The New England Patriots signed free agent quarterback Tim Tebow on Tuesday.
With two-time NFL MVP Tom Brady secure in his position as the starting quarterback, the Patriots will have to utilize Tebow in a backup role or at another position.
ESPN's Ed Werder on Tim Tebow: "I have confirmed that the #Patriots signed him with the intent of playing quarterback."— Evan Silva (@evansilva) June 10, 2013
The only other capacity in which the Jets used Tebow last season was on special teams. However, with his size and ability to run the football, the most effective ways for New England to use Tebow are to have him play fullback and tight end as well.
Tim Tebow will sign with New England, source confirms to me. Plan, I'm told, is Tebow will study a great deal at tight end.
— Mike Freeman (@realfreemancbs) June 10, 2013
New England has had the benefit of seeing Tebow play quarterback both as a starter and as a rarely used backup on two different teams.
Whether fans believe it or not, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner proved that he can play quarterback in the National Football League. Tebow was 8-6 as a starter with the Denver Broncos in 2011. Despite struggles with his completion percentage and ability to throw the ball downfield, Tebow showed flashes of success.
Last season, he had eight passing attempts and 32 rushing attempts for a total of 141 yards with the Jets. New York showed how much of a distraction and how ineffective Tebow can be when used improperly.
For Tebow to be most effective for the Patriots, they will need to give him at least two offensive series per game at quarterback, ideally when New England has a short field or is in the red zone.
How will the #Patriots use Tim Tebow? He's going to play quarterback. Has never accepted playing another position.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 10, 2013
He would provide a contrast to Brady in almost every aspect of the position (lefty vs. righty, short throws vs. long throws, a running threat vs. a pocket passer).
New England's opponents would have to prepare for two different quarterbacks and offensive schemes with Tebow as a backup QB.
The Patriots would challenge defenses to adjust from one quarterback to the other. Tebow could lull the opposing team to sleep with short passes, and then when Brady took over on the next series, he could catch the defense off guard by throwing deep down the field.
Besides playing as a backup quarterback, Tim Tebow should get snaps as a fullback next season. At 6'3" and 245 pounds, the University of Florida graduate has the size to be a durable runner.
Fullbacks are used in short yardage scenarios—often to pick up a first down or to punch the ball into the end zone—and Tebow proved that he is capable of doing both.
He has a career average of five yards per carry for the 197 carries in his career. He has 57 rushing first downs and 12 touchdowns on the ground.
However, he is faster than most fullbacks, which is why he has 32 runs of 10 or more yards in his career. Tebow's 40-yard dash time of 4.71 seconds at the 2010 NFL Combine would have been the second fastest among fullbacks at this year's combine.
Plus, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick could have some fun with trick plays with Brady at quarterback and Tebow at fullback.
For a similar reasons, New England would be smart to test out Tebow as a tight end. He has the stature for the position and tight ends are an instrumental part of the Patriots' offense. Brady targeted his tight ends 182 times last season.
New England had at least one tight end on the field for 586 of Brady's 637 passing attempts last season, and the Patriots often used formations with multiple tight ends.
Due to the injury-prone nature of Gronkowski and Hernandez, New England could use another weapon at tight end.
New England was a great team to sign Tebow because he won't be the starting quarterback and Belichick has already taken strides to limit "Tebowmania," which should take some of the pressure off of Tebow.
Tim Tebow is known by 68% of the US population according to the @qscores. Average athlete is known by 30%.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 11, 2013
Belichick cut off the media from asking too many Tebow-related questions at the first press conference since the free agent's signing. According to CBS Sports, Belichick told the media, "I think we've already talked enough about him. We'll see how he does and we'll go from there."
Tebow's football talent will not go to waste in New England as it did in New York. While he will likely start the season as a second- or third-string quarterback, I expect Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels—who drafted Tebow in the first round in Denver—to get creative with their use of Tebow as a fullback and tight end later in the year.