FOXBORO, Mass. — Tim Tebow looks like he should have a place on the Patriots’ roster this season, but nothing is guaranteed.
Before Tebow took the practice field for the Patriots’ first day of joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday, Bill Belichick stood at the podium deflecting questions about his backup quarterback’s future with the team.
“That’s not anything that we’re ready to talk about right now,” Belichick said when asked about Tebow’s status on the 53-man roster. “ [There's] a lot of competition out there, we’ll see how it all plays out.”
Tebow’s performance in the Patriots’ preseason opener on Friday night didn’t do anything to improve his standing on the team. He completed just four of 12 passes against the Eagles for 55 yards in the game. He did handle the ball well on the ground, rushing four times for 31 yards, but he also theld onto the ball too long in the pocket, taking three sacks on the night.
We’re still three weeks from final cut-down day on Sept. 1, so it’s no wonder that Belichick is taking such a non-committal approach in evaluating Tebow or any other player.
“I’d say every player that’s been out there on a consistent basis has improved, and that includes everybody. That’s what training camp is for,” Belichick said. “I would say that about every player that’s had a chance to get out there and participate on a regular basis, that they’ve all improved a great deal. Certainly some are at different stages of their career, and the improvement may be at different rates at different times, but I think as a team we’ve definitely come a long way from where we were at the beginning of training camp at the end of July.”
Tebow has definitely shown improvement from the beginning of camp until now. His mechanics are noticeably better, he’s holding the ball higher in his stance and his footwork looks more fluid than it did even at the start of camp. He still has a long way to go if he ever expects to become a starting quarterback again, but he has made significant progress in the two-plus months he’s been in New England. That’s not to say he’s earned or even deserves a place on the Patriots’ roster, but Belichick is at least considering him — even if he won’t say so.