Part 1: Tebow's Connections
This move is not very surprising when you consider the following factors:
1. Bill Belichick and Urban Meyer are best friends. Meyer considers Tim Tebow like a son.
2. Josh McDaniels, the OC, picked Tebow in the first round after falling in love with him as a QB. Now he has the chance to vindicate himself.
3. The Patriots have plenty of film on Tebow: They beat him twice in his year with the Broncos and had nothing but positive things to say. They prepared for him after he joined the division rival Jets. BTW, that Jets connection may be part of the motivation - Belichick would love nothing more than to turn Tebow into another Danny Woodhead.
Part 2: Tebow's Baggage
Needless to say, Tebow brings baggage in the form of excessive media attention, rabid hordes of fans calling for him to play, and an obsession with his outspoken religious stance. Let's deal with these three in turn...
1. Excessive Media Attention: On both the Broncos and the Jets, Tebow got a bad rap for bringing a media circus. It's not really Tim's fault - any article name-dropping Tebow gets flooded on the Internetz. I mean, which other 3rd-string player signed to a camp contract gets top SportsCenter coverage and multiple articles on ESPN within minutes? However, the Patriots do things differently. We'll never see him at a press conference. He'll keep his comments completely dry and boring. His teammates will NEVER say negative things anonymously (coughJetscough). This is the perfect environment. Not to mention, Boston's media is not as obnoxious as NYC's. I used to hate Cimini's Tebow coverage but I have nothing but respect for people like Christopher Price or Mike Reiss.
2. The Fans: Sure, the preseason games will probably have high attendance thanks to the Tebow effect, every practice will be mobbed by Tebowites, and jersey sales will go up. But aren't those positive things? If at the end, we never play Tebow or waive him before Week 1, big whooping do. The Patriots will be laughing all the way to the bank thanks to all that money. Tebow is a revenue stream. As for the rabid ones who will call for Tebow to start over Brady - that furor will be a lot less than it was with Sanchez. Here in New England, people will be looking for him to play - not to start. And I think if he makes the 53, he'll be contributing in some manner. McDaniels is too smart not to find a way to get him on the field.
3. Please. Tebow is a high-character man who does tons of community work, says all the right things, and acts as a role-model. He'll fit right into the Patriots culture which is based around All-American players like Brady, Wilfork, McCourty, Mayo, Slater. Sure, the Patriots have their more colorful characters - Spikes, Talib, maybe even Gronk - but Tebow fits with the team's ethos.
Part 3: Tebow's Skills
I'm going to stick my neck out and say I do think Tebow can be a quarterback. With a QB guru like McDaniels and learning under a HOFer like Brady, Tebow could grow incredibly. The Jets asked him to bulk up and essentially retarded his growth. But after getting waived, he spent his entire offseason working with Testaverde, Weinke, and other QB coaches to improve. All of them have gone on record saying they think he can be an effective backup QB at this point. I have no doubt the Patriots can find a spot for a relatively fast, strong, smart player who is a proven winner.
Part 4: Tebow's Fit
People are going to project everything for him - a Wildcat QB or goal-line option, a FB, a TE, a Joker player like Hernandez - I'm going to simply say this: the Patriots now have a player who can emulate guys like Colin Kaepernick, EJ Manuel, and RG III. I'm NOT saying Tebow is as good as the players just mentioned. I'm saying he's a great practice QB for the defense.
Part 5: Tebow's Future
I honestly think that Tebow could one day end up as Brady's heir or at least a backup for the remainder of Brady's career. We might turn him into a trade piece for the Jaguars in a couple years. Who knows? But the Patriots can resurrect his career and Tebow can prove to the world he belongs on an NFL roster. I see him as a Swiss Army Knife type player. Hernandez is a TE/WR/RB. Tebow is a TE/QB/RB hybrid. Different skillset, both dangerous and versatile.
Can't wait for this headline: "Jets bench Sanchez, start Smith; Te-Blown away 34-10"