By: Ian Logue
Monday’s news that the Patriots have made the decision to bring Tim Tebow into New England is definitely one of the most surprising and puzzling moves of the Bill Belichick era, but seemingly one that the head coach had to have made with a plan to properly utilize the beleaguered quarterback in this system.
Clearly here in New England Tom Brady is the man, so there shouldn’t be any doubt about who the number one guy is lining up under center. As a result there will be no circus surrounding Tebow supplanting Brady nor any potential for him to see the field as a quarterback. There also shouldn’t be any installation of a Wildcat offense, because that notion requires taking Brady off the field and he’s the reason this team has lead the league in scoring in two out of the last three seasons.
The only way Tebow’s chances of playing quarterback here in New England would be if the unthinkable happens (again) and let’s face it, if we’re arguing about whether or not Tebow should be starting over Ryan Mallett, clearly things will have gone terribly wrong.
That being said, here are five thoughts on his arrival:
Tebow’s role in New England should be interesting, but it likely won’t be as a quarterback. (FILE:USPresswire)
1) The Patriots love high-character guys and Tebow fits that bill: Say what you want about his ability to be a quarterback, but there’s no denying that Tebow is a good guy and a good teammate. This team has purged some of the recent personalities that plagued the locker room over the past few seasons, and Tebow is a guy who loves the game and loves to win. While he won’t be the guy calling the plays, he’ll likely be a guy who will join a group of players with the right attitude and will do all the right things to help make the team better. You can never have too many guys like that in the locker room, so that’s certainly something working in his favor.
2) He’s a versatile player: Tebow may not be an NFL caliber quarterback, but he’s a terrific athlete and a big, strong guy. One of the comments about him two years ago when he was with Denver that Belichick mentioned was about how difficult he was to bring down. If Belichick can convince him to play other positions whether it’s in the passing game or to create mismatches out of the backfield, he could give them an additional threat in the offense. Belichick loves guys who can do more than one thing and after the release of quarterback Matt Kafka, Tebow could also save them a roster spot as an emergency QB.
3) The timing of this move doesn’t make sense: The Patriots are obviously in transition offensively and bringing in Tebow doesn’t make much sense considering he’ll be taking snaps away from younger players. At this time of year any repetition a younger player can get are at a premium and this experiment takes away the opportunity for some of the newer players to get acclimated in the offense. This type of move would have made sense with an established veteran group, but right now the Patriots are trying to put together a new nucleus of offensive players and Tebow being here complicates that effort.
4) Expect training camp to be a crowded mess next month: When training camp opens this season it’s likely going to be reminiscent of the championship years where camp was completely packed and the crowds reached record numbers. That leads to plenty of concession sales not to mention the crazy amount of Tebow jerseys that will be sold in the Pro Shop, so the club will certainly benefit financially during that span thanks to his presence. For the rest of us who enjoy coming to watch practice to get a close up look at this year’s team, unfortunately we’ll likely see a lot more casual fans who will make the trek just to see this kid in person who may not have done so otherwise had he not ended up here.
5) Don’t expect Brady to come out in favor of Tebow in the Red Zone: The thought of using Tebow under center down in scoring territory is nauseating and that idea needs to be completely thrown out the window. Last season Brady was 49-of-81 (60%) down inside the Red Zone with 24 touchdowns and just one interception. You don’t take Brady out in that situation unless he’ll be throwing Tebow the ball or handing it off to him. Using Tebow in place of Aaron Hernandez out of the backfield makes a little more sense in that it saves Hernandez some wear and tear and hopefully keeps him a little more healthy for an entire season. Otherwise the numbers don’t lie, and Brady is the guy you want throwing the football down where it counts.
Obviously we don’t know what the future holds for Tebow, but clearly Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have to have some sort of idea in mind. But it doesn’t make it any less puzzling as we wonder where in the world he’s going to fit in the Patriots continue rebuilding their offense.