Tim Tebow didn’t look like a new and improved quarterback during the NFL preseason game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, but several scouts, analysts and reporters murmured that he’s impressing New England’s coaching staff and he has a good shot to replace Ryan Mallett as the primary backup to Tom Brady this year.
Now Mallett is the textbook definition of a prototype quarterback. He’s big, strong and has a cannon for a right arm — all the passing records he set at Arkansas prove that. So why are the Patriots so high on a player that no team wanted after his release from the New York Jets?
It’s definitely not the publicity; unlike the Jets, the Pats don’t like drama, so they didn’t bring Tebow in to sell tickets or team gear. And Tebow definitely isn’t a better passer than Mallett; his passes against the Eagles were as wobbly and off-target as ever. But he has the versatility the Patriots covet in quirky players that fill their roster each season.
Tebow may not bump Mallett on the depth chart, but he’ll play this year in certain situations and probably on special teams. What he’s done in practice has obviously turned someone’s head in a positive way or these rumors wouldn’t be floating around.
Here’s the bottom line: don’t count Tebow out. Because as soon as you do, he’ll make you pay for it. The Patriots apparently believe that, so you should too.