Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tebow, Powell Might Give Jets Needed Boost

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tebow, Powell Might Give Jets Needed Boost

Article excerpt

FLORHAM PARK -- There is no margin for error.

The Jets have to win Monday night in Tennessee -- and the two games after that -- for their dreams of an unlikely playoff berth to remain alive.

To do that, they will count on their suddenly surging running game, especially with a struggling Mark Sanchez likely facing the Titans without targets Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill.

So the news the Jets announced Friday came just in time: Tim Tebow and the Wildcat just might be available, and Bilal Powell doesn't have a broken toe, returning to practice on a limited basis.

Coach Rex Ryan revealed both, reversing himself just 24 hours after all but ruling out Tebow and his two fractured ribs from running the Wildcat or serving as a personal punt protector. He also corrected himself in saying Powell had not suffered a break.

The improved health of Powell and Tebow could help bolster the NFL's 12th-best rushing attack (119.1 yards per game), which has averaged 141.6 yards the past eight games and 171.5 the past two weeks.

"We know that we have to win this game," Ryan said.

Ryan changed his mind about Tebow's possible participation after the quarterback's health unexpectedly improved in Thursday's practice.

"He moved around great," Ryan said. "This is the best he's looked in several weeks."

Of course, the sudden resurrection of the Wildcat merely could be an example of gamesmanship. And straight answers remain as elusive as ever with the Jets.

But Tebow said he ran "about the same" number of Wildcat plays as usual this week in practice. He suffered the injury Nov. 11 in a loss to Seattle and has not played the past three games.

He won't know how his ribs will respond in game action until he takes that first hit. "That's true. You don't get hit in practice," Tebow said.

The news that Powell (136 yards the past two games) does not have a broken toe, as Ryan announced Thursday, probably is even more important. …

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