FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — One day of practice wasn’t enough for Patriots coach Bill Belichick to share his thoughts on new backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
Not a lot to go on there, either, as Tebow spent much of Wednesday’s session watching Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett run drills while he tried to absorb the new system he was thrust into when he signed with New England this week.
“We’re not going to get into a minute-by-minute evaluation of a player,” Belichick said. “I don’t think that’s the way to go, especially at this time of year.”
Robert Kraft wasn’t as reluctant to size up Tebow’s much maligned throwing motion after the second day of the three-day minicamp.
“He’s a lot better than I am,” the Patriots’ 72-year-old owner said, his grin growing as he spoke.
And, at least in Kraft’s mind, probably better than he’s given credit for.
Kraft had strolled onto the field late in Tebow’s first practice with the Patriots on Tuesday. The high-profile player discarded by the Denver Broncos and New York Jets had rolled out to throw short passes while on the run and dropped back to heave long passes into the end zone.
“I was just out there for a short period, but to me, he looked pretty good,” Kraft said. “It’s fun having him here. I think that Tom Brady throws pretty well and I also think Ryan Mallett does the same. So it’s nice to have three quarterbacks who can throw very well.”
After Tebow practiced for the second time, Brady wasn’t as eager to judge him.
“To get to this point, you obviously have to be talented,” Brady said. “So I have a lot of respect for everyone that plays and, certainly, (for) what I’ve seen him do in the past.”
For the second straight day, Tebow mostly watched as Brady and Mallett took turns running 7-on-7 drills. Late in the session, Tebow played in 11-on-11 situations and was hit-or-miss while running plays from his new playbook. After each one, he’d consult with assistant coach Brian Daboll, who referred to paper in his hand and instructed Tebow on what to do.
Tebow threw an accurate, low pass that wide receiver Chaz Schilens, in for a tryout, caught while hitting the ground. Schilens ran back toward the huddle and slapped hands with Tebow, who at least had something familiar in his new situation. He and Schilens were roommates last summer at the Jets training camp.
But a few plays later, Tebow threw an inaccurate pass that landed at the feet of a defender, who booted it back toward the line of scrimmage.
He’ll get another chance at Thursday’s final day of the three-day minicamp. Training camp won’t start until late July.
“I think everybody out there is pretty much in the same boat, just trying to get better day by day,” Belichick said. “Some guys are starting at different points. He’s obviously starting at a point different than where other players were.
“They’re all moving along.”
Kraft praised Tebow for his competitiveness, hard work and spirituality. He called him a “winner” with a great attitude.
That, however, may not be enough as he tries to secure a regular-season roster spot.
“Having him as part of our franchise is great, but he has to compete just like anyone else,” Kraft said. “He’s just one of 90 people (in camp) right now, so I wonder if we haven’t talked enough about him. But if you want to keep talking about him, we can do that.”
And he did.
He said he was in on the discussions to sign Tebow.
“Look,” Kraft said, “life is about collecting good people around you, who you like to have with you and who want to win. I think he like many of our other players fall in that category.”
Tebow worked out only at quarterback during the two practices.
Brady thought for a moment when asked how he would feel if he had to come off the field if Belichick wanted to use a play designed for Tebow, a good runner.
“I have no idea,” he said. “That’s a very hypothetical question. So, maybe we’ll deal with it if it happens.”
Replacing one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks with one who couldn’t take playing time away from a struggling Mark Sanchez with the Jets last year is highly unlikely.
“In my mind, we have the greatest quarterback of all time on our team,” Kraft said. “Every time he has the ball in his hand, we have a chance to do something great.”
Tebow, of course, has accomplished much less than Brady. But he also brings a dimension that Kraft likes.
“He’s hard-working. He’s very cooperative. I don’t think there’s any coach that wouldn’t like to have a team full of people like he is, sort of like Brady,” Kraft said. “They’re all business and you can’t get enough people like that on your team.
“So, we’re honored that he’s with us.”