It’s Tebow Time. Finally.
After months of hype, a summer highlighted by a shirtless jog through the rain and constant media scrutiny, Tim Tebow is set to make his playing debut for the New York Jets in their preseason opener against the Bengals on Friday night in Cincinnati.
“I just want to get in there, try to execute the offense and get in and out of checks,” Tebow said.
Coach Rex Ryan plans to have Mark Sanchez and the rest of the starters play about one quarter, and Tebow could play about two quarters with the backups.
Tebow mostly has worked with the second-team offense throughout training camp, but took two snaps with the starters Wednesday and threw a pretty 60-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Turner. New offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and the Jets mostly have kept their plans for Tebow in their wildcat-style package under wraps, unveiling only a brief look at a play or two in camp while they continue to work on his mechanics and footwork.
“I think we’ll see how Tony uses him,” Ryan said. “Generally, the (second team) gets extended and sometimes they play a half or two quarters, so we’ll see if that’s in Tony’s plan or not.
Then, Ryan broke out into a smile.
“Wildcat is something that Cincinnati needs to prepare for right now,” he said.
Which means the Bengals probably won’t see much of it. Ryan said “I doubt” Tebow will get any snaps with the first-team offense Friday night. Since it’s still so early in the preseason, the Jets are still installing their offense and just want to get a feel for some of the fringe players on their roster.
“It’s going to be vanilla,” Sparano said. “We didn’t plan at all here. We didn’t sit in that office and game plan at all. We’re talking about personnel right now. We’re going to go out there, and we’re just going to line up and let the guys play and get a chance to evaluate young players. I think that’s what the preseason’s all about.”
Tebow has worked as the punt protector on special teams throughout camp, so he could be in position to actually tackle someone himself.
“I don’t know, I’ve never done it before,” Tebow said with a laugh when asked what he’ll be expecting on that first punt. “It’ll be fun. We’ll figure out what they’re doing and hopefully have something good ready for them.”
The Jets are just happy to be hitting a team in different colors after a testy week of practices that included a 20-player melee on Monday and Ryan ordering his players to run laps as punishment Tuesday for some more skirmishes.
AP Sports Writer Joe Kay in Cincinnati contributed to this report