Tom Brady can breathe a bit easier after a potentially disastrous knee injury turned out not to be so serious, but his tenuous health could provide an opening for TIm Tebow.
The New England Patriots were playing a combined practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday when Bucs defender Adrian Clyborn pushed Patriots tackle Nate Solder into Brady. The quarterback went down awkwardly and clutched his knee, then was taken off the field for an MRI.
The test was negative and Brady was able to return to practice on Thursday, but it was a scary and sobering moment for Patriots fans. The team is already tenuous, losing nearly all of its top receivers in the offseason, and with an aging Brady the team will need a strong insurance plan if he should suffer a more serious injury.
When Tom Brady went down with a torn ACL in 2008, the team was able to rally behind the average Matt Cassel and roll to an 11-5 record. But this is not the same team as 2008, and the risk of losing Brady could prompt the team to hold tightly to No. 3 quarterback Tim Tebow.
Ryan Mallett is solidly the No. 2 behind Brady, a strong-armed quarterback who many believe will be a star in the NFL one day. But he is also unproven, and the Patriots may not want to count on him alone in the case of a Tom Brady injury.
Aside from a strong insurance policy, Tim Tebow also offers the Patriots a chance to give teams a different look. Normally a team that spreads the field with its passing offense, the Patriots morphed into a power rushing team in its first preseason game when Tebow was under center.
When Tebow was first brought in by Bill Belichick, many NFL observers believed he would be converted to a tight end or fullback, making better use of his hard-charging style. But Belichick was adamant that Tim Tebow was brought in to play quarterback.
After the injury scare for Tom Brady, that makes a lot more sense now.