From Comcast SportsNetFLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -- Tim Tebow might add a new job title to an already-lengthy list.The do-it-all backup quarterback could see time at running back in the New York Jets' banged-up backfield Sunday against the New England Patriots on Sunday."That's a possibility," coach Rex Ryan said Thursday. "The thing about Tim -- with him being a football player like we've always talked about -- by playing quarterback, he knows all the positions. So, can you plug him in at running back? Can you plug him in at tight end or whatever?"I think the answer is yes."The Jets are a bit short-handed at the position with backups Joe McKnight (sprained left ankle) and Bilal Powell (separated right shoulder) likely out for the game -- although McKnight insisted, "It's for first place, I'm in there." That leaves only starter Shonn Greene and rookie Jonathan Grimes, who has yet to play, as the team's only completely healthy running backs. Lex Hilliard is the remaining fullback after the Jets waived John Conner on Wednesday.Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano echoed Ryan's comments on Tebow, and was just as vague."There's a possibility," he said. "There's a possibility for a lot of things. We'll see."But could Tebow actually make a good running back?"I think Tim Tebow could be good at whatever he wants to be good at," Sparano said.Tebow's role has been limited in his first season with the Jets, but he has carried the ball 18 times for 64 yards -- all on direct snaps as the team's wildcat quarterback or in the read-option package. He has lined up at quarterback, tight end, wide receiver, fullback and running back at times throughout the season, creating the element of surprise for opponents.Patriots coach Bill Belichick said earlier in the week that Tebow is "really a running back" for the Jets, so Ryan's acknowledgement should hardly come as a surprise to him."He's a good runner, he's a strong runner, very strong," Belichick said. "He's mobile in the pocket, (a) smart player, he can do a lot of different things. Different option plays and things like that, so you certainly have to be aware of him when he's in there."Greene ran for a career-high 161 yards last Sunday against Indianapolis as New York rolled up 252 yards on the ground. It might be tougher sledding in Foxborough this weekend, though, with the Patriots ranked sixth overall against the run. So, the Jets might be forced to change some things up if Greene struggles early. That means Tebow could see some extensive time in the backfield -- and maybe even get a few carries."Who's that?" Greene said with a straight face.You know, that guy the Jets traded for in March to give the offense a boost?"No," Greene said. "Never heard of him."Seriously, though, Greene insists he would be OK if Tebow took some of his carries in game -- as long as it helps New York win. However, he wouldn't bite on detailing what Tebow would bring to the position."I don't know," Greene said. "I guess I'll see, just like you guys."Added Grimes: "Man, everybody loves to see Tebow get out there and do his thing, and I do, too. Whatever it takes to win."While there could be some gamesmanship going on, as there usually is between the Jets and Patriots leading up to their matchups, putting Tebow in the backfield makes some sense.Many fans and media have questioned the way Sparano has used Tebow throughout the first part of the season, with the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback playing only 44 of the Jets' offensive snaps. Tebow has shown an ability to make things happen with the ball in his hands, as evidenced by him converting three fake punts for first downs this season.Tebow, knocked for his inconsistency as a passer, thrived last season in Denver when the Broncos made him the starting quarterback and restructured their offense around him. He ended up running for 660 yards and was a threat for a big gain at any time. The Jets would keep Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback, but by having Tebow lined up behind him, they could keep the Patriots guessing: Will Sanchez throw it? Will Sanchez hand it off to Tebow? Will Tebow throw it? Will Tebow get a direct snap and try to make a play?"I would be ready for whatever I would be asked to do, absolutely," Tebow said Wednesday.Would that include playing extensively at running back on Sunday?"I don't know," Tebow said. "It's not something that's been talked (about) or planned or worked on at all, so probably not."Well, Tebow certainly looks the part of a running back, or at least a fullback after gaining muscle in the offseason to get up to nearly 250 pounds to handle the blocking on special teams. He has also been used to block on offense at times, when he and Sanchez have been on the field together."His skillset would be more based on power," Ryan said. "I think he's not going to be a blazer compared to other running backs, but he's got power."The Jets curiously brought in free agent quarterback Kevin O'Connell for a workout Tuesday, and Ryan wouldn't say Wednesday whether a signing was imminent. New York already has Sanchez, Tebow and Greg McElroy at the position, so the interest in O'Connell sparked theories that perhaps the Jets were considering changing their depth chart -- and shifting Tebow's primary responsibilities to other areas on offense.Ryan said the team isn't looking to add a speedier running back even with McKnight possibly out, joking that the Jets aren't considering trying cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who has played some at wide receiver, in the backfield."We're good," Ryan said. "We have some good backs, so I'm comfortable in our running back situation."Grimes was signed by the Jets from the Houston Texans' practice squad on Sept. 25, after being undrafted out of William & Mary. He's the school's career leader in rushing, all-purpose yards, kickoff return yards and rushing attempts, so he's ready to contribute in any way he can for the Jets."I'm excited," Grimes said. "I think we could really do something. People saw the potential last week of the kind of team we could be and it's nice to be a part of that."
