EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 08: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets reaxcts after he ran for a first down in the secon dhalf against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium on October 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Because no conversation about the Jets would be complete without a mention of the world's most famous punt protector, Patriots coach Bill Belichick spoke about Tim Tebow, who also serves as New York's backup quarterback to Mark Sanchez.
Belichick wasn't offering his opinion willy-nilly; he was asked about Tebow ahead of Sunday's Jets-Patriots get-together which, for the time being anyway, will decide the division's top team.
"Yeah, absolutely, there's no question about it," Belichick said on Tuesday in response to a question about Tebow's value and versatility (via the New York Daily News). "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."
So what makes him so valuable, Bill? "He's a good runner, strong runner, very strong, good thrower, mobile in the pocket, smart player, can do a lot of different things," Belichick said. "You certainly have to be aware when he's in there. In the kicking game, he's dangerous because of his versatility … .He carries the ball quite a bit, so to some degree he's a running back."
Belichick pretty much covered the gamut there, though we take issue with the "good thrower" remark. Then again, the Patriots coach is known as much for his in-game acumen as he is for his "ability to use a bunch of words to say absolutely nothing" media sessions.
If the first six weeks are any indication, Tebow won't play much of a role in the outcome. He's been used sparingly and has yet to recapture the magic that created Tebowmania a season ago. Instead, the game is likely to come down to the Jets' ability to get off the field and the Pats' ability to stay on it.
New York coach Rex Ryan admitted this week that he stocked his secondary with bigger players to combat the emergence of New England tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
"We've built our team up on the back end to match up with them," Ryan said, alluding to safeties Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry.
The Pats, meanwhile, will likely continue their up-tempo style, something that worked to great effect against the Broncos, but less so in a mistake-filled road loss to the Seahawks. So while having big bodies on the "back end" is nice, it could be a hindrance if the Jets can't substitute players off the field
“With this offense (the Pats are) running this up-tempo it’s going to put a lot of stress on us,” safety Eric Smith admitted to the Daily News' Manish Mehta who adds:
Gang Green’s depth and conditioning will be tested. The Patriots have become masters at dictating pace and tempo with their no-huddle offense. Two weeks ago, New England’s up-tempo style kept Von Miller, the Broncos’ most explosive defensive player, on the sideline for 30 snaps, or a third of the plays. The Jets must guard against having the wrong personnel on the field at the wrong time against a unit that ranks in the Top 4 in passing, rushing, total and scoring offense.
Jets second-year defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson doesn't think it's that complicated. It all comes down to execution.
“The performance from Sunday has just got to roll over,” he said. “We just got to play physical up front like we did (against the Colts) and we won’t have a problem with New England running the ball.”
That's all well and good but stopping the run doesn't solve the other elephant in the room: stopping Tom Brady.