Done deal: Tim Tebow will break camp with Patriots

BY: AdamMKaufman

Asked on Tuesday if third-string quarterback Tim Tebow will make the Patriots’ 53-man roster, head coach Bill Belichick said, “That’s not anything that we’re ready to talk about right now. A lot of competition out there. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

Belichick doesn’t have to talk about it because the question has already been answered. He tipped his hand the moment Tebow entered last Friday’s 31-22 preseason win over the Eagles for an injured Ryan Mallett late in the second quarter.

As bad as Tebow was in the victory – and he was, converting on 4-of-12 passes for 55 yards (a total diminished by three sacks) to go along with another 31 yards on four carries – he all but officially has a spot on the New England roster when the team breaks camp in a few weeks.

The reason? Belichick’s unveiling of an alternate offense.

Once Tebow took over for his two-plus quarters of action, the offensive formation changed at times to the Pistol, the NFL’s latest fad for mobile quarterbacks. Passing was no longer the top priority, as it would be with Tom Brady or Mallett under center. Instead, it was the read-option. Runs. Pitches. Short passes. None of the drop-back, downfield target practice.

More to the point, it displayed an expansion of the playbook, a willingness to break from the Patriots’ norm. The coaching staff says it was simply utilizing a player’s skill-set, just as it would with anyone else.

But, here’s the thing: it’s not necessarily simple. These are systems associated with the likes of Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson, among others, not the 36-year-old, gun-slinging Brady. It’s a second offense that caters to the unconventional Tebow and simultaneously gives his teammates more work. Even if the separate scheme is only made up of 15 to 20 plays, the rest of the offense has to spend valuable practice time learning and adjusting. You don’t install such tactics or devote that kind of time and energy to a run-of-the-mill camp body who is a question to make the roster.

All of this for a guy who isn’t a good decision-maker, often looks like he’s panicking, doesn’t read defenses well, struggles with accuracy, holds onto the ball too long, and wouldn’t have a job in the league if not for Belichick and Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the man who drafted him in Denver. But, damn it, he’s a nice guy!

That last jab was unnecessary. In truth, I have nothing against Tebow. Really, my problem is with the media (yes, guilty) and its desire to constantly dissect the day-by-day performance of a Heisman Trophy winning college quarterback who, in all likelihood, will never be an above-average QB in the NFL. None of that is his fault. He’s a hard-worker who says and does all of the right things and, frankly, there isn’t a team in the game that couldn’t use more guys just like him – except with more talent.

Tebow, if he has any hope of becoming a more traditional quarterback, is a project, a long, long-term project. The Patriots are clearly invested in at least one season of seeing what may be there to mold.

Belichick knows that, like Liam Neeson in Taken, Tebow has a very particular set of skills, skills that can make him a nightmare for opposing defenses. He can run and take a hit, and his stretch of good fortune with the Broncos in 2011 proves he can complete a pass or two when it counts. However, he’ll never, ever – ever! – take a snap away from Brady. It just won’t happen. For Tebow to take the field at all, he’d either be alongside the future Hall of Famer in some type of Wildcat or goal-line strategy, or Brady would be on his way to the hospital.

Now, maybe, his value will be no greater than working with the scout team as an option QB who can help arm the Pats’ defense for its upcoming opponents. That could conceivably be helpful in prepping for the Dolphins, Jets, Bills, or Panthers, depending on how those teams shape their offenses. Tebow isn’t necessarily as fast as some of the guys the Patriots would face, but he has better wheels than the other two in-house options. Imagine that, Tebow does something better than Brady.

Tebow acknowledged after last Friday’s win that he has some room for improvement. That’s an understatement, and coaches Brian Daboll and Dante Scarnecchia have their work cut out for them.

Ultimately, though, the fourth-year pro will have that time to grow because he’s not going anywhere. Truth be told, there are people out there who expect him to bypass Mallett for the backup job by the Sept. 8 season-opener in Buffalo. I’m not there yet, but I don’t find the notion nearly as crazy as I did in minicamp.

Let’s just hope nothing happens to Brady. Foxboro isn’t ready for the Tebowmania era, and Tebow most definitely isn’t ready for the pressures in Foxboro.

