Bill Belichick: Tim Tebow brings value, versatility to Jets
|10.16.12 at 1:18 pm ET|
On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick singled out Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow for not only his offensive versatility, but also his special teams value.
“They’ve pretty much used him at every spot,” Belichick said. “He’s played more quarterback than anything else. He’s also played running back, he’s played what I would say is tight end, [and] he’s also played a little bit of receiver. They’ve put him in some different spots. When he’s the quarterback, he’s the quarterback: he can run, he can throw, he can run the option, he can run their regular offense or they can run Tebow-type plays there that Denver ran last year or that [offensive coordinator Tony] Sparano ran when he was at Miami. He gives them a lot of versatility on all those things.
“He doesn’t always line up at quarterback when he’s in there on offense, so you have to be ready to deal with him in other positions as well. He’s a good runner, strong runner, very strong, good thrower, mobile in the pocket, smart player, can do a lot of different things, has different option plays and things like that. You certainly have to be aware when he’s in there.”
Then, there’s his work on special teams — he gives the Jets a different look on the punt team because he works as the punt protector, and his offensive skill set makes a fake punt an option at all times.
“You have to be alert for them to snap the ball to the personal protector,” said Belichick, who called Tebow “dangerous” in that role. “Whether he runs up the middle or goes in a sweep or however they do it, those are things you have to prepare for every week with your punt return unit.
“Again, the fact that it’s him and he’s a big strong guy that’s a good runner and can throw the ball, he can do a little bit more than a lot of guys that are back there. But at the same time, those are the kind of things you have to defend every week. So, whoever’s responsibility it is to cover the guy has to cover him. If they run it, we have to have our gaps controlled.”
Belichick, who was connected to Tebow several times throughout the predraft process, said there’s question that the former Florida quarterback is a valuable part of the Jets.
“Yeah, absolutely. There’s no question about it,” Belichick said. “We saw him play last year. He quarterbacked that team to the playoffs in Denver and in addition to some of the quarterbacking things, he’s done a lot of other things for the Jets. Yeah, of course he’s a valuable guy. There’s no doubt about that.”
Here are a few other highlights from Belichick’s Tuesday Q&A with the media:
They’ve been without Darrelle Revis for a couple games. From what you’ve seen in a limited sample size, have they dramatically altered what they’re doing schematically or is it just the same stuff with different guys in there?
“First of all, they’re kind of a game plan defense, so they attack teams differently depending on what those teams do so I don’t know how they would or wouldn’t have attacked them if they had a different combination of players. That being said, they’ve basically matched [Antonio] Cromartie to their opponent’s top receiver or the guy they want to put him on and Kyle Wilson has gone opposite of him. Ellis Lankster has really taken over as the third corner, although they play a lot of five, six, seven at times DB personnel groups depending on the situation and also what personnel group the offense has out there. Basically, the corner situation, Lankster has become the third corner, Wilson has become the second and Cromartie matches to the guy they want to match him to.”
Antonio Cromartie has been a productive player for a long time, but it seems like he’s come on even stronger without Darrelle Revis with a couple interceptions.
“He has. He has very good ball skills and when he gets around the ball, he can catch it like he did against us last year. We had a tipped ball down there and he has very good hand-eye coordination and ball skills and of course he’s a big threat when he gets the ball in his hands to take it the distance and score. He’s a very good runner, returner; he’s had a little bit of that background. He’s having a good year. They’re asking him to do a lot and he’s stepping up and doing it.
On offense, they’ve had some up and down performances running the football, but last week they had a good week with Shonn Greene getting into the end zone three times. How do they attack you as a running offense and what did you see on Sunday that suggests they’re back on track?
“I would say schematically they’ve changed their running game a little bit from what it’s been the past couple years. It’s more scheme blocking plays, less zone plays, although they also run zone plays too, but the whole team blocks, pulling linemen, things like that, more so than just predominately zone. They’ve used a number of different personnel groups. Sometimes they have one or sometimes two tight ends in the game. They’ve also had some three tight end sets. They’ve also used Jason Smith as an extra blocking tight end, so he’s a pretty athletic guy and they’re able to do some things with him in there, maybe kind of like we did with [Nate] Solder last year, that type of thing. That’s another element to it. Sometimes they line up all three guys in the backfield: two tight ends and a running or a running back, fullback and another tight end, things like that to create blocking angles and different schemes. Greene has run well. No question he’s a powerful guy, he has good strength, he breaks a lot of tackles, he also has good speed and quickness and running vision. [Bilal] Powell and [Joe] McKnight have also been in there and they’re dangerous. We know how explosive McKnight is in the kicking game. He has that same element on offense, running the ball or catching screen passes or things like that. They have a good group of backs and they kind of complement each other well. Greene gets a lot of tough yards, Powell is a good, solid guy that does a lot of things well and McKnight is more of an explosive player. Then [Tim] Tebow, whatever you want to call him, but he carries the ball quite a bit so to some degree he’s a running back.”
Will Visanthe Shiancoe and Myron Pryor be returning to practice this week?
“We haven’t made a decision on that. It’s possible.”
They are eligible though, is that correct?
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