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Sports

August 22, 2013

Tebow's chances of staying with Patriots uncertain

(Continued)

Tebow could get another chance in the third preseason game on Thursday night against the Lions in Detroit. That’ll be five days before the mandatory roster cut to 75 players. The Patriots finish the exhibition schedule Aug. 29 against the New York Giants. The final cut to 53 comes two days later.

Tebow, as expected, says he’s not thinking about his prospects of sticking around. Grasping the New England offense is difficult enough.

“I just focus one day at a time,” he says, “improving every single practice.”

It’s not even an issue?

“Just getting ready for the practice,” he says with a smile.

Belichick has been typically reticent. The Patriots signed Tebow for a reason, of course, and though New England often carries just two quarterbacks, the veteran coach is unfazed by preseason results.

Asked last week if he plans to keep Tebow, if healthy, on the 53-man roster, Belichick said, “That’s not anything that we’re ready to talk about right now. A lot of competition out there. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

There are some factors in Tebow’s favor.

He could be used as a punt protector, forcing opponents to play for a fake on a direct snap. He could line up as a receiver, pose as a decoy, or give Tom Brady a target for a quick pass to the sideline that he can run with. He’s played only quarterback in training camp drills, all open to the media, but could be used elsewhere now that the practices are open for just a short time period.

With Tom Brady having thrown all but 47 of the Patriots’ passes the last four years and Ryan Mallett entrenched as the backup, coaches may view Tebow as a project with plenty of time to work on his quarterbacking skills without having to play in games.

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