How I’d Use Tim Tebow In New England


I haven't written much about Tebow, but here's an instance where I'd love to see him used in New England. Photo by Wade Rackley.

I haven’t written much about Tebow, but here’s an instance below where I’d love to see him used in New England. Photo by Wade Rackley.

Outside of Kenbrell Thompkins and Shane Vereen, I haven’t been a close observer of Patriots training camp. However, I heard there might be some use of Tebow as a tight end and it got me thinking of how I’d use Tim Tebow if I were New England’s offensive coordinator.

The Obvious

I’d be shocked if the Patriots don’t use Tebow on read-option plays in the red zone at least on a few plays a year. I don’t think it will happen a lot, because taking Tom Brady off the field is foolish. However, I think it will be difficult for the Patriots coaching staff to resist the temptation against some weaker run teams.

The reason is Rob Gronkowski’s strength as a run blocker combined with Zach Sudfeld’s experience as a wing back/H-back in Chris Ault’s Pistol sets as a lead blocker – much like Chris Brown described in his recent Grantland piece.  This two-tight end personnel with Sudfeld a better lead blocker than Aaron Hernandez ever was could provide a short-yardage power element and increase the versatility of the set.  I’ll illustrate the wrinkle I’d use later.

Tim Tebow Tight End?

I’ve heard this is a possibility and it’s the red zone sets where I think the Patriots would implement it. Think about Mike Vrabel’s work as a red zone tight end and I think we can expect similar looks to Tebow – especially with teams focused on Gronkowski. If the rookie Sudfeld – a 6’7″ specimen with skill to adjust to the football – plays to his potential, opposing defenses could lose track of Tebow as a receiver.

Using Tebow at tight end also creates additional formation flexibility where the Patriots can adjust before the snap:

  • Shift Gronkowski or Sudfeld away from the formation.
  • Shift Tebow to the backfield as a runner or quarterback.
  • Hand the ball the Ridley to an unbalanced strong side with Tebow as a fullback/H-Back.
  • Use unbalanced sets with Tebow on the wing to dictate a numbers advantage to one side and then throw backside crosses, slants, and jerk routes to receivers.

There’s a lot that Tebow’s presence can do for red zone packages. My favorite is the last one below.

Two-Quarterback Backfield

Tebow

This setup could create a lot of options for an offense in the red zone. First, it’s an unbalanced set with two versatile tight ends. Brady could shift the tight ends to balance the line. Or, if the shift would place one or both of the tight ends in a match up advantage with a linebacker, nickel corner, or safety of preference, they could spread the field.

But what I love most about this look is that Tebow could run, pass, or catch from his alignment. Placing Tebow behind Sudfeld on the wing provides enormous flexibility in the run game. If the defensive numbers are stacked to the strong side, they can run a counter with Sudfeld as a lead blocker and the twin receivers slanting inside to seal the inside.

If the defenses has even distribution, Tebow can run behind the strong side with good blocks ahead. The Patriots could do this with a direct snap to Tebow or an exchange from Brady.

And it’s this split of the quarterbacks over the guards that could force defenses to guess which player is getting the ball. Teams will guess run if it goes to Tebow, pass to Brady. But Tebow has proven he can deliver the ball in the red zone and there will be times he will have easy throws to Gronkowski or Sudfeld and even easier passes to his left (his natural side) to the backside receivers.

If teams are too aggressive playing Tebow, Brady also could have some easy throws.   Plus, I’d use two of  Shane Vereen, Julian Edelman (if ready), and Danny Amendola as my receivers. I could incorporate some Wildcat with Tebow and Vereen/Edelman motioning from the outside towards the formation.  Now there’s the possibility of zone-read, Wild Cat, and guessing which quarterback gets the snap.

If you’re fan of the team or have been monitoring training camp, let me know if what I describe below is happening in practices.

Categories: AnalysisTags: , , , , , , , , ,

10 comments

  1. I think at the goal line/for very short yardage we could well see a Tebow package with some read option and QB power and all that. The 2 QB formation is interesting…
    I don’t really follow the Tim Tebow Tight End part…of the 4 bullets you listed, 3 of them are equally true of any tight end brought into the formation except that that player is probably an NFL caliber TE where Tebow is not. The problem with Tebow taking direct snap/wildcat plays as a “surprise” is that the numbers advantage you gain by having a wildcat QB is lost by having Brady on the field not blocking anyone.

    • Good point about the numbers, but if you motion a back from the WR side to that strong side, you can get that advantage.

      The TE part is built as a part of this multiple TE set that allows Brady to move the pieces around with greater flexibility than he could with a normal TE. That’s the part you have to imagine. Moving Tebow around from TE, to wing, to a second QB could place pressure on defenses in ways they don’t face anywhere else.

  2. Tebow is not fast or elusive enough to be effective. Why would Brady, after leading the highest scoring offenses of the past decade, come off the field for a guy who does not generate consistent offense?

    • You didn’t read the post before commenting or you missed that I made the clear point that I’d find it odd to remove Brady from the field in the red area. See above.

    • And yes, Tebow is quick enough to be a short-yardage factor in the right situation.

      • ive been saying to use two qbs with tebow on field for a few years now, everyone just looks at you like your dumb. and yes tebow can be used in the red zone. he scored a whole lot of touchdowns in his first season with denver when orton was QB in red zone packages. and yes, he can throw. maybe not as good as manning or brady, but he can throw, he did it in college, he can do it in pros.

  3. Matt, BB won’t show this as part of an open practice unless he wants this out in the press. Heck, the teams own newspaper doesn’t usual get this info and rarely gets any scoops. Reiss/ globe/Providence journal usually breaks this stuff. I’d tweet them.

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