FOXBORO, Mass. – Tim Tebow enjoyed easily his best day as a Patriot on Thursday, showing signs of a quarterback that might have a future in this league after all.
After almost three months of inconsistency and disappointment, Tebow shined under the bright lights at Gillette Stadium on Thursday night, making the most of the Patriots’ final preseason game and staking his claim for a spot on the 53-man roster. Such a notable performance didn’t come without some help, though.
Tebow’s night got off to a rough start. He took four sacks on his first nine snaps from scrimmage. But after two consecutive stalled drives to start his time in the game, Tebow began to find a rhythm. He didn’t take a sack the rest of the way and completed six of 11 passes for 91 yards, including two touchdowns and an interception (the interception being more a result of Aaron Dobson‘s route-running than Tebow’s throw). While Tebow struggled to build chemistry with Dobson, he continued to find a rhythm with undrafted rookie Quentin Sims.
Sims caught half of Tebow’s six completions on Thursday, gaining 72 yards and coming on the receiving end of both of the quarterback’s touchdown passes. The connection was nothing new, though, as Sims and Tebow have been showing off their chemistry throughout training camp. It just so happened that the magical potion finally spilled out onto the field against the Giants.
Tebow attributed the noticeable success to getting extra reps with the rookie receiver, going into some detail about his relationship with Sims in an interview with NESN.com and MassLive.com after the game.
“I think just being around him [helps],” Tebow said. “But also, I’m throwing more balls to him. I’ve thrown a lot more passes to him over this training camp period than probably anyone else. That helps the timing, the rhythm with everybody. Kind of knowing where they’re gonna be, how they’re gonna do a fade, a go and in cut. I have a pretty good relationship with him as far as that goes.”
Much like Tebow, who didn’t sign with the Patriots until late in offseason workouts (June 11), Sims wasn’t signed by the team until just before the start of training camp (July 19). So, both of them came into camp at a clear disadvantage compared to the rest of the offense, but that also allowed them to spend more time together, which is building a bond between the two.
“He’s usually in my group and around me. That’s something you kind of got to get used to it,” Tebow said. “He’s someone that will stay extra, work. When we do a lot of team stuff, he’s usually been with me. The more you work with someone, the more comfortable you feel.”
Neither Tebow nor Sims have secured a spot on the 53-man roster. Tebow is still a project quarterback with a competitive edge and past success but has a lot of faults left to fix. Sims is still a very raw, young talent with great measurables (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) and potential but not enough experience as a receiver.
On their own, neither might have done enough to make the Patriots’ final roster — or even the practice squad, in Sims’ case. But, together, they’ve developed a special connection on the field, which finally paid off for the Patriots on Thursday.