The Brandt Report  

 

Bill Belichick's decision to add Tim Tebow a head-scratcher

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots created quite a buzz with the signing of Tim Tebow. To me, this move is an all-time puzzler.

I know Belichick is one of the smartest people in the game. He's a very thorough person who does not fly by the seat of his pants; he thinks about things. I have the utmost respect for Belichick. However, I can't figure out why the Patriots made this move.



» Pats sign Tebow to two-year contract
» Tebow: It's an honor to be on Patriots
» Billick: Belichick can make Tebow work
» Six reasons why Tebow on Pats will work
» Schein: Tebow, Patriots a match made in heaven
» QB gurus claim Tebow's delivery is fixed
» Belichick tight-lipped about plans for Tebow
» Rex Ryan not surprised by Patriots' move
» Tebow will wear No. 5 -- not No. 15 -- with Pats
» Fantasy take: Tebow still has no value

Video:
» Tebowmania invades Foxborough
» Can Belichick silence the Tebow circus?
» Tebow addresses media at Patriots minicamp
» Timeline of Tebow's up-and-down NFL career
» Belichick: We'll do what's best for our team
» Tebow-Belichick is a match made in heaven

Photos:
» Tim Tebow through the years
» Essay: Ongoing Jets-Patriots feud

One obvious possibility might be converting Tebow to another position, such as H-back or tight end, in order to utilize his athleticism, which I've advocated for previously. But Tebow is supposedly in line to play quarterback in New England -- and only quarterback. The problem is, I just don't think he's quarterback material.

I know the success he had at Florida and with the Denver Broncos in 2011 sticks with people. The production he had as a Gator -- and in high school, for that matter -- led me to believe he would be a pretty good player coming out of college, though I did have concerns about his decision-making skills.

As it turns out, there are plenty of flaws in Tebow's game, as I documented back in November. But one of his biggest issues is that he just isn't accurate. After completing 66.4 percent of his passes in college, his completion percentage really nosedived -- through 35 NFL appearances, he has a career completion rate of 47.9 percent.

You'll hear people talk about fixing that aspect of Tebow's game, and perhaps Belichick has a plan for doing so. But in my experience, that's a tricky task. As legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry used to tell me -- and I put a great deal of stock in what he said -- you can make a guy stronger, you can make a guy faster, but you can't make him more accurate. Quarterbacks are either accurate or they're not.

I'm also still worried about his decision-making abilities. I've seen him hold on to the ball and run when he could have easily completed a throw. I've seen him bounce the ball on the ground and throw it over guys' heads.

Of course, we have to remember that Belichick will study every angle of a given situation. Perhaps he's looking to take advantage of Tebow's skill at converting in third/fourth-and-1 situations. Still, I can't see going to Brady and telling him he's coming out in those crucial junctures; Brady is just too good.

This could be linked to the advent of the pistol offense. I think there's a feeling out there that the pistol is going to be something big. I talked to two different college coaches recently, and both of them said they think the pistol is going to catch on around the league like the wildcat did a few years ago. So I can see a team preparing for that, with Tebow perhaps being a part of those preparations. But I can't see the Patriots ever taking Brady out of a game so that they could have Tebow run the pistol.

We might all just be reading too much into this whole thing. After all, he didn't get a signing bonus. The Patriots have nothing to lose.

In that way, this reminds me of something late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis might have done -- he used to like to scoop up former first-round picks who had been cut. His thinking was that if someone saw something in a player that made him worth a first-round pick, why not take a chance and see if the guy can still turn into something? That's how Davis ended up with Jim Plunkett, a first-round pick who laid an egg with the Patriots and 49ers before leading the Raiders to two Super Bowls titles.

Ultimately, though, the question is this: Can Tebow become a more accurate quarterback?

Maybe he will; maybe Belichick can see something nobody else can. Myself, I can't see him playing at that position and winning.

If this move were being made by anyone but Belichick, I'd say there's a 100 percent chance that it won't work out. But Belichick has accomplished so much, and he's so smart, that you have to think this can turn out well for New England in some way.

Still, given all of the issues Tebow has encountered as a pro, expecting him to take off now is like hitting on 18 in blackjack -- the odds aren't in your favor.

Follow Gil Brandt on Twitter @Gil_Brandt.

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