With the injuries piling up for the New York Jets in the backfield, head coach Rex Ryan dropped an interesting little nugget out there, telling reporters that he will consider using Tim Tebow as a running back on Sunday vs. New England (via Rich Cimini of ESPN New York).
With McKnight, Powell banged up, Tebow could be used as RB. "A possibility," Ryan said. #Jets— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) October 18, 2012
Unlike the possible Joe McKnight-as-cornerback experiment Ryan was talking about after Darrelle Revis went down with a torn ACL, this is a move that makes a lot of sense for the Jets.
For starters, when you have a running game that is as inconsistent as the Jets', you need to find a spark somewhere. Tebow has proved in the past that he is an effective runner out of the backfield, though all of that came when he was taking snaps as a quarterback.
It might not sound like much, but there is a big difference between having the ball in your hands at the snap and having someone hand it to you as the play is developing. A lot of times when Tebow ran last year, he was doing so out of necessity, because the pocket collapsed, he held the ball too long, etc.
What Is Tim Tebow's Best Role With The Jets?
Shifting Tebow to running back will change his style slightly, but running the ball is so clearly his best strength on the field that it is surprising the Jets haven't tried to do it more than 18 times all season.
As good as Shonn Greene looked last week against Indianapolis, the Patriots boast a much stronger run defense and front four that is going to give Greene, who uses power more than speed, a lot of problems.
While he does have power in his running style, Tebow is capable of running around defenders on the outside.
Plus, and this might be the most important factor, the Jets just need playmakers on the field who can help the offense score points to keep up with the Patriots.
This is a much more balanced Patriots team than we are accustomed to seeing, and the Jets don't have the muscle up front on defense to stop the run.
Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden could easily post big numbers against New York's leaky run defense.
The Jets need to counter with an attack that allows them to control the ball so they can avoid a shootout with the Patriots. Tebow may not be the perfect solution at running back, but he is just as good as anyone else on the team right now.
It is easy to criticize Ryan for a lot of what he says and does, but this is one instance in which he deserves credit for thinking outside the box to give his team a spark.