Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Patriots Seem to Be Set on Tebow

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Patriots Seem to Be Set on Tebow

Article excerpt

It's true that the Patriots have only kept two quarterbacks on the roster in three of the past four seasons. And the two-year-old rule that eliminated the third quarterback designation and allows teams to keep 46 players active on game day certainly discourages teams from keeping a third quarterback.

But here's a news flash for anyone who thinks Tim Tebow is battling for a roster spot with the Patriots and may not make the team come September:

Tebow isn't going anywhere.

The Patriots would never say it, of course, but when they signed him in June he all but had a roster spot locked up barring some sort of catastrophe (of course, given the events of this summer, you can't rule out anything with the Patriots).

Keeping three quarterbacks used to be the norm until 2009, when Bill Belichick started going with just one backup for Tom Brady (although they kept three as recently as 2011)

The Patriots can cut Tebow before the regular season with no penalty, of course -- his two-year, minimum salary deal doesn't have any guaranteed money -- and he might end up being inactive most weeks, perhaps all 16 games.

But all logic points to Tebow staying a Patriot for at least 2013 season. Here's why:

He's not a "camp arm."

Every team has three quarterbacks in camp, and some teams have four, even if they only plan on keeping two for the regular season. That's because teams need "camp arms" -- guys who can work with the scout team receivers, take a majority of the snaps in the preseason games, and keep the starter's arm fresh during five grueling weeks of camp.

If the Patriots were interested only in having a "camp arm" as their third quarterback, they couldn't have made a worse choice than Tebow, whose biggest weakness is his pocket passing.

Tebow struggles in seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills, missing badly on throws and rarely getting the timing of the offense down right.

It's much harder to evaluate wide receivers when Tebow is throwing the ball.

He's a scrambler and an improviser -- a darn good one -- but when it comes to slinging the ball from the pocket, Tebow is not NFL caliber. At least not yet.

Mike Kafka, the No. 3 quarterback cut when Tebow was signed, would have made much more sense if the Patriots were only interested in a "camp arm."

Plus, the Patriots know what Tebow brings to the table -- offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels drafted him and spent a year with him in Denver, after all -- and they know better than anyone that Tebow is a long-term project.

Why bother signing him if you're only going to give him a month to prove himself? Instead, he likely will get an entire year.

"It's hard to gauge things at this point," McDaniels said Monday about evaluating a player like Tebow. "But I'm sure he'll listen and take the coaching the way he always has and try to work to get better every day."

He's useful. …

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