Tim Tebow to the New England Patriots: How Excited Should We Be?
I'll be honest, I didn't expect Tim Tebow to be playing football this fall. Not in the NFL anyway. Word on the street in the past few months was that arena football may be his only option. After an abomination of a stay in New York (which was more the fault of Rex Ryan than anyone else), his career path seemed to have hit a dead end.
But, out of the blue, on a day in early June, news breaks that Tim Tebow has found a new home in New England.
My first reaction was that Bill Belichick wants him for trick plays. Well, that's not true. My first reaction was "Thank goodness it's not Denver," but my very next reaction was trick plays.
You know the drill, he'll be hidden in there on punt plays. He'll be holding field goals. They'll put him next to Brady in the backfield. I have no doubt that Belichick will come up with something productive for him.
But he won't be playing quarterback. He'll have a little "QB" next to his name on the roster, sure. But he won't be playing quarterback.
There may not be a person on the planet with a more secure job than Tom Brady. That franchise owes him everything. He is the starter until he no longer wants to be. End of discussion.
But, Tebow isn't even the backup. People don't realize how much the Patriots like Ryan Mallett. They drafted him out of Arkansas three years ago as a "just in case Brady tears another ACL" kind of security blanket. He's basically the new Matt Cassel. And don't get it twisted, Cassel is only considered awful now because the Kansas City Chiefs are awful. He went 11-5 with the Patriots in 2008.
Tebow would presumably be third on the depth chart, although the Patriots also list quarterback Mike Kafka, who, in complete fairness, has completed 11-of-16 pass attempts in his career. I'm not sure that Tebow could do that in practice.
Putting all that aside though, if this isn't the best case scenario for Tebow, I don't know what is. He has a chance to contribute (in a supporting role) to a real championship contender. Unlike in New York, he will not be part of a controversy because everyone knows it's Brady's team, and no one will argue it shouldn't be.
He will work under the tutelage of brilliant football mind Bill Belichick, who is second to none when it comes to controlling media image, as well as old coach Josh McDaniels—quite possibly the only person who still believes in him.
For the life of me, I can't understand why the Jacksonville Jaguars aren't interested. You like Blaine Gabbert, huh? That's great, do you like making money? Because that's what Tebow is to your franchise: A huge cash cow. They love Tebow in Florida. That stadium immediately sells out with Tebow under center.
Let's be real, that team is going to stink regardless. It's not all Gabbert's fault, and it wouldn't be all Tebow's either. So why not take a chance on one of the most popular figures in Florida sports history? Put me in the Jaguars front office, this isn't that hard.
I heard a seemingly far-fetched conspiracy theory some months ago. It meant to explain the strange use of Tebow during his stint in New York, postulating that the Jets found out somehow of New England's interest in Tebow last offseason.
Worried about their division rivals acquiring a desired asset, they swooped in and snatched him away, if for no other reason than to keep him off the Patriots. Perhaps they had never meant to use him in any substantial capacity. Seeing how everything has played out, it doesn't seem so crazy anymore.
In the right system, Tebow could play an integral part in a successful run. He represents a changeup to the established idea of an NFL quarterback (like Tom Brady), which, used correctly, could be devastating.
However, I urge you not to get to excited.
I wouldn't expect more than a handful of plays each game to see Tebow on the field. And, in most of those, he'll just be used as a decoy anyway. This isn't the place for him to be a hotshot like he was in college. He is just another interchangeable cog in Belichick's machine. No more, no less.
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