FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The de facto catch phrase for Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow: "All he does is win games."
Well, there were no games to win on the practice field at Gillette Stadium on Friday as the Patriots opened training camp.
So, what did Tebow do instead?
For starters, he was clearly the third quarterback on the depth chart behind Ryan Mallett.
Tebow's footwork was sloppy. He threw passes into coverage, he had passes batted at the line of scrimmage, and he held onto the ball too long and scrambled at least twice in drills, being forced to scramble.
He was even victimized on one of the two highlights of the day, when defensive end Chandler Jones, who had dropped into coverage on the play, intercepted a pass from Tebow intended for running back George Winn.
On the day, Tebow went 6-of-10 in 11-on-11 drills and had two passes intercepted, the second of those being delivered right into the bread basket of safety Nate Ebner.
As a passer, Tebow has a long way to go, but that was far from the biggest Tebow storyline of the day.
Tebow caught passes in drills. It was a non-contact drill, and Tebow didn't actually line up at receiver in the drill — only standing next to the receivers as they ran patterns, and running a couple of patterns of his own.
"I'm just doing what I'm asked," Tebow said. "But so far I've been strictly in the QB room."
In time, Tebow could find himself sitting in other rooms if his performances at quarterback continue to look like it did today.
Some other noteworthy observations on the day:
- Wide receivers Kenbrell Thompkins, Mark Harrison and Julian Edelman, center Nick McDonald, defensive linemen Cory Grissom, tight end Rob Gronkowski and defensive linemen Armond Armstead were non-participants in practice. Safety Kanorris Davis left partway through practice and headed for the indoor bubble.
- Running back Leon Washington showed off his abilities as a kickoff returner, running hard through special teams drills. His burst and downhill style of running were both evident every time he touched the ball. The Patriots have ranked in the bottom half of the league in average kickoff return yards in each of the past three years, and could use a boost in that area.
- Wide receiver Danny Amendola made the highlight catch of 11-on-11 drills on a diving reception over cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. Chemistry between Amendola and quarterback Tom Brady appeared to be coming along, although there was one notable missed connection between them where Brady expected Amendola to run a route that would be a bit deeper than the one he ran.
- Wide receiver Kamar Aiken made his presence felt in practice, running with the first- and second-team offenses. He made a diving catch down the sideline on a well-thrown pass from Brady, drawing a big reaction from the crowd as he slid out-of-bounds.
- The starting secondary remained almost entirely in tact from last season: Aqib Talib was the primary No. 1 cornerback, and Alfonzo Dennard and Kyle Arrington shared time lined up outside and in the slot. Devin McCourty remained the team's free safety, but Adrian Wilson ran with the first-team defense at strong safety. Tavon Wilson, who started several games at safety last year and manned the "money" defensive back spot, got a few reps with the ones, but spent most of his time with the second-team defense.
- Ras-I Dowling rarely found himself on the wrong end of a reception (just two into his coverage), but overall, he looked good in sticking to his man in coverage.
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