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There's only one plausible use for Tim Tebow

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  June 14, 2013 07:25 AM

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Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Robert Griffin III, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, and Ryan Tannehill can all be considered mobile quarterbacks. It just so happens that four of those quarterbacks represent 33 percent of the league's 2012 playoff teams. Two others (Newton, Tannehill) are on the Patriots schedule. And that's not including Geno Smith, whom the Jets apparently view as a Tebow replacement.

(Jets coach Rex Ryan said this week that Smith will work in Tebow's old role as a sub-package quarterback, drawing the ire of skeptics.)

A sub-package quarterback. Let the term sink in. It's the only role that is plausible for the 25-year-old quarterback. His blocking was obviously not up to snuff in New York and that diminishes his value at fullback or tight end. And there is no guarantee that he can compete with others who have played the positions throughout their football careers.

Instead, consider Tebow as an option for the Patriots to widen their offensive playbook. And yes, that means veer into the realm of the wildcat.

While its use has been practically forsaken in New England, thanks to the team's prolific no-huddle, it can be an added wrinkle for Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to tinker with. The hope, of course, is that Tebow can be coached up enough to continue to be a dual threat.

Using Tebow as a sub-package quarterback is the only rational scenario in which he can and should be used. Outside of that, the Patriots should sit him or cut him.

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So much confusion at WR

Colleague Ben Volin offered a fantastic overview in Thursday's Boston Globe on the Patriots wide receiver competition. Basically, Tom Brady is tossing the ball around to, as Volin phrased it, the "JV team." So many key players are rehabbing minor injuries.

But this provides a perfect opportunity to scrutinize where some players appear to land on the team's depth chart. We can compare, from previous practices at organized team activities, to now where players are expected to play and how they fall in order.

Here's what I suspect the Patriots have going so far:

X receiver (outside)
Aaron Dobson
Michael Jenkins
Josh Boyce
Kamar Aiken
Kenbrell Thompkins
Matthew Slater
Mark Harrison

Z receiver (slot)
Danny Amendola
Julian Edelman
Donald Jones
Lavelle Hawkins

Of course, there's no way the team keeps 11 receivers. Dobson and Joyce, the two draft picks, are safe from the chopping block, as is Amendola. But everyone else has to fight for their job. Through OTAs and minicamp, we've seen that Michael Jenkins has been a fast riser on the depth chart. His routes have looked crisp and he's had a minimal number of drops. Same for Kamar Aiken, whose speed is quite impressive. But good camps may not even ensure them a 53-man roster spot.

With the way things have shaped up, these are the players I expect to make the roster, based on the team keeping a maximum six receivers for the regular season.

X receiver (outside)
Aaron Dobson
Michael Jenkins
Josh Boyce

Z receiver (slot)
Danny Amendola
Julian Edelman
Donald Jones

I'm sure this projection will change as the team gets all of its players healthy and they put the pads on.

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Tweet of the week

In the absence of Brandon Spikes' prolific Twitter usage, new wide receiver Donald Jones seems to have taken his place.

'Tis true.

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Input this

Boston.com reader tfd311 comments on the blog:

Can the Globe (and all media personnel, for that matter) stop writing articles about a third string quarterback that will likely have less impact than your run-of-the-mill special teams player? I have no desire to laud or tear down a player who from what I can see will have at best a minor contribution to the Patriot's successes or failures, but until the media gets the message that they should no longer waste time/ink/bandwidth on this, I plan to keep posting this same response every time I see another article/story taking up space.

OK, I'll start. Right … now.

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What's next

- The Patriots are now off for the month with the conclusion of minicamp. The team won't return to Gillette Stadium until players report for training camp. Training camp isn't expected to start until the end of July, although the dates haven't been officially announced.

- However we do know training camp cut dates. The team will have trim its roster to 75 players Aug. 27 and down to the final 53 by Aug. 31.

- The Patriots open the season Sunday Sept. 8 in Buffalo. We're only 87 days away

Zuri Berry can be reached at zberry@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @zuriberry.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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