Jun 12, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterbacks Tim Tebow (left) , Tom Brady (center) and Ryan Mallett (right) during minicamp at the practice fields of Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Did New England Patriots Tim Tebow’s Quarterback Dreams Get A Boost From The Aaron Hernandez Nightmare?

New England Patriots Quarterback Tim Tebow May Become The Silver Lining In The Wake Of The Aaron Hernandez Tragedy.

The New England Patriots quarterback competition during the off-season is always about who will secure the back up spot. For more than a decade, Tom Brady has been without question the only consideration for the starting quarterback roster spot. That hasn’t changed during this off-season, and barring a career ending injury, apparently this  won’t be the case for at least another five years according to Brady. Tom Terrific recently mentioned that he has plans to play past his 40th birthday.

Tom Brady’s commitment to excellence and burning desire to compete for as long as possible all but ensures Ryan Mallett’s exit from New England before the start of the 2014 season. Ryan Mallett dropped out of the first round in the 2011 draft due to questions about his maturity.  Mallett, the strong armed pocket passer, started his college career at Tom Brady’s alma mater, but transferred to Arkansas when the misguided Rich Rodriguez defied Wolverine tradition and implemented his spread offense in Ann Arbor.

In Arkansas, Mallett got arrested after having a bit too much alcohol, and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.  In spite of showing off his tremendous talent as a Razorback, questions remained about Mallett’s maturity.  The new collective bargaining agreement was still not finalized, so the price for a top 5 pick in the draft was enormous, and apparently the risk was as well as all 32 teams passed on Mallet in the first round.  In fact, New England waited until the third round to draft Ryan Mallett.

After beating out Brian Hoyer for the second string quarterback position, Mallett has been watching and learning from the sidelines, waiting for an opportunity.  The opportunity for Mallett to earn the starting job in New England is very unlikely.  Given Brady’s competitive flame, his exceptional ability to make pre-snap adjustments, the continuity of his outstanding offensive line, and the rule changes that protect the quarterback, Ryan Mallett is very unlikely to take the torch from Brady to become the next franchise quarterback in New England.

Mallett has had very limited chances to show off his talent and to expose the wisdom and leadership he’s probably developed under the tutelage of both Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.  Yet given his stature, his very impressive  arm strength, and the probable strong endorsement of  Coach Belichick to potential suitors, it’s very possible and probable that in this ever-increasing quarterback driven league, New England could secure a first round draft pick for Ryan Mallett.

In the 2014 off-season, given it would be Mallett’s last year of his rookie contract, a trade is almost a certainty.  He is not getting on the field as long as Brady is around, and the Patriots certainly won’t have him hold a clip board in his final season only to watch him become a free agent.

 

Does Tim Tebow Win The Backup Quarterback Roster Spot?

Given the premise that Ryan Mallett is not going to wear a Patriot uniform after this season, does it make sense to trade him this year and have Tim Tebow back up Tom Brady at quarterback?

The impulsive answer is ‘No Way!’.  Most analysts, in spite of winning in Denver, have stated Tim Tebow is not an NFL caliber quarterback.  Bill Belichick is an innovator and makes personnel decisions as objectively as anyone who’s ever been a head coach in the NFL.  However, he would never compromise what’s best for the team by having a player incapable of giving the team a legitimate chance to win on the roster.

So is it conceivable that Tim Tebow gives the New England Patriots a better chance to win over Ryan Mallett, assuming Tom Brady gets injured?

The answer with Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker on the team is an overwhelming ‘No!’.  However, the Patriots, even with Tom Brady, are going to have to rely more heavily on the run game due to the off-season losses of both Welker and Hernandez, the answer to that question needs to be completely reconsidered.

First of all, Tebow has much more NFL experience than Mallet.  He started several games in Denver, rallying them to a playoff win before getting ousted by New England.  Secondly, unless rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce do what no rookie Patriots wide receivers have done in recent memory, the Patriots are not going to have a strong middle or deep passing game this season.  They will still excel at their short passing game and screen passing game with Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman.  Also, its probable that superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski  will start the season on the PUP list due to his arm and back surgeries this off-season, further limiting the New England passing attack.

