The New England Patriots have officially signed quarterback Tim Tebow, according to a news release from ESPN. While the Patriots are obviously set at the quarterback position for the time being, Tebow will help the Patriots with his versatility, strength and his football IQ.
Tebow is listed at 6'3" and 236 pounds. He has the height of a prototypical quarterback and the bulk of a running back, a combination that very few players at either of those positions have.
While Tebow is not a natural at either position by any means (his throwing mechanics are atrocious and he isn't a speed demon), there is an element of suspense whenever he lines up on offense. Is he going to throw? Is he going to run? Will he end up as a receiver?
These questions are rarely thought of when starter Tom Brady lines up behind the center. Although he is an elite quarterback, no one will mistake him for a dual-threat quarterback.
Tebow will provide the Patriots with a change-of-pace player who can spice up the offense in moments where the defense is planning against Brady's passing exploits.
But does this strength translate to the football field? One word: yes.
In 2011, when Tebow started 11 games for the Denver Broncos, he broke 22 tackles, which tied for the highest total among quarterbacks that year with Michael Vick. Only 14 starting running backs had more broken tackles than Tebow that year.
He also ran for six touchdowns that year, on only 122 carries. He thrives on short-yardage carries where he can truck through defenders on the way to a first down or touchdown.
In the Patriots' offense, Tebow can come in to get tough yardage to keep drives alive or end them with a bang.
Hear me out on this one: Tim Tebow's football IQ is much better than he is given credit for. Yes, I know he scored a mediocre 22 on the Wonderlic, and his decision-making as a quarterback isn't always the best.
But he knows how to win games down the stretch, and his decision to run or pass is more often than not the right one. While he sometimes makes atrocious decisions as to where to pass the ball, passing the ball is often the right decision when he chooses it. You don't make the playoffs with a quarterback that possesses a terrible football IQ.
In Josh McDaniels' offense, Tebow will mostly come off the bench with set plays that give him a specific target to throw to in the passing game. If he doesn't like those, he can choose to run.
As a starting quarterback, he was depended on to make a lot more decisions than just run versus pass, but he won't have to do that as much anymore. Basically, Tebow's decision-making will actually be very good when he only has to think about running versus passing.
Guard Ben Hansbrough of the Indiana Pacers summed it up best when he said:
Tebow may or may not work out in New England, but with these three skills, he definitely has a shot at it. Look for him to take the backup quarterback job from Ryan Mallett in training camp.
Note: All stats are from Pro Football Reference, unless otherwise noted.