FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tim Tebow has one game left to improve his chances of staying with the New England Patriots after surviving the mandatory roster cut to 75 players on Tuesday.
Tebow is expected to see considerable playing time Thursday night against the New York Giants in the Patriots’ final exhibition game. He played poorly in the first two games and did not play in the third.
The third-string quarterback faces another hurdle when all NFL teams must reduce their rosters on Saturday to the regular-season limit of 53. The Patriots can still juggle their roster between then and their opener on Sept. 8 against the Bills in Buffalo.
The Patriots released tight end Evan Landi and defensive lineman Anthony Rashad White, both rookies, on Tuesday. The moves came one day after they cut the roster from 84 to 77 players.
Team owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick praised Tebow on Tuesday but gave no indication of whether he would make the team.
“He’s great to work with, outstanding,” Belichick said.
Kraft said it’s Belichick’s job to make the cuts.
“We want to make sure we have the 53 best people to help us win games during this year,” Kraft said. “I’m rooting for (Tebow) and I’m in his corner, but I have the privilege of letting Bill make those decisions. He’s got a pretty good record doing it.”
In two games since being signed as a free agent on June 11, Tebow has completed 5 of 19 passes for 54 yards and one interception. But Belichick said players’ work in practice also is a big part of the judgment of whether to keep them.
Still, Thursday’s game can be the difference between a player making the 53-man roster or being cut.
“Practice and games are a lot different,” defensive end Rob Ninkovich said. “Can go out there and make some big plays in a live situation that’s not in a controlled environment like practice (and) you’re going against another team? You don’t know what they’re going to do and it’s just you out there either doing it or not doing it. So you’ve got to make sure that you’re out there doing it.”
Tebow said on Monday that he’s not spending time worrying about the upcoming cuts.
“I can control my attitude, my focus every single day,” he said. “Those are the things that I’m going to worry about.”
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org