How do you approach this? How do you manage to cover your favorite team when they sign a polarizing figure like Tim Tebow? Do you let your fandom pour out? Do you play the cynic? Do you embrace the frenzy or shy away from it? It is my belief that the New England Patriots fans who read this blog and fans of other teams come here to get news, analysis, and opinion on the New England Patriots. They don’t come here for fan rants, they don’t come here to listen to cynical rants regarding a Boston sports team (there are enough of those), and they don’t come here for TMZ-style coverage (that’s what TMZ is there for). It is my belief that New England Patriots fans come here to listen to someone spit his honest take, try to answer the, “OK, now what?” question instead of ranting, and they are looking for someone who is going to write from a pragmatic perspective and not one that slams the team.
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When the Patriots make a controversial move, I like to wait a day. I like to throw out all that ranting and knee-jerk-reaction-type stuff out the door (or, at least as much as possible) with time to reflect. I’ve been critical of Tim Tebow more than once on his blog, but it is my job to look forwards and not backwards. I’m not a journalist, I don’t have sources, and I don’t pretend to be a great writer or a guy who knows a lot about football. But, since I embrace Belichickian philosophy, I “do my job” as a blogger to interact with fans and give you guys a practical take that sticks to football.
So, with that in mind, here is what I have to say about the Tebow signing and what it means going forward for the Patriots.
First off, Tim Tebow’s roster spot isn’t even close to being guaranteed; the Pats can release him without any penalties and just move on if they don’t like him. Secondly, Tebow is like on the back-end of the 53-man roster, and the Patriots aren’t going to expect much from him. He’s going to start off as the third-string quarterback, and he’ll probably end up as a Wildcat player. There is no sense in keeping him as the third-string QB, because it’s just a waste of space. Not only is he a subpar passer, but he’s also WAY worse than Tom Brady and not superior to Ryan Mallett, whom the Patriots are still very much high on.
So where does Tebow fit? All the early reports indicate that the Patriots are using him at quarterback and not tight end to start off camp, but that doesn’t mean that’s how things are going to end. It is my firm belief that the Patriots (and this, to me, is key in understand the Patriots mindset in making this deal) decided to sign Tebow for his versatility. They took a look at Mike Kafka as the third-string QB and probably said, “The guy’s solid, but what is he going to actually do for us as a football team? Is he going to play? Is he going to make us better?”
And the answer is, “no”. I love Mike Kafka. He’s smart (went to Northwestern), he’s accurate, and he seems like a great guy. But he’s a backup quarterback on a team that already has a backup quarterback that is viewed as capable by the team. The only way Kafka would help this team is if Tom Brady got injured and Ryan Mallett flat-out sucked. Not only is the combination of these two events highly unlikely, but the Pats season would be in dire straits with those two events. In that case, then why not play Tebow?
Sure, he has no accuracy. Sure, his throwing motion is still awkward no matter how much practice he and Chris Weinke have had. But still, how does it hurt to sign him? Listen, it is true that it is hard to find a place for Tebow on the roster, but I actually think he brings more to the table as a member of the roster than Kafka. Again, I love Kafka and think he is a solid backup, but Belichick and the Patriots want to get the most out of their players, especially when it comes to versatility. If Tebow is willing to embrace it, he can be a versatile player who can keep defenses off guard and show well with his hard running style. If he isn’t willing to embrace it, he’s a goner.
And by the way, that whole thing about the “circus” is BS, and I think most Patriots fans know this. Listen, the Pats traded for Randy Moss, they signed Albert Haynesworth, and they have the biggest party-head in the league in Rob Gronkowski. Hell, they signed Chad Johnson once. They don’t care. You aren’t going to be a distraction in New England because of the way Bill Belichick plays things.
Think about it this way, Tebow isn’t a thug. He doesn’t abuse women, he doesn’t get into bar fights, and he doesn’t get DUIs. Why is he a distraction? Because of the media frenzy. The New England Patriots are the last team that will have a media frenzy, and you know that Belichick is going to turn down ridiculous junk about Tebow easily.
The Pats have basically no financial obligations with Tebow, because he has no guaranteed money. None. If he sucks in camp or if they can’t find a use for him (or if he doesn’t want to play another position besides QB), then he’s gone. Alright? There is like no risk here for the Patriots. While it will be difficult for the Pats to find a role for him in the offense, it’s freaking Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels; they can work something out. There are rewards to signing Tebow, and the risks are very low. He’s not playing under center, he’s not taking snaps away from Brady, and he’s just here to be another wrinkle in an advanced, ever-growing offense.
I mean, you do want the Patriots to stay on the cutting-edge, right? We’re talking about the roster spot of a third-string quarterback. We’re talking about a guy who is making no guaranteed money. And yet, it’s a big deal and a cause of contention because his name is “Tim Tebow”. Let’s all calm down, relax, and realize that this was actually a very minor signing when you look at his spot on the roster and the financial implications. The whole “circus” angle is overblown, and Belichick showed it by signing up Tebow.