Objectively analyzing the odds, many scenarios point to Tim Tebow’s grit, leadership, and running ability to fit better with this years personnel should the back up quarterback be called upon to take this team to the playoffs.   If Bill Belichick can find a team to part with at least a first round pick for Ryan Mallett, do not be surprised to see Tim Tebow taking ownership of the back up role this year.  If Aaron Hernandez were still with the team, the likelihood of this scenario would be greatly reduced.  Hernadez’s versatility to split out wide, combined with the versatility we should see from Shane Vereen, and the possible emergence of a deep threat from one of the two rookie wide receiver draft picks, would have tipped the scale to believe the passing game would remain the main stay of the offense and thus keeping Mallett would give the Patriots the best chance to win should Brady go down.  However, with Hernandez out for sure, the odds seem to favor Tebow being the better back up option, and thus Tim Tebow’s dream of being an NFL quarterback could be more likely to come true due to the horrific Aaron Hernandez tragedy.

 

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  • Tim Dillon

    Well written, but I disagree. Brady say’s he’ll keep playing into his 40′s but I think once his current deal is up, age will have set in and he’ll be content to retire (you know…after he’s already picked up another 2 rings haha). That being said, I believe Mallett is the future of the franchise post-Brady. Letting him go would be a mistake unless they are positive Brady will play past his current contract, which is never a guarantee with a player in his 40′s. Regardless of Hernandez’s presence or not, Mallett has a cannon and his experience learning from Brady and Belichick are invaluable. I’d trust him if Brady were to go down, not Tebow

    • Gary Wolff

      Well, if they are willing to pay Mallett a second contract, then I would agree with you. But Mallett, as a free agent, would probably demand a fat contract, too fat for a back-up. I don’t think he’d want to stay in NE either… He’s going to want to play some ball. So I don’t see how we are able to keep him. So my thinking is if we can get a first rounder for him this year, it might be a worthy risk since Tebow’s experience and leadership might fit a run centric and short passing centric attack that we are probably faced with this season.
      However, Brady won’t get hurt and at least 1 of the 2 rookie wide-outs will do great, and Vereen will add enough versatility to create mismatches, so it won’t matter who the back up is!!

      • Celia Westbrook

        Great insight from everyone, but I have to disagree with “won’t matter who the back up is”. I learned the hard way to never say never, mainly when it comes to football. Of course, we wish all our players to remain healthy until the we hold the Lombardi, but football is not fair or certain – it all boils down to which team has the least amount of injuries. The QB’s roster must stay the way it is for this year. If Tebow can show progress, he should be a working-project for this year and be analyzed to see if he’s worthy of becoming a 2nd string QB. Mallett certainly won’t wait for TB contract to run out or some “miraculous” opportunity to become the starter, and I see the Pats trading him next year. But for this year, Tebow has not proved anything in the Patriots system and it would be a very bad idea to trade Mallett and have Tebow as TB main back up.

        • Gary Wolff

          Celia, I agree, it does matter… was just throwing that out there in ‘optimistic fan mode’ since ‘Brady wont get hurt’…. In 9 of 10 scenarios, I agree Mallett is the better option for the Patriots. And if the Patriots could retain Mallett, my story would be a complete farce… However, since they will lose him next year anyway, it occurred to me that in a pinch this year, with a diminished mid to long range passing game and a focus on the run game, and given Tebow’s experience and leadership, he might be a better back up option this season than Mallett… a first time starter with a diminished receiving corps…. so its a the 1 of 10 scenarios that could unfold this year… And again, if Mallett wasn’t definitely out the door next year, then of course we wouldn’t get rid of him this year, and Tebow would at best be an H back or a special teams player. But as he did in Denver, he can win on a very run centric team, which the Patriots will be if Brady gets hurt due to their lack of proven receivers…. Brady can win with any receiving corps… Mallett, with no experience, would need Welker and Hernandez and Gronk to excel… without those guys, they are better off with Tebow throwing screens and running the read option

          • Celia Westbrook

            Yeah, I guess I took it too “seriously”, Gary! Interesting point.

  • http://sbpra.com/paulvsuffriti Paul V. Suffriti

    While I would like to see Mallett take over as the Pats QB in the near future, Brady is in control of the offense as long as he performs at a high level and can win games. Timing is everything and Mallett is on an elite team at the wrong time. History would have to repeat itself (when Brady took the reigns) for Mallett to be the next franchise QB. The Pats would trade him in a heartbeat for a second round pick.

    • Gary Wolff

      I agree… I definitely don’t want to see Brady get creamed like Bledsoe and be replaced as a result, but that is what it will take for Mallett to remain on the Patriots.
      Timing sux, because my gut tells me Mallett is going to be a top tier QB in the NFL — He’s had a couple years to mature and learn from the BEST and could be very similar to Flacco in his abilities..