Tebow threw 2 interceptions in the 7-on-7 bit of the Jets’ OTA session, later receiving his 1st less-than-effusive evaluation from a member of the franchise.
Coach Rex Ryan, considering Tebow after the 1st week of organized team activities, claimed his new backup QB has been “up and down.”
Ryan tempered that by asserting he’s pleased with Tebow, whose diverse skill base was on view before dozens of media types. Late in the 2-hour practice, he was deployed as the “up” back — or personal protector — on the punt team.
This wasn’t a surprise — the Jets told Tebow 2 months back they are planning to use him on special teams — however it still was a peculiar sight. Tebow, wearing a red QB jersey, sprinted downfield, looking to make a “tackle” in the non-contact drills.
Never a dull moment around the Jets’ newest start attraction. Random question: Will he “Tebow” if he tackles a punt returner in the open field?
“It’s definitely something I’m trying hard to get used to,” he said about his new role. “It’s distinctive, but it’s entertaining. [I'm] having a good time out there.”
When he isn’t covering punts, Tebow has worked completely at QB. The Jets have big plans for him in a Wildcat package, but they haven’t installed any of those plays. For now, they want to assimilate him into Tony Sparano’s offense, and they feel the best way is to have him learn the QB position.
Tebow suffered one or two hiccups, throwing interceptions to linebacker Bart Scott and latterly signed safety Yeremiah Bell. In contrast, incumbent Mark Sanchez looked sharp throughout the practice, appearing relaxed and in command.
Sanchez, surpassed in the last few weeks due to all the Tebow fanfare, received glowing praise from Ryan. The coach announced Sanchez’s arm looks stronger than ever. On one play, he threw an 80-yard bomb to rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill.
“He’s throwing the ball well, with plenty of zip on it,” Ryan expounded.
Tebow threw the ball to the incorrect side in one messy stretch — 2 picks in a span of three passes. He shrugged it off.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but it is 7-on-7 and those plays are the 1st time I ran them,” Tebow asserted. “I’ll learn a lot from it. Truthfully, it won’t trouble me again. When you make a bad play, put it behind you and go on.
Tebow has been working hard on his mechanics, especially attempting to clean up his footwork. He recognized that he’s often too short on his dropbacks, throwing off the timing with the receivers’ routes. That, he announced, has been a focus.
Ryan sounded more worked up about Tebow’s prospects on special teams than at quarterback. He said Tebow’s presence as the “up” back creates the chance of a fake punt — a direct snap to him — which should deter opponents from pressuring the punter.
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