Tim Tebow has moved on from the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets to New England. Bill Belichick may have some great plans for Tebow and it will be very interesting to see how things pan out there.
Tebow reminds many Bear fans of Bobby Douglass. Douglass was the Bears QB from 1969 to the beginning of 1975. After leaving the Bears, Douglas played for San Diego, New Orleans and Green Bay. Both Tebow and Douglass are left-handed and big men. Tebow is 6-3, 235 lbs. Douglass played at 6-4, 225 lbs and like Tebow, he did a lot of running. For his career, Douglass had 507 completions on 1178 attempts giving him a 43% completion rate for a total of 6,493 yards and 36 touchdowns. In one of his best games, he was 10 for 15 passing—sounds Tebow like? His career rushing yards are more impressive. He had 410 rushes for a total of 2,654 yards and 22 touchdowns. In 1972, Douglass had 968 yards rushing and an incredible 6.9 yard gain per run. It would be decades before the NFL would see another running quarterback of the caliber of Douglass--Michael Vick. Like Tebow, Douglass was a fearless runner. He played aggressively, he was a scrambler and was not likely to hang around the pocket much and take a sack. Although his throwing stats were never great, he had the strongest arm in football and with seemingly little effort could throw a ball 70 yards. Douglass himself said he could throw at least 90 yards and probably 100 in certain conditions.
The Bears were awful during the years when Bobby Douglass played—they never had a winning season. Watching Douglass many years ago, fans were frustrated with the Bears passing game, but were never quite sure who to blame. The Bears were very predictable. And many times Douglass threw the ball into the hands of the receivers, but his pass velocity seemed uncatchable. A good Bears fan of the era was accomplished at grunts and groans when one opportunity after another seemed to fall by the wayside. Nevertheless, Bears fans of the era knew Douglass was something special, but pundits were never quite convinced he was in the right position. Some thought he would have made a better running back or tight end. But in some ways, he was a perfect fit and personality type for the Monsters of the Midway. Toss reason aside and put your heart and soul in the game! Chicago fans love their teams as long as they are interesting--winning has never been a prerequisite to support. A Bears team with Dick Butkus was fun to watch regardless what was going on offensively. A Bears team with Dick Butkus and Gayle Sayers was great.
It’s difficult today to know what position Douglass would play in the pros or whether new methods, training techniques or strategies could be employed to make him more successful –who knows maybe some fancy new gloves would have helped receivers hold on to more of those rockets that he threw for passes. It will be interesting to see what Belichick is able to do with a Douglass type talent like Tebow in the 21st Century. I am no genius by any means when it comes to football strategies and plays, but if you go back in history, it was the halfback who threw the football in some of the old formations. In some of the older schemes, teams had two or three players in the backfield who could pass.
I suspect that Denver could have built a system around Tebow, but the problem with that strategy is what do you do if Tebow gets hurt. I suspect that if a team wanted to create a system with multiple throwing-running backs, it could be done, and it certainly would be difficult to defend against, but it would require a huge commitment. You'd have to pick up multiple passing backs. Every back would have to very mobile and all would have to run and pass well.
It's not likely Belichick has anything like that in mind. If Belichick is planning on using Tebow in certain situations, the challenge is to keep the team centered on their regular game and somehow avoid distractions. If the plan is to mold Tebow into something more conventional, whether a more restrained quarterback or running back or tight end, that's a long term commitment.