New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick Insinuates Tim Tebow Will Make 53-Man Roster as Third-String QB
Just a couple of months ago, the league-wide view on Tim Tebow was that the former Heisman Trophy winner had played his final game in the NFL after being released by the New York Jets at the start of the offseason. However, the New England Patriots agreed to sign the controversial quarterback on June 11, 2013. It was not a total shock that the Patriots brought Tebow on board, particularly with his connection to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Still, it appeared that “Tebow Time” and “Tebow-Mania” had been permanently terminated after the former first-round draft pick was run out of town by the Jets in a New-York-minute.
Two questions immediately came to mind when Tebow inked a two-year deal with no guaranteed money to join the Patriots. First of all, would Tebow be a distraction, like he was in New York? As training camp progressed this question was quickly answered. Tebow would not be a disruption, particularly because there is no quarterback controversy in New England—unlike last summer in New York where most thought he had a chance to supplant Mark Sanchez for the starting gig. Therefore, incessant coverage on Tebow never established as there was no need to discuss Tebow relentlessly— as hard as that may be to believe.
Of course, the murder conviction of former tight Aaron Hernandez, who was subsequently released by the team after being charged with an appalling crime, clouded the ears of the media.
The second and most interesting question that popped into the heads of the football minds in America is would Tebow actually make the Patriots’ 53-man-roster?
Bill Belichick all but confirmed that Tebow will earn one of the coveted 53 spots on the roster in an interview on sports radio WEEI yesterday.
On the “Salk and Holley” program of WEEI, Belichick explained how Tebow was the first running quarterback the team has had since Matt Cassel held the role of backup quarterback from 2005-2008. Belichick depicted how he would never waste time on a player that does not help the team. Belichick said:
“The decisions that you make are important there; you don’t want to waste a lot of time on something that doesn’t benefit you. At the same time, 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.”
He asserted that Tebow possesses skills as a backup that other second-string gun signal callers simply don’t have. Belichick said:
“I think we’re hopefully flexible enough offensively to try to take advantage of whoever we have in the game. Tim is certainly a good runner, so when he’s in there, we’ll probably let him carry the ball a few times.”
“Tim has had a lot of experience making those decisions — whether to give the ball to the back or keep it, or pitch it, all those kinds of things. It’s not really like we’re trying to teach him those things. He’s done it a lot. He has to refine the timing and so forth, but it creates just another thing to put pressure on the defense.”
Given the endorsement of Belichick, Tebow appears prime to suit up as a member of the Patriots for a regular season contest come September. Based on Belichick’s comments, it appears that Tebow will not be used as tight end or as a halfback as some have speculated. Tebow will be the third string quarterback that will be used in situational circumstances near the goal line. At the very least, Tebow will be the emergency quarterback for the Patriots that opposing teams will have to devote some of their time game-planning for during the week. Regardless, when the calendar hits September Tebow will be on an active roster—to the surprise of many around the league.