Follow me on Twitter at @AdamMKaufman

 Buzzy Says : I would guess this is not to far off



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13 Responses to “Done deal: Tim Tebow will break camp with Patriots”

  1. Brandi says:

    He makes a comment here that, I think, has been a crux of much of the misconception about Tim Tebow. (Besides the erroneous notion that he can’t throw. He can. But he’s the Sunshine Kid. He shoots better when he moves.) The statement about “Traditional Quarterbacks”.

    Traditionally, QBs were mobile. We even had the term Scrambling Quarterback to differentiate the typical (Traditional) Mobile QB from those who made their living running around. Those few QBs who kept a job who weren’t mobile were singled out and pointed out…how they were able to Play the Game despite the “limitation”. Somehow what was once considered a limitation has now become viewed as the desired. How the heck did we get here?

    But now, the NFL pendulum is swinging back, as it always eventually does, and mobility is once again being viewed as a good thing…soon, in all likelihood, to be again viewed as necessary and the norm.

    Because we’ve lost sense of the historical traditions of Football, we’ve lost not only perspective; but even the proper usage of terms like “Traditional”.

    • The Mascot Army says:

      Great point.

    • Sage says:

      People today aren’t big on historical traditions, which is too bad.

      Having said that, there is a trend for people appreciating artisanship, which is a throwback to the past. Maybe A-11 can spark some interest that way.

    • David Oliver says:

      Bring back the “Historical” Football QB Dictionary Reality !!

    • jason says:

      Thats mostly just media only types. Good scrambling QBs were also good from the pocket when they had to be. Even tebow’s supporters like steve young and mike ditka have said his skill in the pocket needs great improvement.
      Being mobile is a good asset to have but coaches still want their QBs to be good in the pocket as the primary skill set. Wether thats good or bad it just is what they want. Tebow’s gonna get better at that. The coaches aren’t gonna go with every throw having to be a scrambling throw. Its just how they are.
      He really is setup well since he has everything else down but pocket presence, reading coverage from the pocket and route anticpation.
      Rg3, kaep, wilson are all good from the pocket as well as what they do outside of it. He’ll get it and start oneday and play into his 40s. He’ll be fine.

  2. Sage says:

    Not for a minute would I want to see a legend like Brady hurt, even as a big Tebow fan. But in the NFL, injuries to a 36 year-old QB are no fluke.

    Those who assumed Brady would be an unchallenged leader for another 4 or 5 years weren’t being realistic. Even if he recovers, a part-time Tebow ball-control offense could be a blessing for him.

    It will be interesting to see what Manning can do this year, at 37.

    • jason says:

      Its based on his health ofcourse but that comes from kraft, belichick and brady. So long as he can play the job and role is his till he retires. Tebow doing some ball control while learning is a great thing but the job of starting QB is gonna remain brady’s so long as he’s able. Those aren’t my words they have come from kraft and belichick over the years.
      Kraft has said he thinks brady is the greatest QB to ever play football. Tebow will get his shot at having the guy oneday for the patriots. Should work just fine and him being there will be a big help.

  3. Sage says:

    Von Miller arrested for FTA. Yesssss!

    Okay, I’m sorry for being crass, but it broke my heart when the Broncos were so crass.

    • jason says:

      Sage wishing ill or delighting in a person failing is something the people that truly hate tim do. You’re a better man than that.

  4. tawk2 says:

    Tom Brady hurt his left knee in practice today via reports, he had to leave the practice, he was limping. Here is a story I found. I hope he is not hurt bad.

    • tawk2 says:

      Oh and a lot of folks are blaming Tebow for this. Some are calling Tebow a witch, and that Tim wished for Tom to get hurt. How many lies can people spill forth when it comes to Tim. I also read a tweet that when Brady went down, Tim came in and threw a beautiful pass to Eldelman for a touchdown.

      It’s a shame that others always try to put the blame on others. Tim was not even in on the play, and Tim being the christian he is would never wish harm on anyone.

  5. Bigfan says:

    Could get real interesting FAST!!

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