For proof, you need to look no further than when the controversial quarterback stepped onto the field in the Pats’ preseason debut against the Philadelphia Eagles.
It certainly wasn’t his play that will get head coach Bill Belichick to commit to keeping three QBs on the roster this season, as Tebow went just 4-of-12 passing for 55 yards and added another 31 yards on four carries.
But a number of plays that were clearly designed with Tebow in mind indicates the organization's intentions on keeping the 25-year-old.
Formations such as the full-house and read-options plays were utilized when the former Florida Gators star was on the field—which would almost never be called if starter Tom Brady or second-stringer Ryan Mallet were under center.
Belichick explained his reasoning behind these plays during his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI (h/t ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss), stating that the Patriots want to utilize Tebow’s unique ability to run the ball if he’s in the game:
You want to try to be prepared for, and take advantage of, some of the players' skills that you have. I don't think it's uncommon. We've had those types of things in our offense before. This is a little bit different, but we're not trying to reinvent the game or anything. We're just trying to take advantage of a particular player's skill, and that's no different than something we would do with a tight end, or a receiver, or running back who has a skill set that we want to try to take advantage of.
It would clearly be a waste to cut Tebow from the roster after spending so much time preparing the various other players on the team to work with him.
While it’s certainly not something you can put past the hooded genius, it just wouldn’t make sense to essentially throw out all the reps and time spent on plays that the other quarterbacks aren’t capable of or won’t be comfortable executing.
As a No. 3 quarterback on a cheap contract, with a unique skill set and playoff experience under his belt, Tebow makes perfect sense for the beleaguered Patriots.
After one of the toughest offseasons in club history, the last thing New England needs is for Brady or Mallett to go down with a serious injury during the season.
If that does unfortunately happen, however, it seems that Tebow will be available in emergency duty.
Belichick has spent time implementing a contingency plan based around the former first-round pick’s running ability, which would hopefully still give his squad a chance to win in a circumstance that most other teams would consider bleak at best.
If Tebow ends up being used in more ways than that—great.
If not, the Patriots have one of the best third-string quarterbacks in the league and a full system to use if he needs to get in the game.