By: Steve Balestrieri
The Patriots will open their 2013 Training Camp next week with the first practice slated for 9 a.m. on July 26. Here at PatsFans.com we’ll be bringing you a look at the roster by positions and who is competing for each slot and how they fit the system.
We’ve already looked at the running backs , linebackers, defensive ends , safeties, tight ends, defensive tackles and cornerbacks as many of the positions this summer will be hotly contested. Check in with us daily as we’ll bring you a close look at training camp from the entire staff here.
Tom Brady continues to lead the New England offense, regardless of who else is on the field. (FILE:USPresswire)
Today we’ll be looking at the quarterbacks, the players on the roster and how they’ll likely be used by the Patriots and their chances of sticking on the final 53.
Brady Remains The Great Equalizer- The Patriots have been blessed to have no quarterback controversy since 2001 once Tom Brady took over the starting job from an injured Drew Bledsoe. Brady has done more than just hold down the position, he’s led the team to five Super Bowl berths in 11 years and he’s among the best to ever to play the position.
It doesn’t matter who is on the field, hurt, etc. Brady has made the offense work to an extremely high level.
Ryan Mallett only got to throw four passes last year and was relegated to being a cheerleader and clipboard holder and take the occasional knee at the end of games. Now the team has added Tim Tebow and the accompanying media frenzy that comes with that.
But as long as #12 remains healthy, the other Patriots quarterbacks will have to be content with just being observers.
Roster Breakdown- Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Tim Tebow
Tom Brady- In 2012, Brady led the Patriots to a 12-4 record and the offense was prolific, scoring 557 points. Brady completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 4827 yards with 34 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions.
On an offense that heavily relied on tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, both suffered injuries at different times of the season and only played together for 15 percent of the snaps last season, Brady had the offense scoring at near record levels.
Other quarterbacks threw for more yardage or had more touchdown passes but no one came close to have a scoring offense close to New England’s regardless of the injuries suffered by key players.
Many of the experts are calling for an end to the Patriots decade of dominance in the AFC East because of the vast turnover at the receiver position coupled with the injury to Gronkowski. Don’t bank on that. Don’t be shocked that after getting all the new parts sorted out, that the offense is among the top 5 again in 2013.
Ryan Mallett- Mallett remains entrenched as the team’s primary backup quarterback and that shouldn’t change just because the team acquired Tebow this spring.
The 6’6, 245 Arkansas alum has a big arm but still holds the ball a little too long while making his reads and admitted during the June Mini-camps that he is “still a work in progress.”
Mallett was the subject of many trade rumors this spring and he may indeed be auditioning for a starter’s job elsewhere during the preseason this summer. With all the new receivers on the roster, he’ll get a chance to work with all of them and it will be interesting to see how he works with them on the field.
Tim Tebow- The Patriots signed perhaps the most polarizing sports figure in America on June 11. Tebow inspires the most heated of conversations with little middle ground when it comes to his QB prowess.
The QB who led the Broncos to a playoff win over Pittsburgh was traded to the Jets in 2012 and was relegated to the bench behind Mark Sanchez is now the 3rd QB on the Patriots roster behind Brady and Mallett.
As it stands now, Tebow is a QB, not an H-back, halfback or tight end. If indeed the Patriots keep him on the 53 man roster, it would be as long term project, he could learn under one of the best at his position and under coach Josh McDaniels and get his career back on track. A case of the “Foxboro Flu” may be forthcoming.
Conclusions- The Patriots are set at quarterback for the foreseeable future with Brady at the helm. He remains at the top of his game and the intensity still burns bright inside him. He told Peter King earlier this week he plans on still playing to age 40 …and beyond.
Mallett and Tebow will compete for backup snaps during camp, but that will be the extent of it, back up snaps. Neither is ready to seriously challenge him for the starter’s position.
A lot of people want to see Bill Belichick put in a package of plays to allow Tebow to contribute this season. Personally, if I’m Belichick, I want no part of anything that takes the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands. If it were a blowout situation in the second half of a game, then by all means, get Mallett and Tebow some game experience and work in. But other than that, both of them should be once again the designated clipboard holders again.