New England Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow failed to take a single snap in New England's 40-9 preseason loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field Thursday night, leading to speculation that his brief time in New England is almost over.
Against Detroit, Patriots starting quarterback Tom Brady played for two quarters before getting replaced by New England's second-string quarterback, Ryan Mallett. Mallett played the rest of the game despite the Detroit crowd chanting for Tebow in the fourth quarter. When Mallett came onto the field for New England's final drive with 4:08 remaining in the game, the crowd booed.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick refused to speculate on Tebow's future, saying in a post-game press conference that Tebow didn't play against Detroit "because we played two quarterbacks." The loss dropped New England's preseason record to 2-1. New England's fourth and final preseason game is Aug. 29 against the New York Giants.
The third preseason game is generally considered a "dress rehearsal" in which the starters will play 2-3 quarters following a game plan that closely resembles what the team will implement during the regular season, so Tebow's failure to see any action implies that the Patriots don't see a place for him on the final 53-man roster.
Tebow looked unimpressive in New England's first two preseason games. In a 31-22 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Tebow completed only four of 12 passes for 55 yards. In a 25-21 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he completed just one of seven passes for minus-one yard with one interception. On the plus side, Tebow did rush for a combined 61 yards on 10 carries in those games.
The Patriots are required to reduce its roster to 75 players by Tuesday. Tebow may survive this cut, if only so that he can play in the final preseason game while most of the starters are on the bench. The final 53-man roster will be determined on Aug. 31, which may be Tebow's final day as a Patriot.