Wednesday, June 12, 2013


On June 11, 2013 Tim Tebow's 40 44 days in the desert off of an NFL roster finally ended when the New England Patriots signed him to their 90-man roster. What does this all mean, other than the internet exploding from all of the Tebow coverage? Well, let's answer a series of questions below from "M.K. in R.I." to try to cover it all.

Why did Tim Tebow choose the Patriots? 
Simple, he didn't have any other options. Fair or not, teams shied away from Tebow. His supporters decry this, as Tebow a) took his team to the 2011/2012 playoffs and b) won a playoff game, which is actually more than Peyton Manning can say right now (zing!) Of course that's a gross oversimplification and the fact that the Broncos were so eager to move on from Tebow should speak volumes.

The fact of the matter is Tebow is a below-average NFL quarterback with fundamental accuracy issues. He cannot run a traditional NFL offense (and before you say it, RG3 and Colin Kaepernick CAN run traditional NFL offenses), and he has a fairly large and very vocal band of supporters who will clamor for him as loudly and annoyingly as possible.

This turned off many teams.

Okay, so why didn't it turn off the Patriots? 
Have you noticed how the Patriots do things under Bill Belichick? Belichick takes perverse pleasure in giving the media nothing. His press conference yesterday was 9 minutes long, and featured a whole bunch of non-answers. Today, much of the national media who showed up yesterday was gone. It simply doesn't make sense to fly people to Foxborough to cover the Tebow addition if you can't get anything resembling a decent sound byte from anyone. Remember, this is the team that suspended Wes Welker for a couple of series of a playoff game because he subtly and indirectly made fun of the Rex Ryan foot fetish video in a press conference earlier that week. Right or wrong, the Patriots are the best team in the NFL in controlling the message.

So why make the move from a football perspective? 
The reports suggested the move was to bring in Tebow as the #3 quarterback as well as try him out at tight end.

Maybe that's the truth, but I don't buy the tight end part. If there's one position where this team is stacked, it's tight end. Yes, Gronkowski is hurt, but current reports indicate he should be ready for the season. They still have Aaron Hernandez, they have Jake Ballard who had a good 2011 before missing all of last year with a knee injury. They have the bane of broadcasters everywhere, Michael Hoomanawanui, who's a good blocking tight end. And they have Daniel Fells, who has played in 58 NFL games on the roster.

And you're going to tell me that Tim Tebow, who has only played quarterback, who isn't particularly fast, and who has never been asked to block before, is going to give the Patriots something at tight end? No. It's not happening.

So why is he here?
The Patriots are looking to see he has any upside as a backup quarterback, and whether or not he can push current backup Ryan Mallett. Remember, current Patriots OC Josh McDaniels traded up and used a 1st round pick on Tim Tebow when he was in charge in Denver, so he's probably the biggest supporter of Tim Tebow's in the NFL. There may be some hubris involved (sure, no one else could get much out of him, but I can), but it doesn't cost the Patriots anything to give it a try (Tebow's contract reportedly has no guaranteed money in it, so the Patriots can cut him anytime with no salary cap or money issues).

a) Tim Tebow shows enough promise to be Tom Brady's backup, meaning the Patriots can try and trade Ryan Mallett for draft pick(s)
b) Tim Tebow's existence pushes Mallett to be even better to hold off Tebow's challenge, improving the New England backup quarterback position
c) Tebow doesn't show enough to do either (a) or (b), and the Patriots cut him for no cost

Wait, what about using him as a change up QB or running the read option like those other quarterbacks did last year?
The read option was so dangerous when RG3, Russell Wilson, or Colin Kaepernick ran it last season because all 3 of those players are great passers AND great runners. Without the very real threat of the pass, teams can shut down the read option without too much trouble.

In fact, the read option without the threat of the throw is essentially the wildcat, which the Miami Dolphins used to take the league by surprise in 2008 but had all but died out by last season. Essentially, the wildcat is the read option with a running back taking the snap.

Can Tebow work in a change-up package that utilizes his running skills? Sure. It's what the Jets said they were going to do last year. Here's the problem: taking Mark Sanchez off of the field for a change up package makes sense. Taking Tom Brady off of the field if you're trying to score points? Never makes sense. Brady's too good of a quarterback. Taking him off of the field (or taking the ball out of his hands) helps the other team. They'd much rather have to deal with the Tebow package then try to stop Brady. The Patriots know this, so they're not going to mess around with their offense at all.

So is this a McDaniels move or a Belichick move?
This is a theory I heard on local sports radio the other day: that this signing shows how much faith the Patriots braintrust has in Josh McDaniels and perhaps shows the power he wields in the organization.

That's ridiculous. Nothing happens without Belichick's blessing. The guy's made 5 Super Bowls in 13 seasons! He won 3 of them in a 4-year span! I don't care that the last win was in 2004/2005, Belichick is essentially here until he doesn't want to be anymore. Maybe Belichick trusts Josh and was convinced to try it, but Belichick absolutely is 100% on-board with the move.

Okay, so what's the end result? 
Normally with a project like Tebow at the quarterback position, a team would stash him on its practice squad and have their coaches work on developing the rougher aspects of his game. Tebow has been on the active roster for too many games for that to be an option, so he would have to be carried on their 53-man roster to stick with the Patriots for the season.

It says here that won't happen. Tebow isn't going to make substantial enough strides in 3 months to convince the Patriots to part with Ryan Mallett as the backup. And the Patriots value their roster spots too highly to carry 3 quarterbacks when one is Tom Brady and another is still young enough to be improving. The only way Tebow sticks around is if he shows some sort of versatility to make himself more valuable to the Patriots. I just don't see where that position is.
Tight end? Nope, see above.
Wide receiver? No, neither his speed nor his hands are up to snuff.
Running back? No, he's not a unique runner, he's a unique runner for a quarterback, big difference.
Fullback? This is his best shot, but I still don't see it. Can he even block? And Belichick won't necessarily even carry a fullback.
Linebacker? No, too slow and when's the last time he even tried to tackle someone?

So in the end, the Patriots will kick the tires, but Tebow will not be on the opening day roster of the New England Patriots, unless either Tom Brady or Ryan Mallett get injured.

Okay, thanks for the info. By the way, who did New England cut to make way for Tebow?
Former Eagles quarterback Mike Kafka. Which means my dream is alive.

See, that's pretty close to my name. Better yet, when I played sports in college, early on I was given the nickname "Kafka" which has stuck ever since. So getting a Seahawks jersey with Kafka on the back is very much a dream of mine. Problem is, there are only two ways for this to happen:
1) Order a customized jersey and put Kafka on it. This is not going to happen. I don't play for the Seahawks, so my name doesn't get to go on the jersey. That's the rule. It is non-negotiable.
2) Have the Seahawks sign Kafka, then order a jersey. Even if I have to order a customized one, in this case it is legit.

So, as I said above, my dream for a Kafka jersey is alive. ALIVE!!!! What's that?

Jacksonville Jaguars: Destroyers of dreams (and not just those of their fans)

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