The Patriots’ jack of all trades caught Tebowmania this week, as wide receiver Julian Edelman ran the option offense this week for the scout team in anticipation of Sunday’s game against the Broncos.
Edelman wasn’t the only player they used on the scout team. Quarterback Ryan Mallett got some work there in his usual capacity, but Edelman was the primary quarterback who helped the Patriots prepare for Denver’s quirky run-heavy offense.
It was a natural choice. Edelman was a running quarterback at Kent State, so he knew how to give a good look in order to prepare New England’s defense. He also got some great reviews for his work in that role.
Edelman probably has more raw speed than Tebow, but the Broncos quarterback has sneaky speed and is faster in live action than he may appear on film, which is evidenced by the poor angles that some defenders have taken while trying to tackle him.
But in truth, there isn’t anyone on the Patriots’ roster who can provide an exact replica of Tebow’s skill set. Plenty of Patriots compared Tebow’s lower-body strength to that of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who can be brutally difficult to tackle. And Tebow has tremendous vision when he’s running with the ball, which is something that can’t really be replicated.
The Patriots have used Edelman in this role before in practice, so it’s nothing new. However, it sounded like the Patriots stayed with Mallett during their week of preparation for the Eagles’ tandem of running quarterbacks.
The bottom line, though, is that stopping Tebow is more about defensive execution and discipline than the guy who simulated him during the week of practice. The Patriots will find out exactly how difficult Tebow is on the game field Sunday.