August 11, 2013

Patriots quarterbacks: One's the star, the other's still trying

Tom Brady is the unquestioned leader of the New England Patriots, and Tim Tebow is just looking to keep his job.

By BARRY WILNER The Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Tom Brady walks over to a rookie receiver and, motioning emphatically with his arms, instructs the youngster on some intricacies of the offense.

Tim Tebow, Tom Brady
click image to enlarge

Tom Brady, left, recognizes that Tim Tebow is no threat with the New England Patriots, and is happy to give the former Heisman Trophy winner any help he can in learning the offense.

The Associated Press

Then Brady chats with his blockers, showing them some footwork he is using in the pocket they form for him. He takes a running back aside, holds out the football and shows him the exact position it will be in for a handoff.

Tim Tebow watches all of these moments -- when he's not off on another field working with the scrubs and the hopefuls. Or he's practicing with the special teams as a punt protector.

The Tom and Tim Show really has no co-star. It's all about Brady with the New England Patriots, just as it has been for a dozen years.

Tebow isn't even a sideshow. He's just a guy trying to prove he belongs in the NFL, as a third-string quarterback.

"Every day is a great learning opportunity," Tebow says. "Getting a chance to watch how he operates the offense, the speed in which he does things, the knowledge which he has in this offense and being in it for over a decade, and just a lot of little things about getting people lined up and just the pace in which he plays, very fast, a very quick pace. It's a great learning opportunity for me."

What it's not is a competition, in any way, shape or form. Indeed, Tebow almost certainly isn't in the running for Ryan Mallette's backup job behind Brady.

Doesn't matter how much the fans chant Tebow's name at practices, which they incessantly do. Or how many autographs he signs for his legion of followers, which he loyally does. Or how many extra passes he throws on his own when the training sessions end. This isn't Jets Redux, Tebow vs. Mark Sanchez.

So Tebow gets a few minutes here and there with Brady during practices and they share a few words about formations and release points. More often Brady is in discussions with an almost entirely new group of receivers, from that rookie, second-round pick Aaron Dobson, to veteran Danny Amendola, a newcomer to New England who the Patriots hope emulates Wes Welker as a target from the slot.

Brady generally spends more time talking with Mallette, and they are together for a lot more drills than Brady and Tebow share. When Tebow is included, it's usually because all three quarterbacks are together.

Brady has no reason to feel threatened by Tebow, or any other quarterback, for that matter, and has a comfort level with the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner that only can help Tebow make the squad.

"I've really enjoyed it; he's fun to be around," Brady says, whose words don't ring hollow the way that similar comments did coming from Sanchez and the Jets in 2012, a lost season for Tebow and that team. "He's had a lot of experience and a lot of productivity so we have good conversation. He loves playing football and those are usually the type of guys that do well.

"He's been on a few different teams. He's run some different style offenses. He's done a good job. He's come in here and Josh (McDaniels) has had some familiarity with him, coaching him in Denver. He's come in and just tried to do the best that he can do."

McDaniels was the head coach in Denver when he drafted Tebow in the first round in 2010. He was long gone from that job when Tebow helped the Broncos turn around their 2011 season, make the playoffs, then beat Pittsburgh in a wild-card game on Tebow's touchdown pass in overtime.

(Continued on page 2)

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