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Tim Tebow doesn't play in New England Patriots' loss

Tim Tebow didn't get on the field Thursday night, which naturally leads to questions about his future with the New England Patriots.

Quarterback Tom Brady played the entire first half of a 40-9 preseason loss to the Detroit Lions, with backup Ryan Mallett taking over for the final two quarters. Asked why Tebow was kept out of the game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick kept it simple.

"Because we played two quarterbacks," he said.

Tebow, per ESPNBoston.com, said: "You prepare yourself and be ready for whenever your number is called. There's nothing else to it."

The blank stat line won't help Tebow's chances of making the team, but neither did going 1-of-7 passing for negative yardage with an interception in last week's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport noted that sitting Tebow was in the works from the start:

Here's where we remind you that last year's third-stringer, Brian Hoyer, was cut eight days later.

Still, plenty of No. 3 passers see little or no playing time in the critical third week of the preseason. Next week's August finale against the New York Giants will decide Tebow's fate. That is, if he survives Tuesday's cuts from 84 to 75 players.

You make an NFL team with your play. Undrafted receiver Kenbrell Thompkins is a perfect example of how the preseason -- really, the entire offseason process -- rewards talent. Thompkins has earned a spot because his production has popped out on tape for months.

Tebow's a storyline because he's Tebow, but he has struggled to move the ball against backups. Belichick -- not a sentimental creature -- has but 53 spots to give. Tebow has one more game to prove he's worth one.

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