The Patriots Signed Who?

Enough friends who know me as a Pats fan have asked, so I may as well elaborate my completely inexperienced opinion and valueless predictions regarding the Patriots recent signing of Tim Tebow.

Some Perspective

First, let’s backtracks a bit. I’m not a huge Tebow fan. I don’t have some ardent, Gator chauvinism that blindly asserts “but he still wins games!” (You know who you are.) His passing consistency would be on par if all the other quarterbacks in the league had to throw through tornados to get to their wide receivers.

That said: in a season where the team went 1-4 before they started him, he led his team into the playoffs. He’s been lauded, and praised, and kicked around, and lauded and praised, and beat up some more. And that was while he was still at Denver.

The only surprise to come from his time with the Jets was that they didn’t ruin him. The signing and subsequent failure of Mark Sanchez, plus the 38 QB’s they signed this offseason are a clear indictment of the Jets’ cluelessness with the position. They could have stuck Tebow out on some (more) really dumb plays just to watch him get pounded by a safety or make him block a nose tackle. But they didn’t. The owner insisted on getting someone who would sell jerseys, and the coaches never wanted him. So he didn’t play. He was signed by the one team that wanted him less than John Elway at Denver.

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The bigger surprise is that Jacksonville didn’t pick him up. Everyone in Jacksonville (shy of that weird Batman villain that owns the team) just creams their Jesus-lovin’ cutoffs over Tebow. Instead, the Jags are sticking by a quarterback who’s about to start his third straight season, and still no one’s ever heard of him.

Suddenly, an overhyped player with a lot of talent and a winning (if albeit limited) record is a tired, used-up dud. He can’t even get an interview in Canada.

Then the Patriots signed him. Huh?

So what now?

He’s a good athlete with a lot of raw potential to be a QB, but he needs a good team of coaches to hone him into something besides raw potential. Pass in the pocket first, run second. Otherwise, he’s just a goofy running back who can’t run up the middle and can probably throw better than my mom for three quarters and as well some quarterbacks for one. In short, he needs to go to where he’s 1) wanted and 2) treated as potential investment property, which requires investing some time and smarts into him.

Let’s look at it another way. Any team without a strong QB would start him, and then eek into the playoffs as a wildcard, if they’re lucky. Any team with a strong QB would have a strong offensive staff (which the Broncos don’t have/want.) Who does? New Orleans. Green Bay. Maybe San Francisco. And… New England? Given their offensive adaptability and record over the last decade, I’d say so.

But they have Tom Brady. Yes, and, while I’ll save this for another post, Tom Brady isn’t as great as people say he is. I know – he’s awesome. I love him. I’m glad he plays for my Pats. But he’s grossly overrated. More on that in another post. Back to the point.

Who’s to say Tom Brady will last another five years? Belichick will trade your ass while you still have another season or two (or 10) left in you. Ask Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel or any Pats receiver. Hell, Lawyer Malloy was their star linebacker on their first Super Bowl team, and that game was the last he saw a Patriots locker room.

So Brady’s future, while not an immediate threat, is closer to the horizon than not. And if there’s any team that will take on a project, it’s the Patriots (e.g. Wes Welker, Randy Moss, Aquib Talib.) Something a lot of people fail to notice is how many times the Patriots sign someone (especially a rookie) who never really plays his first year. He goes to Patriots school. He sees the field for the first time in his second year, and a lot of time, he kicks some ass.

There’s a very good chance you’ll see Tebow wearing a headset this year. With no one picking him up, the Pats likely got a discount (or at least paid closer to real value than what he was going for.) Worst case, they plug him in at QB once or twice, bounce his value up, and while Brady’s still healthy, sell him off ala Matt Cassel and Brian Hoyer. Or he works out, and they sell Brady for a tasty sum. That’s how Brady got his job in the first place.
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