams do that. Anytime you show anything different that you’re going to do, you want your players to be prepared for (it). … Obviously, they haven’t been using it that much in practice or in games, I should say. It hasn’t shown up like maybe as much as people thought when they got Tebow, how much it would show up in games.
”We assumed even if they did some that, it wouldn’t be a big part of the plan.”
Tight end Dustin Keller (ankle), defensive back Aaron Berry (hamstring) and wide receivers Clyde Gates (concussion) and Stephen Hill (knee) all sat out practice. Safety LaRon Landry also did not practice, but it was his regularly scheduled day off.
Running back Bilal Powell (shoulder, toe), linebacker Bryan Thomas (strained pectoral) and nose tackle Sione Po’uha (lower back) were limited. Ryan said X-rays on Powell’s toe revealed no fractures, as Ryan previously thought, and the running back is expected to play Monday night.
Newly re-acquired wide receiver Braylon Edwards was ”really limited” Thursday, Ryan said, and was limited again Friday. The Jets will consult with the team’s trainers to determine his availability.
”We’re hopeful he’ll be able to go Monday,” Ryan said.