The receiving core is largely comprised of youngsters, including three rookies – Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins - who are going to be heavily counted on this season. The two most important veteran receivers – Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola – have durability concerns. Not to mention the fact that on the defensive side of the football, that precious roster spot could go towards providing depth, something that would certainly be valuable at any position.
The belief that Josh McDaniels has in Tim Tebow is well documented – as head coach of the Broncos, McDaniels traded three draft picks – second, third and fourth round selections - to take Tebow in the first round of the 2010 draft.
McDaniels stands as good a chance as anyone to be the next head coach of the New England Patriots, a title that is hopefully not relinquished for as long as possible by the man who currently possesses it.
The offensive coordinator’s belief that he can mold Tebow into a state of the art NFL quarterback, leads many to believe that he will be on the 53-man roster come opening day.
With that in mind, let’s examine how the former Heisman winner might be used.
It’s possible that the Patriots utilize Tebow in a wildcat package, with or without Tom Brady on the field. However, New England boasted the highest third down conversion percentage in the NFL this past season with a rating of 48 percent - via teamrankings.com. The team also ranked sixth in fourth down conversion percentage, gaining an extra set of downs 64 percent of the time – via teamrankings.com. Whether it is with his arm or diving forwards for the necessary one or two yards, Brady is highly successful in this area, meaning the wildcat’s primary benefit might simply be spelling Brady during a game, helping to pace him over the course of the season.
What about unleashing Tebow in the red zone? Again, there is no need. The Patriots have ranked number one in red zone touchdowns per game the past three seasons and have improved their success rate in the red zone each of those seasons – via teamrankings.com.
Lining up Tebow in the backfield or at tight end? Find me a tight end or running back on the roster – or in the league for that matter – whom Tebow is better than at their respective position.
Sure there is a chance that while remaining inactive this year, the coaching staff can fine tune Tebow’s mechanics and improve his decision-making. However, with the issues outlined at the top of this article, is reserving a spot for someone there is no intention of using until future seasons truly worth it?
If active on Sunday’s, opposing defenses have to prepare for Tebow to at least some degree. Given Tebow’s flaws and the fact that the team already has an elite quarterback under center, the dynamic that the polarizing QB brings is too much of a liability.
It certainly seems as if Tebow has the necessary backing to make the Patriots roster. But the team has more pressing needs and you have to believe that when number 12 hangs up his cleats, the team can do better than replacing him with the NFL’s Brian Scalabrine.