posted at 9/3/2013 3:13 PM EDT
This team has perfected the art of stashing players away (wink) until November. This trend started as long ago as Junior Seau, who as a starter was suddenly there in November for BB. I keep seeing these stashes every year with New England, players who have practiced with the Patriots and are ready to go. The M.O. always has an established player in for camp, then he's cut, then he sits at home until callup. Tebow, being a player that nobody else in the NFL or CFL wants, is a good candidate.
When the weather turns cold, passing isn't quite as important and running takes over on the windiest, coldest, snowiest days. That's closer to Tebow Time, not 70 degrees, sunny and 3 mph winds.
I always thought of Tebow as a fourth round draft pick, maybe ok, maybe not, even when he went in the first round, and I still see him as a fourth rounder. He'll never make it as a pure quarterback, he's a tweener only. BB loves tweeners. Everybody else hates them.
The tea leaves have nothing but praise for Tebow. Bob Kraft is gushing about the guy on CBS with Charlie Rose this week. This is after Tebow has been cut. I sniff a call-up, maybe in November.
BB and staff must ask the basic question, if I put this guy on the active roster this week, how much will Tim Tebow help me win this particular game? We'll split this question into two categories: if Tom Brady is around, and if Tom Brady has busted his buns.
If Brady is slinging, Tebow's role is simply that he's a curve ball, a wildcat or read-option play to be used twice a game, to put the defense back on its heels, to make Brady's fastball that much more potent. Also, Tebow can mop up a big win with running plays when everybody in the stadium expects a run, saving Brady's valuable body for next week. In addition, if Tebow is available and occasionally running, each opponent needs to prepare for the Tebow running play tree. In that respect, Tim Tebow could be activated every second week and still help BB win those particular games when he's sitting on the bench, if only by just a tiny bit.
If Brady is out and Mallett is slinging, the dropoff between Mallett and Tebow is noticably less than between Brady and Tebow. Mallett can't run a lick. Put Tebow's read-option into the game on most of the obvious running plays and then put Mallett right back in on first and 10. Again, Mallett doesn't get pounded as much per game, and he's the last pure quarterback that BB has other than JAGs. Tebow the running back gets a blow after every one or two plays, and Tebow is just as good as Mallett whenever people are expecting a run. Again, Tebow drives defenses nuts and gets them on their heels with his sudden change-of-pace plays in the middle of the game, which makes Mallett's passing look better.
So when does Tebow get picked up? Who knows. BB probably wants to pick up one more slightly promising rookie player this week while the rookies are hot. Bringing Tebow back for week 2 is a far outside chance, if perhaps two Patriots should go on injured reserve after week 1. Tebow would just love to play the Jets.
Realistically, the first two games are gimmes. Tebow could be more useful at winning games in weeks 4 through 6, against quality opponents. Then comes PUP time in week 7, so that's an unlikely call-up period. Armstead needs to come back. After that, just wait for someone to head for Injured Reserve and then there's a slot for Tebow.