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Jets will use Tebow to push Sanchez, add spark to offense

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The New York Jets' surprising acquisition of Tim Tebow has been the subject of much debate since the news broke Wednesday. After a few days to reflect, I wanted to see how those close to the parties involved believe the move will impact the franchise. I spoke to a few coaches, scouts and team officials off the record; here is some of the buzz that I've gathered about Tebow's arrival in New York:

» The Jets desperately wanted to create some kind of competition at the quarterback position to get the attention of incumbent starter Mark Sanchez. Some players and coaches believe the fourth-year pro has become complacent with his work habits and needs to feel the pressure of a capable backup to take his game to another level. Sanchez never had to fear losing time to past backups like Mark Brunell; his lackadaisical preparation often went unpunished by Jets coaches. Adding Tebow ratchets up the pressure in the quarterback room and lets Sanchez know his job could be on the line if he fails to demonstrate the work ethic and leadership skills of a franchise player.

» Don't be surprised if Tebow plays a bigger role as the Jets' Wildcat quarterback than many are predicting. Most expect Tebow to trot out for a few specialty plays each half in short-yardage and goal-line situations. However, I'm hearing he might get to run a few series each half, to see if he can jump start the offense with his unique skills. This would allow him to be like a sixth man in basketball, providing coaches with a viable option to turn to when in need of some extra juice.


» Jets coach Rex Ryan's experience facing various versions of the Wildcat offense as a defensive coordinator might have prompted the team to acquire Tebow. Ryan told reporters at LSU's pro day how difficult it can be for defenses to prepare for the multifaceted option attack, and he intends for the Jets' version, as run by Tebow, to be equally problematic for opponents. Ryan cited the success that current Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano had using the Wildcat with Ronnie Brown and the Miami Dolphins in 2009. That was routinely executed in inside and outside zone play, with an occasional zone-read option to a crossing running back. With Tebow, the Jets will be able to feature the zone-read in addition to a variety of option runs and passes designed to keep defenders from focusing on stopping the quarterback on the ground. Ryan wants opposing defenses to spend more time preparing for the Jets' gimmick offense.

» A lot has been made of Tebow's inefficiencies as a passer, but UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone believes the third-year pro will improve immeasurably this offseason. Mazzone spoke at length on the NFL Draft Tracker podcast about Tebow's understanding of his shortcomings, and how he attacks them in workouts. Mazzone thinks Tebow's efforts to become a polished passer -- such as improving his footwork, body control and anticipation -- will pay off in the long run. Whether Tebow is ever able to become a serious threat from the pocket will likely determine his chances of taking the starting job from Sanchez.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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