Patriots: Numbers say that Tim Tebow is Tom Brady’s worst backup … ever

Tim Tebow has struggled mightily in his first two preseason games as a Patriot. Credit: Getty Images
Tim Tebow has struggled mightily in his first two preseason games as a Patriot. Credit: Getty Images

Based on aesthetics alone, one would be hard-pressed to find a backup quarterback that has fared worse in a preseason than Tim Tebow has in 2013 for the Patriots. Numerous balls thrown by Tebow kicked up synthetic grass in Philly and rubber pellets in Foxboro over the past two weeks to make for an ultra-ugly start in a Pats uniform for the former Heisman Trophy winner.

Yes, Tebow still has time to turn things around, but there is little evidence to suggest he’ll find a groove. Number 5 went 4-for-12 passing in the first preseason game against the Eagles and a horrid 1-for-7 for minus-1 yards and an interception against the Buccaneers last Friday.

Metro pored over the statistics of every Tom Brady backup quarterback in the preseason since 2002 to ultimately find that Tebow, thus far, has the worst numbers of all Brady lackeys.

The following players have taken snaps for the Pats in the preseason since Brady took the helm from Drew Bledsoe: Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer, Zac Robinson, Andrew Walter, Kevin O’Connell, Matt Gutierrez, Matt Cassel, Vinny Testaverde, Corey Bramlet, Rohan Davey, Doug Flutie, Kliff Kingsbury and Damon Huard. None struggled as much as Tebow, unless you want to count the one appearance by Bramlet, who threw just one ball for an incompletion against the Giants in the final preseason game of 2006.

In 2011, Mallett and Hoyer combined to throw just one interception in 105 attempts. In fact, Hoyer threw just two total interceptions in the four preseasons he served as a Brady backup (190 attempts).
Cassel, the most notable of Brady backups over the past 11 years, had his bad outings in the preseason. He had a 6-for-12 clunker of a day for 56 yards, zero touchdowns and a pair of interceptions against the Titans in 2007. But in the fourth preseason game that year, Cassel hit on 10-of-14 passes for 99 yards and did not throw a pick.


An example of an “average” Brady backup is former LSU stud Rohan Davey. Davey, like Tebow once a dominant force in the SEC, stuck around for nearly four full preseasons with the Pats and posted 787 yards through the air, completing 65-of-139 of his passes while throwing five touchdowns and six interceptions in 12 games. Here’s a rundown of Davey’s performances in the 2003 preseason: 5-for-8, 104 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; 1-for-6, -3 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; 1-of-4, 4 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; 13-of-24, 201 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT. In other words, Davey followed up two horrid performances with an impressive game against the Bears in that preseason (a 38-23 Pats win).

Tebow still has a chance to be Rohan Davey, but at this point, that appears to be his ceiling. Thursday night against the Lions, Tebow could either take a giant step forward in making the Patriots roster … or he could very well cement himself as the worst in a long line of Brady backups.

Patriots backup QBs through the years (preseason stats):

2012
Mallett 8-19 89 yards 0 TD 1 INT
Hoyer 8/15 45 yards 1 TD 0 INT

Mallett 10-20 105 yards 1 TD 0 INT
Hoyer 5-17 55 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Mallett 7/13 127 yards 1 TD 1 INT

Hoyer 9/15 96 yards 0 TD 1 INT
Mallett 8/15 40 yards 0 TD 0 INT

2011
Mallett 12/19 164 yards 1 TD 0 INT
Hoyer 15/21 171 yards 1 TD 0 INT

Mallett 9/14 71 yards 0 TD 1 INT
Hoyer 1/4 6 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Mallett 9/14 65 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Hoyer 6/12 88 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Mallett 6/16 57 yards 0TD 0INT
Hoyer 3/5 31 yards 0 TD 0 INT

2010
Hoyer 8/13 106 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Zac Robinson 3/8 48 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Hoyer 8/15 94 yards 1 TD 0 INT
Zac Robinson 2/2 17 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Hoyer 1/3 5 yards 1 TD 0 INT

Hoyer 15/26 266 yards 1 TD 1 INT
Zac Robinson 1/5 6 yards 0 TD 0 INT

2009
Andrew Walter 5/9 62 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Kevin O’Connell 1/1 6 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Hoyer 11/19 112 yards 0 TD 0 INT
O’Connell 8/15 84 yards 0 TD 0 INT

O’Connell 3/10 18 yards 0 2 INT

Hoyer 18/25 242 yards 1TD 0INT

2008
Gutierrez 10/16 76 yards 0 TD 1 INT

O’Connell 6/15 61 yards 0 TD 1 INT
Cassel 6/10 57 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Gutierrez 14/20 217 yards 2 TD 0 INT
Cassel 8/14 60 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Gutierrez 5/9 69 yards 0 TD 1 INT
Cassel 4/6 37 yards 0 TD 0 INT
O’Connell 3/4 22 yards 1 TD 0 INT

2007
Gutierrez 6/10 66 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Cassel 4/8 32 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Cassel 6/12 56 yards 0 TD 2 INT
Gutierrez 4/9 44 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Cassel 3/6 43 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Gutierrez 2/3 26 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Testaverde 0/2 0 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Cassel 10/14 99 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Testaverde 7/11 99 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Gutierrez 7/9 48 yards 1 TD 0 INT

2006
Cassel 13/26 299 yards 1 TD 0 INT

Cassel 14/20 192 yards 2 TD 0 INT

Cassel 7/8 63 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Cassel 15/28 196 yards 0 TD 1 INT
Corey Bramlet 0/1 0 yards 0 TD 0 INT

2005
Cassel 13/21 135 yards 1 TD 0 INT
Rohan Davey 4/7 42 yards 0 TD 1 INT

Cassel 7/11 69 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Flutie 3/4 52 yards 1 TD 0 INT

Flutie 4/7 23 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Cassel 1/1 7 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Davey 1/3 2 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Flutie 8/13 69 yards 0 TD 1 INT
Cassel 6/21 45 yards 0 TD 1 INT

2004
Davey 8/15 70 yards 2 TD 0 INT
Kingsbury 3/3 5 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Davey 10/24 86 yards 0 TD 1 INT

Kingsbury 4/5 40 yards 0 TD 1 INT

Davey 13/25 104 yards 0 TD 2 INT
Kingsbury 0/0 0 yards 0 TD 0 INT

2003
Davey 5/8 104 yards 1 TD 0 INT
Huard 4/7 53 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Kingsbury 1/4 11 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Davey 1/6 -3 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Huard 4/8 59 yards 0 TD 2 INT
Davey 1/4 4 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Davey 13/24 201 yards 1 TD 0 INT

2002
Huard 13/17 118 yards 1 TD 0 INT
Davey 5/9 91 yards 0 TD 1 INT

Huard 9/13 90 yards 0 TD 0 INT
Davey 1/3 10 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Huard 3/5 28 yards 0 TD 0 INT

Huard 11/15 86 yards 2 TD 0 INT
Davey 4/11 76 yards 1 TD 1 INT


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