By Kenny Howell
Yeah, I am a few days late with this, but I thought I would give the circus a day or two to cool down.
I will admit upfront that I am a Patriots fan. I know, I know, I must be a disgusting human being. But I have always liked them. My eighth grade yearbook picture was taken in a Drew Bledsoe jersey. There wasn't a lot of those in the Nashville area at the time, so I was a rarity, and a bit of one today.
Since Tebow graduated from Florida, I have wanted him to be a Patriot. Being a University of Tennessee fan, I got to see the dude play four times in college, and he was a beast. He could throw in college, in fact he is the most efficient passer in SEC history. He is almost 20 points higher than Peyton Manning, with 88 TDs to just 15 INTs. Manning was 90 TDs to 33 INTs.
I am not saying Tim Tebow is Peyton Manning. It's not even close as far as being an NFL quarterback. But people are treating this guy like he is a little kid that won a contest to play in an NFL game when they talk about his quarterback ability. He does have the long throwing motion, and his footwork is crap, we know this.
But the dude can play football. And that is all Bill Belichick wants. Wes Welker was a kick returner before he came to New England, and he left a superstar. Tom Brady dropped all the way to the sixth round, and he is a Hall of Famer. Danny Woodhead is about the height of a 6th grader, but he contributes plenty to the New England offense. There are plenty of examples of undrafted free agents getting starting spots on the Patriots' roster and contributing.
Belichick is one of the few coaches in the last 10 years that embraces innovation and creativity, or bucking the trend. He will go for it on fourth when it makes no sense by traditional football thinking. The NFL has always been a league that says, no, you can't do that in the NFL, until someone comes in and does it. The read option would have been laughed at 10-15 years ago. Belichick had nothing to do with that, but those types of things, like the fast break offense the Patriots used from Oregon last season, take forever to get into the NFL.
So, here you have Tim Tebow. He's not quite a QB, FB, HB or TE, but he is also all of those things. Aaron Hernandez was not a RB, but he sure took some snaps last year deep in the backfield. Mike Vrabel was a terrific linebacker for the Patriots, but he also caught touchdown passes at tight end. So what's to stop Belichick from using Tebow in a similar fashion. Tebow lines up as a halfback, he could run the ball, be a decoy, take a pitch from Brady and throw it. Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels believes in his ability, he brought him to Denver with their first round pick, so you know he is licking his chops to install something. Who knows, maybe he wanted to do that in Denver eventually, but the Broncos brass wouldn't let him.
Belichick is also going to be able to squash the media circus around Tebow. He already has. His first day of OTAs, a reporter asked about Tebow, and he basically said, no, I am not going to talk about that, and it stopped. Tebow himself just made a canned statement and left. It's not going to be the media circus it was in New York because people are afraid of Belichick. Rex Ryan wants to invite you over for dinner. Belichick wants you to get off his lawn.
They are also saying that Tebow is just a quarterback on the roster. And that may be true, but you can't really trust anything you hear from Belichick and staff. Tom Brady has been on the injury list for several years now, so you aren't going to get much out of them.
It may not work. There may be a more pressing need for the Patriots, and they will have to let Tebow go. Because at this point he is luxury. He is an experiment. And if they Patriots are allowed to go with it, he is probably never going to be a superstar, but the legend of Tebow might grow again.