FOXBORO, Mass. — Tim Tebow hasn’t looked great at Patriots’ training camp so far, but the defense seems to like having him around.
Vince Wilfork praised the Patriots third-string quarterback on Monday ahead of the team’s season-ticket holder practice inside the game field at Gillette Stadium. He spoke specifically about Tebow’s mobility as a quarterback — something the Patriots’ other two quarterbacks don’t exactly excel at.
“I do [like practicing against him],” Wilfork said. “There might be some times this year that we have to face a quarterback like that.”
Last season, the Patriots were beat by the two mobile quarterbacks they faced in Seattle’s Russell Wilson and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick. Neither quarterback tore the Patriots’ defense up on the ground in their respective wins, but their elusiveness from pursuing linemen (three sacks between the two games) and ability to extend plays with their feet definitely tripped the Patriots up some.
Wilfork can already see the benefit in Tebow’s presence and believes that he’ll help the defense prepare for similar style quarterbacks this season.
“He brings a whole different aspect to the game for us, being able to play against a guy who can run that type of offense is a plus for this team,” Wilfork added. “[It's] not just Tim being here, but it’s a plus for this defense because we have to be able to stop some teams that come out and do that to us. He gives us great looks and I’m sure he’ll give us even better looks when we get settled into things in the season.”
The Patriots could be staring down a Week 1 matchup with a mobile quarterback in Buffalo Bills rookie E.J. Manuel – and possibly for a second time in Week 17. They’ll also have to prepare for a Week 11 Monday night meeting with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
Whether Tebow makes the team’s final 53-man roster or not isn’t certain, but the defense’s ability to face him in practice, even if only for a few short weeks in training camp, could pay off huge dividends come the regular season.
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