Quarterback Tim Tebow did not suit up for the New York Jets in Week 13. This however, comes as no surprise considering the football star has been rarely used in 2012. In addition, the popular backup quarterback also had an injury that lead to his Week 13 status, breaking two ribs in a game on Nov. 11 in Seattle. He still played against the Rams and was then active against the Patriots on Thanksgiving but did not play.
Coach Rex Ryan wouldn’t officially rule out Tebow, but it sounded unlikely he would play.
“We’re looking into it,” Ryan said Friday. “He’s been limited, really very limited in some of the snaps. He does take a few offensive snaps, but we’re just tracking it. We’ll see how he feels.
“Could it be a game-time decision? It could be.”
Ryan disputed an ESPN report Friday that said he had already made plans to keep Tebow inactive.
“It could be true, but right now, we haven’t done anything,” Ryan said. “I haven’t made that decision or anyone else made that decision. Whether there’s speculation or not, that’s a decision that I haven’t made.”
Third-stringer Greg McElroy would be the backup to Sanchez if Tebow is not active. Ryan insisted that players have been active and participated in games with broken ribs, and he will evaluate the situation leading up to kickoff. Tebow would wear heavy protection around his rib area if he does play.
Tebow said he didn’t do much during practice all week, and throwing still bothers his ribs — he’s a left-handed passer and the injury is on his left side. Despite Tebow being cleared by the team doctors to play, Ryan was criticized last week for keeping him active rather than McElroy.
“I feel like I’m getting a little bit better every day,” Tebow said. “Obviously, I’d love to be out there doing everything, but they’re trying to be smart, so just slowly progressing with things every day. It’ll be up to coach and the docs.”
Part of the decision involves Tebow’s role, in that he has only thrown seven passes all season and he is used mostly in wildcat-style packages on offense and as the punt protector on special teams. So, not being able to throw wouldn’t necessarily rule Tebow out from playing.
“You’re not going out there and asking him to throw it 50 times a game,” Ryan said. “If that was the case, I’m not sure he could do that.”
McElroy, a seventh-round pick last year out of Alabama, missed last season with a thumb injury and has been inactive every week so far this year.
“I’m sure it’ll be similar to last week where it’ll be a decision that’s made on game day and just before the game,” McElroy said. “But if Tim’s feeling healthy and ready to go, then he’ll be the guy.”
The Washington Post contributed to this report.