Smarter Than Most
Bill Belichick has a reason for everything. Very few times will he do anything that doesn’t have an agenda, itinerary and/or schema. Randomness is projectile vomited on and happenstance rebuked in the world of Coach Belichick.
In a meeting of team captains, I can still remember him telling us in Cleveland there was a reason behind every decision he made; he then took 30-minutes to explain why he released Bernie Kosar. His reasons were copious, sagacious and completely accurate.
When I heard the Patriots had signed Tim Tebow, I thought of my days in Cleveland with Belichick and pondered the reasoning behind this development. Nobody wanted Tebow. The Tebow Circus is something that should not be taken lightly. Why would Coach Belichick do this?
And then…the pieces started to fall into place.
The proliferation of the read-option in the NFL will be on display en masse in 2013. Washington (RG3), Seattle (Russell Wilson), San Francisco (Colin Kaepernick), Carolina (Cam Newton) and Philadelphia (Chip Kelly & Michael Vick) have already installed or institutionalized the Read-Option into their scheme.
And more teams will tinker with the concept if for no other reason than to understand how it works. The biggest threat to many NFL teams that have established quarterbacks that are adept at throwing the ball in a pro style offense is the read-option. Teams build their offense around the talents of their Q; since most NFL GMs have been looking for Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, they know very little of how the read-option works and, more importantly, how to stop it.
Tebow is not going to see the field because there is not a down & distance or situation in all of football where you would have Tebow replace Tom Brady. Nobody is going to take the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands.
Belichick is bringing Tebow in to be his third-string quarterback, knowing he can run the read-option. This is brilliant.
Traditionally, the third-string Q is a young, developmental guy. There are very few teams in the league that ever want to see their third-string quarterback in a game and if he is, all is lost on Sunday. By definition, Tebow is the young (25), developmental guy if ever there was one — whom knows the intricacies, nuance and idiosyncrasies of the read-option. Tebow will be able to show this understanding to Belichick’s defense all week long as they prepare to play a team that uses elements of the read-option. Tebow will give the Patriots defense a “good look” Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
And Tebow gets to stay at Q. Although I think Coach Belichick will use Tebow to play H-Back and play on special teams, Tebow will be allowed to continue his pursuit of playing quarterback in the NFL. And don’t be surprised to see Tebow running a read-option package on game day if Tom Brady goes down in a pile.
Belichick knows the read-option is here for at least the next two or three seasons. He also knows learning how to stop it is critical. It’s one of the reasons he visited with Chip Kelly while Kelly was in Oregon. Belichick wanted to understand the dynamics, precepts and coaching points of the offense, not so he could run it, so he could stop it.
The best way to beat your enemy is to understand your enemy. Ancient Chinese Warrior-Philosopher, Sun Tzu, said, “Know your enemy and know yourself.” Or as my old coach used to say, “Some dogs bark and some dogs bite and some dogs like to do their business close to the porch. And you better know what you’re dealin’ with before you knock on that door.”
Belichick knocked on Chip Kelly’s door and Tim Tebow answered. And it’s just another example of Belichick being ahead of the NFL curve…again.