Somewhere between the folks devoted to covering every breath Tim Tebow takes and the people who would just as soon see him toddle off into football irrelevancy is the truth about Tim.
And Bill Belichick spoke to it on Tuesday. The truth is, there's nobody else like him and -- because of that -- he's got value to the Jets and creates issues for every team he plays. This week, it's the Patriots.
"They've pretty much used him at every spot," Belichick said when asked on a conference call about the difficulty of preparing for the Jets' backup. "He's played more quarterback than anything else but he's also played running back, he's played tight end, he's also been out as a receiver. They've put him in some different spots. As a quarterback, he can run, he can throw, he can run the option, he can run their regular offense or they can run Tebow-type plays that Denver ran last year or that (Tony) Sparano ran when he was at Miami. He gives them a lot of versatility on all those things."
The last thing the Jets needed this season was the chaos that Tebow's presence engenders. And, in the mind of the perpetually football-obtuse Jets owner Woody Johnson, on-field ability runs neck-and-neck with buzz and marketability.
But the ancillary result of having Tebow is that -- in the end -- he does have to be dealt with. And there are layers to that.
"He doesn't always line up at quarterback when he's in there on offense so you have to be able to deal with him at other positions as well," Belichick continued. "He's a good runner, a strong runner. A very strong runner. He's mobile in the pocket, a smart player and he can do a lot of different things. You certainly have to be aware when he's in there.
So far, Tebow's thrown it three times -- including once on a fake punt last week against the Colts -- and completed two for 32 yards. He's run it 18 times for 64 yards and has picked up five first downs.
He must be accounted for.
"In the kicking game, he's dangerous," said Belichick. "It's not different than any other punting situation in that you have to cover the eligible receivers you have to be alert for them to snap the ball to the personal protector and whether he runs up the middle or goes on a sweep or however they do it. Those are things you have to prepare for every week with your punt return unit. But the fact that it's him and he's a big strong guy that's a good runner and can throw the ball, he can do a little bit more than a lot of guys that are back there."
So there's value to having him, Belichick was asked?
"Absolutely. There isn't any question about that. We saw him play last year, he quarterbacked that team to the playoffs. He's comfortable in addition to the quarterbacking things he's a versatile, valuable guy."