Sparano defends Tebow usage

Does Tony Sparano know how to use Tim Tebow? "I was born in the day, but not yesterday," he said. Steve Mitchell/US Presswire

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who has been criticized for turning Tim Tebow into a decoy, admitted Thursday he "can do a better job" of integrating him into the Jets' offense -- and that means letting him throw the ball. But Sparano insisted that, contrary to popular belief, he has a plan for Tebow.

"I have a pretty good feel on how to use him and how to use him best," Sparano said. "I'm not still trying to figure that out. I was born in the day, but not yesterday. I've figured that out. I feel like I have a good answer on how to use him best.

"Can I put him in more of these different situations? Sure. I'm not going to sit here and tell you I can't do that, but it's just a feeling you have during the course of a game. When you're rolling and you feel Mark [Sanchez] is hot, you drive with the hot hand."

Sanchez was hot when the Jets recovered a fumble Sunday at the Patriots' 18 with 2:01 remaining in regulation, but the Jets went to their Wildcat package -- Sanchez split out as a receiver, Tebow in shotgun. Sparano was criticized for not trusting Sanchez in that spot. Sparano said he felt good about the play call because they had a 6-yard run in the red zone earlier in the game with Tebow. This time, Tebow was stuffed for two yards.

Why not let him throw? So far, Tebow has attempted only two passes on offense. Sparano explained that teams have played them relatively loose. If that's the case, they should be running more effectively with Tebow. Sparano said it's hard to call plays for Tebow because he's still gathering information on how opponents will defend him.

"You can't just dial these things up and think every play will be a successful play because it's Tim," he said. "You have to give credit on the other side, too. That being said, throwing the football out of that is definitely something we have to consider doing more of, no question about it, because Tim can throw the ball."

One of Sparano's former players, Dolphins C Mike Pouncey, questioned the Jets' usage of Tebow. Mind you, Pouncey and Tebow were college teammates at Florida, so he's not the most objective person on Tebow issues.

"I feel his pain," Pouncey said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "Tebow is a playmaker. With playmakers, you either start them or you don't. You can't expect him to play five plays in a game and come in the game and make magic. You have to let him loose and let him make the plays he's always been known to make."