When the New England Patriots signed Tim Tebow, they knew what they were getting themselves into.
They knew he was going to be a distraction during training camp, and they knew the rumors were going to swirl around which position he was going to play. But most of all, they knew they were bringing in a guy who could be successful at whatever position he played.
With the lack of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball this year, it seems like a perfect fit for Tebow to move to tight end or some sort of hybrid running back, but the team has been consistent in their statements that he will have every opportunity to earn the backup quarterback job.
Ryan Mallett, a former third-round draft pick, has been the backup in New England for the past two years. Despite his potential, or more likely because of it, he’s been rumored to be on the trading block this offseason — especially since Tebow came to town. He’s looked alright in the preseason work we’ve seen from him, but we haven’t had a chance to see what he can do against live regular-season NFL defenses.
And we’ve seen what Tebow can do. We’ve even seen Tebow get it done when it matters the most in the playoffs. Sure, you have to change up your offense if he’s going to be the full-time quarterback, but he showed when he was with the Denver Broncos that he can win that way.
And that’s more than we’ve seen out of Mallett. He sure can throw the ball better than Tebow, but if the Patriots lose Tom Brady for an extended part of this season, it may be Tebow that would give the Patriots the best chance to salvage the season.
In the end, Tebow will likely play multiple roles this season, including the red zone closer, but don’t count him out to win the backup job outright.