x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bill Belichick goes on defensive over Tim Tebow at Patriots

Mike Tierney takes a playful look at what the Patriots coach might own up to over the signing of quarterback Tim Tebow.

Bill Belichick has been spared the ravages of brain trauma, unlike some players that his profession has coached, but today's genie-in-a-bottle wish is that the wizard behind the New England Patriots' curtain donates his grey matter for post-mortem study.

Maybe then science can determine what made one of the most intriguing coaches in US sports tick.

Soon after reports that the cult of Tim Tebow - the highly religious, yet technically limited quarterback - was resigned to the possibility that the NFL had become a bridge too far, he ups and signs with, of all teams, the Patriots.

From one angle, New England seemed his least-likely destination. Their quarterback needs are nil.

Only last week came leaked intelligence from the Patriots' inner circle that Belichick thought little of him as a player.

Further, a franchise willing to put up with the media madness that trails Tebow surely would regard him as a contender for a starting gig. But until Tom Brady becomes a house-husband in support of his supermodel wife Gisele's career, the job is off-limits to Tebow, along with the rest of humanity.

Yet from another perspective, the deal makes sense.

There is negligible pressure on Tebow to produce, even less on Belichick to deploy him.

Mr Hooded Sweatshirt has taken on other players - Randy Moss, Corey Dillion, Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco/Johnson - with personal baggage that far exceeds carry-on size.

Still, distractions with them remained at a minimum, no easy feat with wackos like Ocho, who was jailed for 30 days while in court on Monday - for playfully spanking his attorney.

The offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, drafted Tebow while McDaniels was head coach in Denver and maximised his modest abilities.

Within character, Belichick bobbed and weaved through a news conference on Tuesday, revealing little about his lifeline to Tebow. So, why won't we sit down with Barnacle Bill and pose a series of queries that seeks the truth? In italics are his guesstimated answers, prompted by the administered truth serum.

Will Tebow challenge Ryan Mallett for second-string duty?

Only in his dreams.

You kept only two quarterbacks last year. Does this mean Tebow will land a roster spot only by unseating Mallett?

As much as the Patriots pledge to unorthodoxy, we might retain three this season.

What about claims by Tebow's various tutors that his footwork is vastly improved?

What do they know? We will see.

You prize versatility in players. Could he handle, say, tight end - a key position in your offence that has been beset by injuries?

He's a QB, first and foremost, but no option is off the table, short of head coach.

Speaking of tight ends, would Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez make easy-to-reach targets for someone like Tebow, with limited range?

Gee, I never thought of that. Thanks for the idea. Smirk.

Could his role simply be to pose as a read-option quarterback in practice to help the defence prepare for such opponents?

Now you are thinking.

Is this partly about sticking it to your rivals, the New York Jets, who had no clue how to profit from him?

Make sure you tune in when we play them on September 12.

What if Tebow has not picked up the offence by then?

Check our schedule. We play New York again on October 20.

Any reaction to Jets coach Rex Ryan's lighthearted comment that he hopes Tebow ousts Brady as the starter?

Ol' Rex should become a comedian. Seriously. Have you watched the Jets lately?

Was Brady consulted on this move?

He is fine with pretty much whoever we bring in, as long as it is not one of the Manning brothers.

Seriously, could Tebow's upbeat attitude spill over to the team?

Seriously, it should. He is a can-do fellow, even if sometimes he can't-do.

How will you respond to the media when they constantly ask about Tebow's status?

...

How much of this was a favour to Tebow's college coach, Urban Meyer, a confidante of yours?

I don't do favours unless it improves my team.

Does this put you in better graces with commissioner Roger Goodell, who welcomes positive news about the league, especially during the doldrums of June?

See my previous answer.

Bottom line, does this signing boil down to the fact that your "genius" label has faded slightly and you can restore it by turning a guy that no other team wanted into a contributor?

Heck, no. Your theory is sorely lacking in logic. That label still shines bright.

Bonus question: How about Chad Johnson finding more trouble this week?

Boy, if he had ever tried to spank me ...

sports@thenational.ae