Tebow in New England might make sense
So the New England Patriots now have a left-handed quarterback with a
scatter arm, a flair for the dramatic and a feel for leadership.
Yep, Tim Tebow.
He might as well be Frankenstein's monster, with Patriots coach Bill Belichick in the role of visionary doctor (or mad scientist).
Tebow certainly isn't going to unseat Tom Brady as the starter, and he
probably won't challenge Ryan Mallett as backup. Hey, Tebow couldn't
even get his favorite number — 15— for New England's three-day minicamp
because it belongs to Mallett.
But if the Patriots see any quarterbacking promise in Tebow — he did,
after all, lead the Broncos to a playoff berth in 2011, with a win over
Pittsburgh in overtime — they have the luxury of developing it slowly.
They will do it within their system, not with any extravagant shifts to
the wildcat or any other funky offenses; the Patriots aren't about to
take their certain Hall of Fame QB off the field for any significant
snaps if Brady is healthy.
Belichick likes the idea that Tebow's skill set could lend itself to
using him at a variety of positions: tight end, H-back, fullback,
whatever. One thing Belichick can count on is Tebow's work ethic,
something the coach already knows because of his close friendship with
Tebow's college coach, Urban Meyer. Belichick wouldn't say so, of
course, but it's very likely he consulted Meyer, now at Ohio State,
before signing the Heisman winner.
Belichick is enough of a football savant to spot strengths in a player
that others have missed; some say that was true when he selected Brady
199th overall in the 2000 draft.
Asked if a position switch was a reasonable assumption, Belichick,
naturally, was mum. That's the way of the world in Foxborough, as Tebow
After thanking the Patriots for "giving me an opportunity," which quite
possibly is his last in the NFL after last season's fiasco with the
Jets, he told reporters on the field after practice:
"I'm looking forward to working hard every single day, and getting a
lot better, and learning under some great people. So, that's all I got.
But thank you so much and God bless. I'm sure we'll be talking more
Don't count on it. Belichick will do his best to prevent the Tebow
media circus from pitching its tent in New England and causing
Count this, too: Belichick will never provide the sounds bites and
headlines Rex Ryan did when Tebow was wasting a year with the Jets, and
he won't let his players do it, either.
Unlike the up-and-down performances of Tebow as a pro, Belichick
couldn't be more consistent, or dull, in his news conferences. He
rarely gives out any useful information, and he was at his stonewalling
best before a huge media contingent Tuesday. He was asked 28 questions
relating to what, for now, is his third-string quarterback.
Tebow has reached a crossroads after only three pro seasons. Several
teams with quarterbacking needs, including Tebow's hometown
Jacksonville Jaguars, showed no interest in signing him as a free
agent. Maybe he needs to bag this QB thing, accept that he maxed out
when he won the 2007 Heisman and helped Florida win two national titles.
He probably has mixed feelings about it. His legions of fans believe he
got a raw deal, first in Denver, after guiding the Broncos to the AFC
West title with spectacular comebacks before being dumped for Peyton Manning. Then in New York.
His supporters argue that Tebow was impressive in Denver. But that came
in a run-option attack developed by coach John Fox and offensive
coordinator Mike McCoy. They went that route because their other choice
was the faltering Kyle Orton, not Tom Brady.
Tebow might have a comfort zone with Patriots offensive coordinator
Josh McDaniels, who, while coaching Denver, drafted Tebow 25th overall
in 2010. Then again, Tebow did little under McDaniels before the
Broncos fired him, and only flourished under Fox/McCoy. And only for a
half-season or so.
Many others, including people directly involved in the NFL, say he
lacks the skills to be a pro QB.
There never seems to be a middle ground when it comes to Tebow.
It should be stressed, too, that Belichick has worked some successful
reclamations throughout his 13-plus years in New England. Randy Moss
and Corey Dillon both brought lots more baggage to the Patriots than
does the diligent, team-oriented Tebow. Moss became an All-Pro again
and Dillon a 1,600-yard rusher.
Revitalizing Tebow as a Patriot would be a direct arrow through the
heart of the archrival Jets, especially after the grand experiment fell
apart last year.
Belichick has never cared about popular opinion. Or being popular, for
that matter. Which is why this most unlikely of pairings might turn out
to be the right fit.
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