Tim Tebow Must Show Vast Improvement in Wake of Tom Brady Injury

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2013

Aug 9, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow (5) is sacked by Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Chris McCoy (94) during the second half of a preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Patriots won 31-22. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady's recent injury scare exemplifies the need for Tim Tebow to expedite his improvement as a passer in New England Patriots offense. 

According to Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times, Brady was taken to the Patriots locker room during a joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Patriots will meet the Bucs in a preseason game on Friday, Aug. 6. 

A fan video of the incident has surfaced on YouTube:

Fortunately for Pats fans, it appears that Brady's injury is not serious. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, an MRI on the star quarterback's knee came back negative. He is considered day-to-day. 

Regardless of the severity of the injury, the situation does remind the coaching staff and the fans of one thing: The Patriots need to be prepared at backup quarterback.

The Pats are just one incident away from starting Ryan Mallett at quarterback with Tebow playing the role of primary backup. It's also important to note that Mallett left the team's preseason opener with an injury, as reported by NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal.

Rosenthal shared some thoughts on Mallett's performance as well: "It's a good sign for his health that the team let him watch the second half from the sideline. It's not a great sign that he's annually disappointed in August."

Without proven stability behind Brady, Tebow's spotlight grows even brighter. Tebow certainly didn't seem like a player with a firm enough grasp on the Patriots playbook to serve as the backup in the team's preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles

Taking over in the second quarter, the former Heisman-winner went just 4-of-12 for 55 yards while getting sacked three times for a loss of 23 yards. However, he did remind everyone why he's an intriguing prospect when he turned four carries into 31 yards on the ground. 

Those numbers are fine for a third-string quarterback. Plenty of teams carry a third signal-caller on the roster that is far from game-ready with the hopes of grooming him into something special. That's the exact niche that Tebow fills for New England.

But that won't cut it for a player who could be pressed into action with just one injury. 

Bill Belichick has proven he can win with a less-than-ideal quarterback. He led the Patriots to an 11-win season in 2008 with Matt Cassell under center, but he needs someone who can get the ball out on time and with accuracy.

Those were the two greatest weaknesses in Tebow's time on the field last week.  

Cassell is nowhere near the level of Brady but he at least completed 63.4 percent of his passes and threw just 11 interceptions on the season. 

With Tebow completing just 33 percent of his attempts in his first outing with the Patriots, the New England offense would need a complete overhaul to work for Tebow's unique skill set at the quarterback position. 

That's not something that the team is likely to do for a backup quarterback. Tebow will need to show that he is capable of making vast improvements from week to week if he wants to prove that he can play the role of back up if necessary.