This should come as a surprise to absolutely no one: Tim Tebow is not a conventional NFL quarterback. Which means that, in general, he'll struggle in conventional NFL offenses. It's why he didn't last in Denver, even after helping the Broncos to a division title and a playoff win. It's why he was buried on the Jets' depth chart behind sad-sack Mark Sanzhez. And it's why he'll never see the field in New England save a rash of unforeseen injuries or a major shift in the Pats' offensive philosophy.
There is the possibility, however, that coach Bill Belichick uses Tebow in the way Rex Ryan promised but never followed through -- a change-of-pace, run-first read-option/wildcat specialist. Presumably, this was the career arc Josh McDaniels had in mind for Tebow when he drafted him in the first round back in 2010. McDaniels, the Broncos head coach at the time, is now the Patriots' offensive coordinator.
Last week, in Week 1 preseason mop-up duty against the Eagles, Tebow looked a lot like the quarterback who has always struggled with simple passing concepts. Put another way: If Belichick truly is committed to Tebow, NFL quarterback, the Patriots will need two offenses. One for Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett, and another for the former Heisman Trophy winner. Belichick discussed the logistical juggling act during a recent radio appearance on WEEI.
“It's something that you have to look at with time management,” Belichick said (via MassLive.com). “The decisions that you make are important there. You don't want to waste time on something that doesn't benefit you, but at the same time, you want to be prepared for, and take advantage of the players' skills that you have.
“I don't think it's uncommon. We've had those types of things in our offense before. This is a little bit different, but we're not trying to reinvent the game or anything. We're just trying to take advantage of a particular player's skill, and that's no different than something we would do with a tight end, or a receiver or running back who has a skill that we want to try to take advantage of.”
This isn't the first time Belichick has had to tweak the scheme based on who was under center. In 2008, when Brady was lost in Week 1 to a knee injury, the offense become more run-oriented because that's what quarterback Matt Cassel did best. He finished the season with 73 carries for 270 yards.
“ I think that we're hopefully flexible enough offensively to try to take advantage of whoever we have in the game,” Belichick said. “Tim is certainly a good runner, so when he's in there, we'll probably let him carry the ball a few times."
Still, none of this means that Tebow will be with the Pats when the regular season begins.
Belichick asked if he plans to keep Tebow on the 53 man roster. "That's not anything we're ready to talk about right now."— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 13, 2013