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while thinking about and praying for the people of Manchester, England. It’s obviously an evil, cowardly act to bomb any public place, but to do it at a concert filled with women and children is the lowest of the low.
*The Capitals players are acknowledging that there’s some kind of mental block with the Stanley Cup playoffs. CSN Mid-Atlantic has all the details.
*It’s been a very odd postseason for the NHL where there are so many non-traditional teams still alive with the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Fina, and the Ottawa Senators fighting for their lives in the Eastern Conference Final. On that note, there is a ton of disappointment at the empty seats at the Canadian Tire Centre for Ottawa’s home games in the playoffs. It sounds like there are going to be empty seats tonight for a do-or-die Game 6 in Ottawa. That is an embarrassment for a Canadian city that’s supposed to pride itself on their love of hockey. Let’s hope the Senators fans have a last-minute surge to buy tickets and show some appreciation for a Senators team that’s given the Ottawa fans a totally unexpected ride through the postseason this spring. I mean, Erik Karlsson at the top of his game is worth the price of admission all by himself.
*The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Senators on the ropes, and it’s been an impressive showing given that they’re doing it without Kris Letang.
*Pro Hockey Talk has the ownership for the St. Louis Blues giving their GM Doug Armstrong a vote of confidence.
*Another early exit from the playoffs is going to start making some players expendable on the New York Rangers roster.
*Here’s a good piece on how David Poile built the Nashville Predators, who have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. Give credit where it’s due: He manned up and made a big move dealing away Shea Weber straight up for PK Subban. It’s really worked for Music City as they’ve stepped to the next level.
*Speaking of Nashville’s rise this spring in a wide open Western Conference, Pekka Rinne has silenced the critics he might have had by carrying his team to the Cup Final.
*For something completely different: Boston law enforcement is on high alert after the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in the UK.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal ignited a local firestorm when he made a seemingly off-hand comment a few days ago that he "wouldn't be surprised" if the Red Sox fired John Farrell this year. (He quickly added he also "wouldn't be surprised" if Farrell stayed on and led the team to the A.L. East title this year, but that got scant mention.)
Today, however, Rosenthal expounded on Farrell and the Sox in a lengthy column on foxsports.com. While acknowledging the team's injuries and beyond-the-manager's-control inconsistencies (in the starting rotation and with the offense), he also ominously added, "The excuses for the Sox, though, go only so far — all teams deal with injuries, and not all of them boast $200 million payrolls. Other issues also have emerged under Farrell . . . "
Farrell, even when he won the 2013 World Series as a rookie manager, was not popular in all corners of the clubhouse. Some players, but not all, believe that he does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media when the team is struggling, sources say. Some also question Farrell’s game management, talk that exists in virtually every clubhouse, some more than others.
And then he mentioned two leadership problems:
The first occurred during the Red Sox’s prolonged dispute with the Orioles’ Manny Machado. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, after Matt Barnes threw at Machado’s head, shouted across the field to Machado, 'it wasn’t me,' then told reporters that it was 'definitely a mishandled situation,' without mentioning Barnes or Farrell by name . . .
The second incident occurred last Saturday, when Farrell engaged in a heated exchange with left-hander Drew Pomeranz in the dugout . . . [Pomeranz's] willingness to publicly challenge Farrell, in an exchange captured by television cameras, offered another indication that the manager and some of his players are not always on the same page.
Rosenthal's piece comes at a time when some of Farrell's harshest local critics are more or less giving him a pass, instead blaming Dave Dombrowski's flawed roster construction for the Sox' early season struggles , , ,
But there has been speculation hereabouts on whether or not Farrell has control of the clubhouse . . .
Now that Rosenthal has weighed in, that sort of talk should increase.
In the end, Rosenthal makes no prediction on Farrell's future other than to conclude "If Dombrowski senses a change is necessary, he’ll make a change."
But one prediction that can be made: The should-Farrell-be-fired? debate, which raged at unrealistic levels last year when the Red Sox won the division, isn't going to end anytime soon.