Belichick, Pats prepare for Tebow

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Belichick, Pats prepare for Tebow

Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow possesses a unique set of skills, and the Patriots know they'll have to prepare accordingly.

Bill Belichick said on Tuesday that the Patriots will consider using a scout team quarterback in practice this week who can simulate Tebow's style.

"That's something we definitely have to talk about," Belichick said. "The most important thing for our defense is to get a good look at as close to what the actual plays are going to look like as we can replicate them. However we do that, whichever players we use to try to get that look -- we'll definitely talk about that and try to do it in the way that gives the defense the best look at it."

Belichick did not say who will be playing Tebow in practice, but there will be no perfect match. Tebow is the rare quarterback who runs with power. At times, he'll initiate contact and fight for yards while other signal-callers may slide before they can be touched. And he's just one part of Denver's league-leading rushing attack. Willis McGahee, a nine-year NFL vet, has 920 yards rushing. Tebow has amassed 517 yards on the ground in 94 attempts -- good enough for a 5.5 yards per carry average.

The Patriots know they'll have to focus on stopping Denver's ground game, no matter who carries the ball.

"They have a lot of confidence in it," Belichick said. "They call them, they don't get discouraged with it, they hang with it. They try to get it worked out if a play is not going well. They hit you on a lot of different points of attack, different scheme runs. Of course the quarterback has put up quite a few yards himself. Also their option plays, the option, dive option program, that type of thing. There's a lot of different ways they get that rushing yardage in bursts. They really test your defense all the way across the board from the pass rush contain the quarterback standpoint, to playing the normal run-block type of plays to their kind of specialty plays, element of Wildcat, quarterback scrambling, things like that. They get you on a lot of different levels."

If Tebow's running, it adds a whole new element to Denver's offense. Belichick put the Tebow advantage in plain terms: When Tebow runs the ball, the Broncos essentially gain a player on offense.

"Offensively it gives you an extra blocker somewhere or it takes a defender out depending on what formation you use," Belichick said. "It really puts everybody in play, whereas on a normal running play, the quarterback hands the ball off to somebody else and acts out of the play at the point he hands it off. The quarterback, in an offense that runs the ball, he has the whole other 10 people to block for him or to force the defense to catch or cover him in some way which drags a defender out of it. It's like gaining an extra player schematically."

Before the 2010 NFL Draft, it appeared as though the Patriots might be interested in selecting Tebow. Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said the Patriots always thought of the former Florida Gator as a quarterback, not a running back, full back or tight end. Tebow was viewed as a project coming out of Florida, but the Patriots were particularly struck by Tebow's intelligence and work ethic.

"I think any meeting you have with a draft prospect, you're just trying to get as much information as you possibly you can," Caserio said. "You look at the body of the work on the field, you look at their production, then spend some time with them off the field, just go through and talk through some different things, football related. Smart guy, works hard, was a productive player in Florida. I'd say it was a lot like most of the meetings that we have with a lot of the players when they come out."

Belichick was equally impressed by Tebow in the Pats' day-long meeting with him at Foxborough.

"He's an impressive young man," Belichick said. "He had great success in college. I think all his attributes are pretty well documented. He's a strong guy, smart, works hard, a great leader, great football character."

Patriots officially side with Brady vs. NFL by filing amicus brief

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Patriots officially side with Brady vs. NFL by filing amicus brief

Robert Kraft and the Patriots organization have been saying for a long time that they hope Tom Brady prevails in his fight with the league over Deflategate. Kraft reiterated that stance on Tuesday at the NFL's annual spring meetings.

But on Wednesday, the Patriots took their support for Brady to a different platform. The team has filed an amicus brief stating that it supports Brady and the NFLPA now that the union has filed a petition to be granted a rehearing by the Second Circuit. 

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, it is a noteworthy move because the last time an NFL team took legal action against league was when late Raiders owner Al Davis sued the NFL. It is important to note, though, as SI.com's Michael McCann explains, that the Patriots have not actually "switched sides" in this instance. As one of 32 teams in the league, they are technically still a part of the NFL Management Council et al. v. NFL Players Association et al. With its amicus brief, however, the team is advocating for a rehearing of a case that the NFL recently won. 

Filing the brief may not necessarily have any legal impact on the case -- judges can ignore the team's opinion in its amicus brief if they so choose -- but its value may be more than simply symbolic in nature. Attorney Daniel Wallach notes that the team's amicus brief covers ground that Brady's petition for rehearing couldn't cover due to page limits. 

On the first page of the amicus brief, in the document's second footnote, the language is strong: "From the outset of this matter, the League's conduct reflects less a search for the truth than pursuit of a pre-determined result and defense of a report which, despite no direct evidence of tampering or Mr. Brady's involvement, was reiled on to impose penalties with no precedent or correlation to the alleged offense."

The Patriots have continued to update The Wells Report in Context, a website that argues the findings of the NFL's investigation into Brady that has also accumulated various reports and scientific studies that support Brady's innocence. But this amicus brief is another way for the team to show that it has its quarterback's back. 

The NFLPA filed its petition for a rehearing on Monday and now awaits a decision from the 13 judges of the Second Circuit as to whether or not they will grant Brady a rehearing.

Statistically speaking, Brady is facing long odds to be given a rehearing, but his legal team believes there's reason for optimism