Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been his usual coy self when it comes to how he'll use recently signed Tim Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner and Broncos first-round pick who saw his NFL career come to a grinding halt with the Jetslast year.
"I think that we'll use Tim wherever we feel like he's best for the team," Belichick said last week, "and I know that's what he's committed to doing as well. Whatever that is."
Theories on just what that means have been some variation of "There's no way Tebow will play quarterback in New England, but it's certainly reasonable to think that his 6-3, 235-pound frame would work as an H-back/tight end/wildcat specialist -- you know, all the things the Jets promised to do with him but never did."
We've written previously why Tim Tebow, NFL tight end would be a horrible idea, primarily because playing the position is, to quote Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, "a mindset."
Well, rest easy those of you who think Tebow's best suited to play quarterback. According to the Boston Globe's Ben Volin, "Ninety-nine percent of Tebow's activity during his time with the Patriots has been spent learning to play quarterback in the team's system. He has only spent time in the quarterback meeting room, he wears a red non-contact jersey on the field and he runs the third-team offense during team drills."
Confusion arises because Tebow spends a few minutes each practice with the skill-position players catching passes. But as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels explained Monday, Tebow takes part in the drill because he has the potential, as a scrambling quarterback, to be a ball carrier.
“He's just practicing his open-field running,” McDaniels said. “Matt Cassel and (Doug) Flutie and some of those other guys I've had a chance to coach, I think we did the same types of things with them. And again we know Tim has a skill set that some of these other guys don't possess in terms of his ability to run with it, scramble with it when he has it in his hands.
“I know the defensive guys enjoy the challenge of trying to get him to the ground, but I think it's good for everybody. It's a normal procedure we go through in training camp.”
Mystery solved. Tebow is a quarterback. And, from early camp reports, not much different than the one we saw in New York -- sloppy footwork, passes batted at the line of scrimmage, poor decision-making, holding the ball too long, etc. But unlike Rex Ryan, we're guessing Belichick will find a way to get the most out of him.