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BOSTON (CBS) – With the Patriots putting their loss to the Seahawks behind them, they can now focus on their upcoming AFC East match up with the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
And with that, comes all the talk about Tim Tebow. Although Mark Sanchez is the New York starter, the Patriots will be preparing for two quarterbacks this week at practice, and even a few other roles that Tebow may play come Sunday afternoon.
“Offensively, they’ve pretty much used him at every spot,” head coach Bill Belichick said on a conference call Tuesday. “He’s played more quarterback than anything else. He’s also played running back, he’s played what I would say is tight end, [and] he’s also played a little bit of receiver. They’ve put him in some different spots.”
“When he’s the quarterback, he’s the quarterback: he can run, he can throw, he can run the option, he can run their regular offense or they can run Tebow-type plays there that Denver ran last year or that [Offensive Coordinator Tony] Sparano ran when he was at Miami,” added Belichick. “He gives them a lot of versatility on all those things. He doesn’t always line up at quarterback when he’s in there on offense, so you have to be ready to deal with him in other positions as well.”
Through six games this season, Tebow has only thrown the ball three times, completing two of the passes for 32 yards. He’s also rushed the ball 18 times, picking up 64 yards. Not very impressive numbers for a guy that creates so much buzz whenever his name is mentioned.
But while he hasn’t done much out of the “wild cat” formation, where Tebow may be most effective is on the punting team. He has picked up three separate first downs out of the punt formation, including a 23-yard pass play to Nick Bellore in last weekend’s 35-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
The Patriots are always aware there could be a fake on the way when a punting team takes the field, but they’ll be a little more on edge when Tebow is part of it come Sunday.
“In the kicking game he’s dangerous because of his versatility, but it’s really no different than any other punting situation in that you have to cover the eligible receivers. You have to be alert for them to snap the ball to the personal protector,” said Belichick. “Whether he runs up the middle or goes in a sweep or however they do it, those are things you have to prepare for every week with your punt return unit.”
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With all of that, Belichick knows just how valuable Tebow is to the Jets, or any team he suits up for.
“There’s no question about it,” said Belichick. “We saw him play last year. He quarterbacked that team to the playoffs in Denver and in addition to some of the quarterbacking things, he’s done a lot of other things for the Jets. Yeah, of course he’s a valuable guy. There’s no doubt about that.”
Tune in to Patriots-Jets on Sunday at 4:25pm on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Coverage begins at 11:30am with Patriots GameDay on WBZ-TV, with Patriots Preview beginning at 1pm on 98.5. Following the game, stayed tuned for three hours of post game coverage on The Sports Hub, and Patriots 5th Quarter over on MyTV38!