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Willie McGinest: ‘Bill [Belichick] will put [Tim] Tebow at any position that is going to give him the best chances to win’

06.10.13 at 8:07 pm ET
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Willie McGinest

Monday on the NFL Network, former Patriots turned analysts Willie McGinest and Heath Evans checked in with their thoughts on New England’s addition of Tim Tebow.

McGinest on the Patriots reportedly signing Tebow: “Well that dispels the rumor that Bill [Belichick] hates Tebow, right? Tim Tebow is a commodity when it comes to messing things up for defensive coordinators, making it hard for them to game-plan for him when they don’t know his involvement in the packages or the game plan. Belichick as we all know, is a smart guy. If he could add a weapon to his offense, whether he’s going to play him or not play him, and defenses have to spend time in practices and film sessions to prepare for what they may or may not see, this takes away from the overall preparation when it comes to preparing for an offense that is already very difficult to stop. With [Rob] Gronkowski being out, Tebow can play a lot of different positions on that offense and tight end is one of them as well.”

On if the Patriots would really put Tebow at tight end: “Bill will put Tebow at any position that is going to give him the best chances to win, one; two, create the mismatches; and three to get the defensive coordinators to lose sleep over that. Whether he’s a quarterback, whether he’s going to run some type of wildcat system, whether he’ll be at tight end, special teams — wherever the case may be. One thing about Tebow is he’s going to give you 110 percent regardless of where you play him. He’s going to be a good locker room guy. Yes, we talk about the attention of Tebow — that’s one of the places we name that pretty much controls the media. You don’t see a lot of things coming out of New England when it comes to media. They have all of that stuff under control and there is really no insecurity by Tom Brady at quarterback. They know who their starting quarterback is so there is not going to be a quarterback controversy. You had to go somewhere where you had a quarterback in place that was confident that you knew who the guy was.”

On how he believes Brady is taking the news: “I don’t think Brady’s worried about it at all. He’s confident; he’s a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame once he decides to retire. … Brady is one of the most polished guys when it comes to asking questions, whether it’s his own situation or a team situation when it comes to the media. This is something that he’s been through before at a young age in 2001. This is something now he’s a veteran, he’s polished. I don’t think this is going to bother him. They understand what they need to do. Everything that they talk about personnel-wise, they’ll keep in-house and they’ll feed the media what they want them to know and they’ll keep them out of everything. It’s going to attract attention of course; everywhere Tebow has been has attracted attention but if there is one place where this team could still block all of that out and concentrate on winning games, it’s New England.”

On if the Patriots are a better team with Tebow: “I don’t know how they’re going to play Tebow — nobody really knows. But if he can come in and he can be productive in the packages they’re going to use him in, in a great system like that, I mean, he’s a good football player. We never said he wasn’t a great football player; he’s just not a great quarterback. There is always room for really good football players on a good team in a good system.”

Evans on the Patriots reportedly signing Tebow: “It’s not even really surprising. I remember when Tebow was at Florida and Urban Meyer and Bill Belichick were very close friends; Urban was brought in to actually speak to our team a few times during OTAs and minicamps this time of year back in ’07, ’08. For me, he was always high on Tebow. When Josh McDaniels drafted him in Denver, it didn’t surprise me because of the like-mindedness between Belichick and Josh. What New England does is they stockpile good football players. I remember a conversation that I had with Bill Belichick in 2006. In 2005, I was brought in; Corey Dillon was hurt, Kevin Faulk was hurt, Patrick Pass was hurt. I was playing mostly tailback. … We did OK, but in 2006 all of those guys were healthy. Bill sat me down and said, ‘You have to find your niche on this team, you have to create a roster spot for yourself.’ I would imagine that is going to be the same type of conversation that Bill has with Tim Tebow; ‘We know who our quarterback is and we’re grooming Ryan Mallett, but there is a place for you on this football team.’ ”

On if he can see a situation where it is third down close to the goal line and Brady comes off the field for Tebow: “I don’t, but I do imagine a play where him and Tim Tebow are on the field together. Josh McDaniels is as creative as they get. … [Tebow’s role is] probably running the football or distraction mentality. Everything we did inside of our offense, the reason why you have to be smart in New England is each skill position player — if you’re a tight end, running back, fullback, wide receiver — you have to know all of the five positions that are eligible to catch the ball; X, Y, Z, F and H. So if you’re not smart, you can’t fit in. What do we know about Tim Tebow? He’s very functional in the sense of being everywhere at once; he did a lot of that at Florida. He’ll get in [and] Josh and Bill will find a way to frustrate other defenses whether it’s two snaps a game or whether it’s 20.”

On if Tebow makes the team in New England: “I definitely thinks he makes the team, back to my other point. They stockpile good football players. Look at [Danny] Woodhead, [Julian] Edelman — all of the guys that come in and do multiple things for them. We always talk about roles. Well, the one thing that Patriot players do is they don’t talk about their given roles, but there is always a very specific role for each and every player. That’s why I think he makes this roster and makes it easily.”

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