FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- One day after announcing that Tim Tebow wouldn't be used Monday night in the Wildcat or on the punt team, Rex Ryan did a suspicious about-face Friday, claiming Tebow's sore ribs are fine and that he could play against the Titans.
This reeks of gamesmanship.
Without being prompted, Ryan declared that Tebow has made dramatic improvement and could return to his old roles. Ryan said Tebow, who fractured two ribs five weeks ago, looked terrific Thursday in practice.
"He moved around great," Ryan said. "This is the best he's looked in several weeks, so we'll see. There could be a chance he does the Wildcat. We'll see. He moved around that good. We may get him back in similar roles."
It came as a surprise Thursday when Ryan, saying he still wasn't comfortable with the idea of exposing Tebow to contact, announced that he'd make him a regular No. 2 quarterback for the game. In other words, no Wildcat and no personal protecting on the punt team.
Football coaches usually don't reveal strategy before a game. Last week, Ryan kept Tebow's role a mystery until the pregame. Perhaps realizing he goofed, Ryan went out of his way Friday, trying to convince everyone Tebow is good to go.
Tebow hasn't played in the last three games. He dressed in the last two, but never left the sideline.
How does Ryan know that Tebow is ready if he hasn't sustained any contact?
"There's no doubt, that's true, but looking at the way he's throwing the football and the way he's moving ... before, you could almost tell he wasn't real sure. Now I can't see a visible difference from the start of the year to right now."
On Thursday, Tebow said after practice that his ribs are "definitely getting better. Everything, from running to exercising to throwing. It's all getting better. Slowly, but it's getting better."
Titans coach Mike Munchak, in a conference call Thursday with the New York media, thought the writers were kidding him about Ryan's statement that Tebow wouldn't play in the Wildcat.
"Obviously, it's something we would prepare for anyway," he said.